The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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‘Schools should not become exam factories’ - Evarist Bartolo on Maltese benchmark paper

Sunday, 4 June 2023, 09:59 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said that schools should not become examination factories, and the way we assess what children have learnt needs to be educational as well.

In a post on Facebook, Bartolo commented on the latest Maltese Benchmark paper for year 6 students, which was described as being of an inadequate level for students their age.

Bartolo said that parents and educators spoke to him about the difficult Maltese Benchmark paper.

He said that a good education system supposedly helps students learn and continue learning, while a bad one does the opposite.

"You hear about children crying because they could not complete parts of the paper. You hear educators tell you that it seems as if the examiners want to discourage children, and make them hate Maltese," Bartolo said.

During exam periods, you hear in every level of our educational system that exam papers were either too long or students had not covered topics that were not taught in class, Bartolo said.

"We have examiners who take pleasure in setting the exam paper, not to assess what children know, but to trap them on what they do not know, and how much they don't know," Bartolo continued.

He said that students, teachers and education suffer when exams become a burden for students.

"To have reasonable exams about what students have studied does not mean you have to lower the standards to make everyone pass," Bartolo said.

He said that if exams continue to be used as a trap to shock the students, then it does not matter how much the system is changed, or how many new things are added, "we won't move forward."

Bartolo said that schools should not become exam factories, and the way students are assessed needs to be educational too.

"A good education system does that. A cruel system does the opposite," Bartolo said.

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