My son asked me where fertilisation takes place in humans. I saw a very detailed but unlabelled diagram of the male and female reproductive organs on his worksheet and I told him that fertilisation takes place in the Fallopian tube. His teacher marked him wrong. Correct answer, “in the female body”. If you want such a simple answer, why did you give such a detailed diagram? Aren’t Fallopian tubes found in the female body? Why is it wrong? Because it is too precise? Not in the syllabus or even the teacher doesn’t know and therefore marked him wrong?
If you were to go through some of the open ended questions or PSLE, you’ll realise that not even we adults can figure out what the question is asking. Children who used to be fascinated with science at lower levels have now completely lost interest because of questions like the one above and others which sound more like riddles than serious exam questions.
Examiners who go out of their way to make questions look challenging and demanding have ended up making them punishing and frustrating. This has nothing to do with raising standards. This is equivalent to drawing legs in a snake.
At about the same time, I spotted a status update on the Flying Dutchman’s Facebook. I just had to add my comment.
© Chan Joon Yee