Which assessments are Malaysians to believe – PMR or PISA/TIMSS?

I join the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in congratulating the top scorers in this year’s Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination, in particular the 30,988 or 7.33 per cent of the over 462,940 PMR candidates nationwide who scored Grade A in all subjects – an increase of 0.41 per cent or 514 candidates over last year’s 30,474 Grade A straight scorers.

However, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have been singularly silent over the 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA results which show Malaysian students very low down in international educational standards, and they should explain the reason for the vast discrepancy in the local PMR examination results with international educational assessment results like 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA.

With 7.33 per cent of students scoring straight As in all the PMR subjects, this should mean that the Malaysian national education system has produced over seven per cent of our students who are world-class “top scorers” comparable with their peers in the rest of the world.

However, this is not reflected whether in the 2011 TIMSS or 2012 PISA results.

The 2011 TIMSS showed that only two per cent of the Malaysian students who participated reached the topmost performing grade of “Advanced International Benchmark” for maths as compared to 49 per cent for Taiwan, 48 per cent for Singapore, 47 per cent for South Korea, 34 per cent for Hong Kong, 27 per cent for Japan and 14 per cent for Russian Federation.

What is even more disconcerting is the international assessment results reflect a relentless deterioration of educational standards of Malaysian students especially in the past one-and-a-half decades as the percentage of Malaysian students reaching the TIMSS “Advanced International Benchmark” for maths had fallen drastically from 10% in 1999 to 2% in 2011, while the top-performing countries have improved in the percentage of students in this top scorer category, e.g. from 1999 to 2011, Taiwan improving from 37% to 49%; Singapore from 42% to 48%; South Korea from 32% to 47% and Hong Kong from 28% to 34%.

Why is Malaysia regressing while the best and most competitive of the national educational systems in the world are making phenomenal progress in the past decade-and-half?

In the 2012 PISA, only 1.3 per cent of students in Malaysia made it to the “top performers” bracket in maths, i.e. (reaching Level 5 or 6) as compared to Shanghai-China (55.4%), Singapore (40%), Taiwan (37.2%), Hong Kong (33.7%), South Korea (30.9). Between 15% and 25% of students in Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland are top performers in mathematics.

Even the top 5 per cent of Malaysian students perform only in line with the average Korean or Japanese pupil.

Most worrying, more than half of Malaysian students (51.8%) do not reach basic proficiency levels in Mathematics (i.e. Below Level 2).

Can Najib or Muhyiddin explain such a vast discrepancy in the results of local examinations and prestigious international educational assessment tests?

Which examinations or assessments should Malaysians believe – PMR or PISA/TIMSS, local ones or international educational benchmarks?

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 10:19 am

    Wah lau eh, 30,988 students scored all As in PMR 2013
    Dis nation must b full of geniuses taught by our fantastic education system
    PISA is NOT 2 b trusted, our PMR is a much better @ssessment tool

    In comparsion, 43,047 Primary 6 students sat 4 d PSLE 2013 in d little red dot
    If they were educated in M’sia by d fantastic education system here, in 2016, they (d entire cohort) would ALL score As in ALL subjects

    D little red dot’s MOE officers must come north 2 learn from our MOE’s officers, moooooooo

  2. #3 by lauksnatlks on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 10:27 am

    Symptom of the problem with this country. Lots of feel good rubbish for those rural ignorants’ consumption. But reality cannot be white washed or covered up. Going down the drain, this country…..

    • #4 by cemerlang on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 9:11 pm

      Rural folks go overseas too but come back and be good girl and boy

  3. #5 by SENGLANG on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 11:19 am

    MOE has since change its name to MSS=Ministery Syiok Sendiri

  4. #6 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 1:46 pm

    With the poor maths standard, they will say that the comparative percentage is beyond them. The standards of STEM as a whole has been systematically designed to sub-standard levels for propaganda purpose; so that the ignorant folks will feel happy about their children achievement; that is all to it. That is the reason why we have to pay millions to consultants to think for the Gomen; maybe we should change our constitution so that we can directly employ them to act as GOMEN! So this is the result of Malaysia or rather Melayu Boleh?
    When you ta’boleh, you just hide under the proverbial coconut shell? And that is THE PRIDE?

  5. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 1:49 pm

    Part of UMNO’s feel-good schemes….

    …Endless Possibilities….

  6. #8 by Bigjoe on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 2:42 pm

    Here is what I can testify to..I have look at the Math & English paper for the last few years and the standard is HORRIFIC. Its way lower when I was in school when it was called the LCE, later SRP.

    If you compare to Singapore today, the standard is PLSE – primary school. Its mind boggling…

    • #9 by cemerlang on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 6:51 pm

      Pity your parents who have to work 10 times harder to earn 10 times the money to send you to another high standard country to study..but standard is subjective

  7. #10 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 3:23 pm

    When you grade yourselves locally, what do you expect? Grade inflation according to kulitfication.

    Endless possibilities, indeed.

  8. #11 by boh-liao on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 3:42 pm

    Any school TEACHERS care 2 comment?
    Or is dis under OSA? State secret?
    Some mooooooed, d marks required 2 attain an A hv shrunk over d years, just like our RM, shrinking day by day

  9. #12 by boh-liao on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 3:43 pm

    Any school TEACHERS care 2 comment?
    Or is dis under OSA? State secret?

  10. #13 by boh-liao on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 3:52 pm

    Some said, d m@rks 2 get an “A” hv bcome lesser over d ye@rs

    • #14 by cemerlang on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 6:53 pm

      The quality of A is losing because if everybody gets A, who gets the louzy A and who gets the clever A ?

  11. #15 by boh-liao on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 3:53 pm

    Some said, d m@rks 2 get an “A” hv bcome lesser over d ye@rs, just like our RM, shrinking day by day

  12. #16 by Di Shi Jiu on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 9:26 pm

    Mr Lim,

    Which assessment standard to believe?

    Let me see now ….

    PISA/TIMSS = Internationally recognised, large sample size across a diverse population, independent assessors


    PMR = Muhyiddin and his band of not-so-merry men

    Methinks this is a no-brainer :)

  13. #17 by yhsiew on Friday, 20 December 2013 - 10:24 pm

    Malaysian colleges practice “credit transfer”; that is an “A” from college X is equivalent to a “B” in college Y. I wonder whether an “A” in PMR is equivalent to a “C” in PISA/TIMSS.

  14. #18 by Noble House on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 4:58 am

    -/// Can Najib or Muhyiddin explain such a vast discrepancy in the results of local examinations and prestigious international educational assessment tests? ///-

    If we are to look past the trees of distraction into the forest of bottom line analysis, for a moment, does not the use of the word “complacency” belies the orchestrated steady disembowelment of the once proven education system by the predatory UMNO Baru incorporated cabal that depends upon the ignorance of most to continue it’s long term, and ongoing, rape and pillage of the economy of Malaysia and it’s citizens?

    They will do what earns them votes or campaign contributions, not what is best for the education system. Making people feel good about themselves as the absolute priority, having a swollen head and an ego as tall as the Petronas Twin Towers has never made anybody a good student, a good worker or a good person in any way substantial in shape or form. It just makes them ignorant and arrogant.

  15. #19 by boh-liao on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 5:07 am

    Among our UmnoB/BN ministers, who r ALL-A students @ schools/colleges/universities? mooooooooooooo

  16. #20 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 8:09 am

    I thought the US-Americans are pathetic over the results 0f the PISA 2012, at least they will scream that someone, especially Shanghai cheated! Refusing to go into details that their VERY BEST States results were still average! At least they cried over it. Here it is oblivious! Meaning they are not going to be bothered and it is hoped that thinking Malaysians should give a deep thought to this. Why? It can only mean it is part of their long term plan to make morons out of our population so they remain subservient through ignorance and unable to think out of the box and also uncompetitive and hence has to stay put and keep on depending on them for handouts! And if this is what they claim to be Standing Tall, we better be not part of it!

  17. #21 by boh-liao on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 10:11 am

    Actually UmnoB/BN gomen veri cleaver 1

    Yes, d goal is 2 keep most rakyat (esp those who intend 2 remain in i-Melayu-first M’sia) dumb n not proficient in English (so dat they can’t serve d Internet at ease n read alternatif news dat expose d TRUTH abt UmnoB/BN), but at d same time make them happi n feel like geniuses by rewarding them with lots of As at different levels of gomen-conducted examinations

    Dis will ensure they r unemployable graduates dependent on handouts fr UmnoB/BN or bcome UmnoB/BN politicians (MPs n ADUNs)

    In dis way, d sun NEVER sets on UmnoB/BN empire

    D REAL thinking rakyat who don’t like dis may choose 2 LEAVE i-Melayu-first UmnoB/BN’s n Perkosa’s M’sia, NO LOSS 2 UmnoB/BN n Perkosa, in fact, good riddance

  18. #22 by guess on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 10:44 am

    Go to any school at any day, it is a miracle to find full teacher attendace. Even when they are in school, some are involved in activities which have nothing to do with teaching. Everyday, there are teachers who are preoccupied with things which are not their core business, that is teaching. To improve education standard, make sure teachers are in the classrooms teaching !

  19. #23 by boh-liao on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 2:28 pm

    LISTEN listen, LISTEN

    “If our education system is bad, how are our students excelling abroad?” he asked.
    “Malaysia is at the forefront of Third World countries when it comes to social, political and economic progress and that the evaluation of the education system was not just based on TIMSS and Pisa.”

    WHAT me WORRY?

  20. #24 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 11:58 am

    That Ex-DG was created under the same scheme by UMNO, what else can you expect? He just refused to accept the fact that our education was as good if not better than the Little Dot’s in the 60s/early 70s. And any any measures, we have gone down to the bottom of the pool while Singapore is able to sell their brand of education overseas purely by results! Being a robotic pen-pusher, all the DRs that he might carry mean nothing if as they say: Garbage-in; Garbage-out mind-set.

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