Sunday, 11 January 2009

Examine the Exam

This week, the students here perform examination in their school. The students are being assessed whether their knowledge in particular subject they had learned was good enough. Normally, there are two subjects that are examined every day. This following Friday, the exam will come to an end.

Some days ago, there was a student wrote a short report about how the students prepare for this exam. The report focused to one of districts in this boarding. He wrote that there was a different situation in the boarding when the examination had started. In contrast to normal time, students were reviewed and learned their subject seriously. There weren’t noises of the student that was chatting with their friend in the front porch of boarding. There weren’t students messing around the street in the boarding—let alone students wasting their time in an unproductive or aimless manner. The students searched quiet places so that they can concentrate to reread their lessons.

Although we can find the fact that the students tend to increase their intensity to study in the examination days, not only now, I maintain that I still can get the different between past time and nowadays students. Past time students prepared the examination not only in the night before the exam. We can say that maybe this is a kind of pragmatic attitude of the students. They appear to be lazy to study hard except in the time of examination. They seem to be very afraid when their answer sheet in the exam is empty. Study hard is still not become their habit. Study maybe just like a medicine to resolve their nightmare of failing the exam.

Well! But the big problem about the exam maybe is our peripheral perception about the exam: that the exam is only of the students. I assume that no many teachers realize that in fact this examination not only concerns with the students. Now, when I become a teacher, struggling every day with the students and the lesson—naughty students, indiscipline of the students, boring class situations, dull material books—, I become aware about a new thing: the exam actually is also about the teacher, even the school, the community, the curriculum, the management, etc.

From this point of view, we have an opportunity not only to evaluate the students’ achievement, but the achievement of the teacher and school too to build and develop school community to become a learner community—perhaps this is a rather substantial meaning of education. So, we can ask: how the teachers respond the pragmatic phenomenon of the students? What are their comments? What are their reactions? What about cheating? If the exam is not only for the students, maybe it is fair if we also make questions: how the teachers prepared the test questions? How serious they are?

When I am writing this essay, I remember a captivating article in Kompas (29/4/2008) last year criticizing the statement Minister of National Education that National Exam is a test of honesty for both teachers and students. Denni B Saragih, the writer, disclosed the moral assumption of the Minister that the examiner felt to have moral superiority in this matter to examine the exam, the teachers, and the students. However, we know that National Exam is so controversial because it also related to the policy of national education in Indonesia. To be honest, many authorities on education in Indonesia argued that the National Exam policy is not fair because it assume that the quality of education all around Indonesia is equal—and the fact reveals something different. Hence, does the Minister base the policy on a fair and honest foundation?

Back to the topic, I think, we as a teacher or anything in this exam need to be honest about it. Yesterday I heard about a teacher provided the test questions just in the morning before the test to the school administration. Or a teacher just gave the handbook, marking some items of the evaluation test in several chapters, and let the administration staff to type the test questions. Moreover, someone told me yesterday that the local authority of education in religious affairs obligates the schools to use the test questions they made—and, of course, the schools have to pay for them.

Anything about the exam—the pragmatic attitude, cheating, unpreparedness of the teacher to make the questions, etc—is the face of our contemporary education. To some extent, it is also a reflection of our moral education, in the hidden curriculum of the school, whether it is successful or failed. And the true answer stays within.

1 komentar:

Hazmi said...

saya lalu ingat kata orang tentang pentingnya membedakan guru dan pendidik.
moralitas? saya setuju 100 persen, dan itu berbanding lurus dengan kompetensi biar tidak hanya mengejar target yg pragmatis