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Thursday, January 09, 2020

Assessments books focusing on HOTS questions for 21st Century Learning

2020. The start of a new decade. We have been moving away from rote learning to self-directed learning of the 21st century. Schools and teachers have been talking about creative thinking and more and more exam questions are based on HOTS questions or KBAT (in Malay). As parents we have to keep ourselves abreast with what our children are learning at school in order to guide them.

What is HOTS/KBAT?

The acronym HOTS stands for High Order Thinking Skills. KBAT is the Malay equivalent which is "Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi"

HOTS is based on various taxonomies of learning, and in particularly the 1956 book by Benjamin Bloom the "Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals." 

Bloom’s Taxonomy was designed with six levels to promote higher order thinking. The six levels are- knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  Bloom’s aim was to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating, instead of just teaching students to remember and regurgitate facts (rote learning). 

It is important for educators to guide the thinking process starting from kindergarten so that students can progress from LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills) to HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills).

The aim is to help students progress from remembering (gathering information) to understanding (confirming the information gathered), to applying (making use of knowledge), to analyzing (taking information apart) and finally evaluating (judging the outcome).

How Parents Can Help

If students use higher-order thinking skills and practice problem solving regularly, then thinking will become a habit!

“Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.” – The Critical Thinking Community (2015)

Parents can help their children practice HOTS till it becomes a habit. Parents, especially those with kids from P1 to P3 who are worried about not knowing how their children are progressing can help their children practice by using assessment books focusing on these types of HOTS questions being asked in today's school exam papers based on our National curriculum.

HOTS Practice Books by Oxford Fajar

At Oxford Fajar, Topical Practice Books are designed to enable students to grasp key points  from each topic with HOTS questions and answers.

Primary school titles include, Drill In, Smart Practice and Effective Practice for both SK and SJK.
Let’s Practice Series for DLP schools – Let’s Practice is the series where Maths and Science subjects are taught in English in Schools under the  DLP programme. (DLP = Dual Language Programme where Math and Science are taught in English in participating schools).

Secondary school titles include Drill In, Smart Practice, Effective Practice and Big Ideas


Model Test Papers on the other hand are designed for students to prepare for their examinations. The exercises are modelled after actual examination format and are crafted according to the requirements and learning objectives of the national curriculum. Students, parents or teachers can use these test papers to evaluate in preparation for exams which are moving towards HOTS and away from LOTS. Students need frequent practice to embrace this change and make it a habit.

It is important to get relevant and high quality workbooks from trusted publishers because there are many types out there however they may not be valid to the current syllabus.

There is Score In and Achieve for all major exams (UPSR, PT3 & SPM). For non major exam years there is Get Ahead or Exam Prep titles

Why HOTS is Good for Students

With HOTS or critical thinking skills students who are talented in many areas have the opportunity to discover these talents. Unlike the previous rote learning models, students with broader interests are encouraged and rewarded.

In today's open society created by advanced digital technology, innovation and creativity is the key towards success. The ability to think critically and creatively, to collaborate with others, and to communicate clearly sets students up for success in their careers and in life.

This post was brought to you by Oxford Fajar Malaysia.

Facebook Giveaway

5 Lucky winners stand a chance to win a set each of Practice Workbooks tailored for their child's level. Join giveaway here.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Digital Textbooks For SK, SJKC, SJKT and SMK for Std 1 to Form 5

I find that one of the things that frustrates parents the most is the lack of information. For example, some parents may know that there are some digital textbooks available somewhere online for SK, SJKC, SJKT and SMK for Std 1 to Form 5 but just where are the download links, few have an idea.

Previously, I did write about the download links for free etextbooks for primary and secondary school. I wrote this in March 2019, now not even a year on, and the links are no longer working.
This is what is so frustrating. The lack of proper dissemination of information to whom it matters, parents, students and teachers.

Perhaps the teachers know it and have passed the information on to the students. I have no idea but as a parent, I have to search very hard in order to find the information I need.

Anyway some of these links have been shared by parents in our group because they received it through whatsapp messages. I am putting them all together here for parents to easily find and access the links to these etextbooks.

The links are for digital textbooks for Std 1 to Form 5 for SK, SJKC, SJKT and SMK or SMJK.
Note that some of the books lists are incomplete.

Std 1 to Form 4  
https://t.me/DigitalTBMsia (Telegram)

SJKC Textbooks Std 1 to Std 6

Std 1 to Std 6 Digital Textbooks download links

Std 1 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 1 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1c1B0CJ_tZETMsYG7BvOdoBASFhxzKxNZ
SJKC P1 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aH7YXbtBw-TTolBY5wH4LGddfFz5aENh

Std 2 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 2 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V1Mu1Da_I6pkI_xXvts-vF7i519wpo3X
SJKC P2 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1M7QYJ4EyTamBCXJA0t56B5Npip9mhvwt

Std 3 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 3 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YD0zU7pbplYWKVnpOhzkfKA592K08Dpe
SJKC P3 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1IGOtL1v_HRsfGZ0RdMZ4NuOwHAwaF8vT

Std 4 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 4 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sRTQMVW3O9gTkWRelsNwe0MxqGKQ5Cr7
SJKC P4 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1gQSmKCFXASkrvALK50NE5QUwaYVi47za

Std 5 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 5 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wZSVxoLc6ieTZ3bXowS1BezPFJfeeOcl
or https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1FHF6NSzc_9Eod8hubgwDSfLErntENk0- (2020 syllabus)
SJKC P5 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/13J2FbWaY7aQDXWBFKHHUsMqMal9urv-S

Std 6 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tahun 6 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1H81PnAehEV_wmDwS52heeFLcUBg6HnSj
SJKC P6 - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1NvELM2s4MLvfa48Pbd32EGqzptOCBnh5

More links for flip books for primary school SJKC here in our group. Only group members can view this link.

If the links above don't work, you can try out the links from the iPendidikan website as well:

Std 1 - SK/SJKC/SJKT - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_1

Std 2 - SK/SJKC/SJKT - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_2

Std 3 - SK/SJKC/SJKT - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_3

Std 4 - SK - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_4  

Std 5 - SK - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_5  

Std 6 - SK - https://www.ipendidikan.my/buku-teks-digital-kssr-tahun-1-hingga-6.html#Buku_Teks_Digital_Tahun_6

Form 1 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tingkatan 1 - https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mGwDaFQ5V140nYO0Di46Y2Yg_1HVl8jo
Form 2 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tingkatan 2 -  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UKJAG_uI4oiMR-U1_ITuURCFpr1n5QDd
https://t.me/Channel2BukuTeksKSSM? (Telegram)

Form 3 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tingkatan 3 -  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rkG6PFTaxxTBLesejbPImNnoCtfApoj0
https://t.me/Channel3BukuTeksKSSM? (Telegram)

Form 4 etextbooks download link:
BTDA Tingkatan 4 -  https://drive.google.com/open?id=17kgQm6CFA7QR4xgTro_7a7TGLv55ck_o

Friday, January 03, 2020

My thoughts on PT3, DLP, KSSM and Form 4 streaming

I have received a lot of private messages from parents as well as questions raised in the comments sections on our Malaysia Secondary School Parents Group on Facebook. Though I try my best to, sometimes I may miss out replying to some of these messages so I shall attempt to address some of the issues or questions raised in this post.
Firstly, the picture shows the Form 4 books for 2020 for a Science stream student. Well, there isn't supposed to be anymore streaming, but rather one can select "packages" to decide on the subjects one would like to take in Form 4. Reading into some of the comments in our group, it would seem that the packages are not easy to implement. Implementation is never easy. There's the problem of logistics and availability of teachers and classrooms and scheduling and all that. We won't go into that because that is not the purpose of this post. Anyway, we decided to take the safest route by selecting pure sciences to have more options for tertiary studies later on. Now back to the textbooks. Here are some things one can note just by looking at the textbooks. 1. DLP - Dual Language Programme

If you are doing DLP and in science stream. Most of what you will be sitting for in SPM is in English (see the top half of books, they are all in English, Math, Add Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English with the literature components (the four little books at the top right corner). This is good for those who is more comfortable speaking in English. It really helps. If your child is one of those, you should try your best to get into a DLP school. Note that not all schools run DLP school wide. Some open one or two classes, so you have to make sure you ask about the criteria of getting into those classes. Just because the school you are applying to is a DLP approved school does not necessarily mean your child will automatically get to do Math and Science in English unless the school is running it school wide. Note that, Arts stream students will be doing less subjects in English. The bottom half are those in BM including BM and the BM literature books (KOMSAS or Komponent Sastera), Sejarah, Moral and PJPK. PJPK is not tested in SPM. We also have Chinese but those not doing Chinese won't need that.

2. KSSM subjects: Asas Sains Komputer (ASK) and Rekabentuk dan Teknologi (RBT) This is another frequently asked question mainly by parents with children going into Form 1 in secondary school. The two subjects ASK and RBT are new subjects under the KSSM syllabus. Note that some schools offer students a choice to select either one of the two whereas some offer only one choice so you need to check with your school. Whichever it may be, once you start in Form 1, you carry on learning the subject till Form 3. It looks like ASK or RBT subjects are learned from Form 1 to Form 3 since there is no textbook for this in Form 4 as shown above. 3. PT3 This is another frequently asked question. Students from last year, 2019 will tell you that they are the first and final batch for PT3 changes. They are the first batch to do PT3 with a new structure and they are the last batch to do PT3 as a centralised exam. To answer some of the questions from parents, there will still be PT3 in 2020. However, it is no longer a centralised exam like UPSR or SPM. It will be a fully school based exam just like the mid term or year end examinations. There have been some sharing on social media on PT3 exam dates. Do not let that confuse you. Even if the dates were set to be the same for all schools, the exams is not a centralized one going forth starting from this year 2020. I also received some questions on how to study for PT3. Well, here are a few quick tips. Quick Tips for PT3 - Consistent study is necessary so instill a study habit in students early - When it comes to Science, one must be very specific, if you write off point, the mistakes you make will cancel off the parts which you got correct (within the same question) so memorize your keywords well - There will be essay like question in Sejarah. For these types of questions, especially KBAT (Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi) or HOTS (High Order Thinking Skills) questions, unlike Science, you can write as much as you know and your mistakes won't cancel out the right answer as long as you touched on it in your overall answer. - For the languages, English, BM and Chinese, one needs to practice reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. BM writing and BM Lisan are counted as two separate papers wheres the speaking and listening parts of English and Chinese are counted and included as one paper together with the writing test. There is no short cut for languages. One just has to read a lot to build vocabulary and practice consistently to improve writing skills. - For papers with projects, Geografi, Sejarah, ASK or RBT, just follow teacher's instructions and do them well. It will help as they are included in the overall subject marks. - Finally, practice makes perfect in Mathematics so get workbooks to do frequent practice.
I hope this answers some of the questions raised by parents by pm or in our FB group. Sorry I am unable to reply to each one individually.

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