Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why Disallow Use of Correction Tape in PSLE?

The Straits Times Forums is really being abused by all sorts of people... Now this inane feedback on use of correction tape/fluid. Actually all the parent has to do is to ask around and he will realise that the advise of not using correction tape/fluid is very relevant since all too often we will forget to fill in the changes subsequently, leaving blanks. It is much faster and easier to just cancel.... I never cancelled neatly ;-) .... and if the answer booklet is about to run out, just raise your hand and the invigilator will pass you an additional NEW booklet!

Maybe it is time Mr Francis Teo Beng Hock starts chatting with other parents with children of school going age. It will definitely be eye opening and saves time trying to write letters to newspapers and waiting for the SEAB to reply.

Anyway, the text of the letter is as follows...

MY SON, who will be sitting for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year, was given a booklet, Instructions To Candidates, by the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).

His teacher highlighted Point 12 on Page 2 of the booklet which states, 'Do not use correction tape/liquid paper. If you need to change your answers, cross out the answers neatly and re-write the answers starting on a new line.'
I seek clarification from the SEAB on the following, especially with regard to the use of correction tape:

  • What is the rationale behind this instruction?
  • Is this a new instruction? If it is, why introduce it now, just three months before the PSLE?
  • If it is not a new instruction, why was this not highlighted to the pupils earlier?
  • If this is a standing instruction, then correction tape/liquid paper should have been banned in schools to prevent pupils from getting used to them, so that they can get used to thinking through their answers and getting them written correctly with minimal crossing out and re-writing. As it is, using the correction tape is part and parcel of a pupil's school work.

The suggestion to 'cross out the answers neatly and re-write the answers starting on a new line' is impractical and a waste of time, especially so in a Mathematics examination, where crossing out an answer could be perceived as part of the working. It is easier and faster for the pupil, and less confusing for the marker, if he could simply use the correction tape to 'erase' his mistake. Also, the overall presentation of his answer will be clearer and neater.

Furthermore, Question/ Answer booklets are used during the PSLE. Hence, if a pupil has used up the space given for an answer, where should he re-write his answer when he realises that a major part of it is wrong?

Francis Teo Beng Hock

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