Two days ago, Facebook user June Low shared an image of a marked question and answer to an exam paper.
She later updated the status to include the comment that it was a question in a Form 3 PT3 Science trial paper.
“This was sent to me recently by a concerned adult. Please tell me why this answer is wrong!
Update: This was a question in a Form 3 PT3 trial paper. Subject : SCIENCE,” she posted.
Aside from the very obvious grammatical error in the English version of the question (The selling of condoms openly in shops), netizens have been mostly commenting about three main things.
One, what is such a question even doing in a science paper?
Two, if it’s supposed to be the voicing of an opinion, why was he just marked wrong?
Three, the answer was correct anyway, opinions aside.
I’m not going to address the first question because that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
What I will expound on are the other two commonly held views, and why they are inaccurate in defending the child’s answer.
He should have been marked wrong, but probably not for the reasons it was done in the first place. I’m not going to vilify the hapless teacher who was marking, who probably had to follow an answer scheme where the answer was very likely “Yes, because it encourages wanton sex” or something along those lines.
1. There is such thing as a wrong opinion.
Stay with me on this, but I personally do believe that you can have a wrong opinion. (Look, an opinion! According to the masses, it can’t be wrong. I’m golden here.)
Someone who is uninformed or ignorant will have a wrong opinion because they don’t have the right grasp of facts or are unwilling to see the whole picture.
I’m not saying that’s the case for this child here, but the commonly held opinion that no opinions are wrong is just pure bullsh*t. How harmful can this sort of mindset be, if we sit around patting each other on the backs saying, “Yeah, all opinions are valid and none are wrong.”
There are wrong opinions and they should be addressed, rather than just waved off. After all, if there is a person who believes that murder is fine and everyone should indulge in it, should we encourage such an opinion?
I’ve talked to some Malaysian educators on marking schemes, and according to them, the child should have gotten one point just for stating an opinion (a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’). What idiocy.
The points should be given based on the explanation, not just with a simple statement of an “opinion” that could be pulled out of the air.
2. The answer is badly phrased and the explanation inadequate.
Let’s break down the question.
“The selling of condoms openly in shops has a negative impact which will create a social problem in society. Do you agree? Give your explanation.”
The student answered, “No because condoms are a step for birth control which is needed to prevent pregnancy.”
Here’s my problem with his answer.
The question wanted to know about negative impacts and social problems.
Based on how the statement is formed, the student is implying that pregnancy is creating a social problem. What the student should have done is explain why does birth control have a positive impact. The sentence could be fixed with one word: “which is needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy.”
Also, the student is assuming that birth control is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I agree, but a country with a declining population might not see it the same way.
What the student doing is throwing out vague concepts strung together.
Yes, the points are valid if you squint and interpret them, but they were not put well at all.
It may only be a two point question, but the problem with so many of our students (and adults) is their inability to convey a message clearly, be it in speaking or writing. They make assumptions that the reader is able to read their mind or get their context without needing to explain things. That’s both failed logic and lazy.
This is truly where the education system has failed, and you might consider me harsh, but I would punish that. Zero it is.
Feel that I’m too pedantic or have committed logical fallacies? Leave a comment below.
Feature Image Credit modified from homeschoolhomefrontier.com