Yesterday, Aaron took back his University of New South Wales (UNSW) assessment paper for Science. This is a global assessment conducted by UNSW in various countries in Asia Pacific to gauge the standard for the subject. Singapore’s Primary 5 kids would take the paper together with Standard 6 students in Malaysia, Year 6 in Australia and Pacific, Pri 6 in Brunei, Grade 6 in S Africa and Year 7 for NZ and Indonesia. It’s either students in these countries start schooling at a younger age or Singapore does indeed has a higher standard.
The paper can be quite subjective as some topics may not yet be covered by schools. Anyway, I was pleased that Aaron got distinction for it. Still, I asked if anyone in his class got higher distinction. There were four.
‘Why not you?’ I asked.
He told me he only needed to get two more questions correct (31 out of a total of 40 MCQ) to get higher distinction.
‘And don’t ask me for that one/two marks. Remember that article we read about that one mark?’ He smiled cheekily.
It took me a moment to recall what he was referring to.
Last week, as I was going through with Aaron his weekly student Chinese newspaper called Big Thumb大拇指, there was an interesting Dear Agony column(kudos to the kids who write in). In it, a little boy lamented that his mother had very high expectation of him and he felt very pressurized. When he got 99 marks for a test, instead of congratulating him, his mother would ask why did he lose that one mark.
I know I am being defensive here – for I often asked my kids for that same one mark too. (Either that one mark to get 100, or that one mark to get from a B to an A, or even that 0.1 to get a higher GPA). Have they ever felt pressurized? Never, and that’s the trouble. Sometimes, one needs to feel some pressure to acheive his goals. Alas for my kids, they have never felt pressurized for good results, dispite having parents like me. I have been reminded constantly that this is so because of the comfy environment we provide for them and thus they feel no pressure to work hard.
So, I’m going to continue asking for that one elusive mark.