Malaysians Upset As Teacher Marks Standard One Student's 'Correct' Answer Wrong

In which universe does 80 sen + 60 sen + 60 sen not equal to RM2?

Cover image via Othman Talib (Facebook) & Shopee

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Malaysians are voicing their discontent over a teacher who mistakenly marked a student's answer as incorrect in a simple Standard One Mathematics question

In a Facebook post on Monday, 5 January, Othman Talib, a lecturer at UCSI University, expressed his disappointment at the teacher for failing to acknowledge the student's critical thinking.

The question, translated into English, is as follows:

"Ahmad bought one book and two pencils as shown below. Calculate the total amount of money that needs to be paid."

The illustration in the question depicts a book priced at 80 sen and a pencil priced at 60 sen.

The student showed how they arrived at the answer RM2 by adding 80 sen, 60 sen, and 60 sen.

While RM2 is the right answer in the real world, the teacher marked it as incorrect, presumably only accepting "200 sen" as the correct answer.

Othman demanded that the teacher give the student full marks for the question instead of docking them

"The answer of 'RM2' should be accepted as correct. In mathematics and kids' everyday life, the value of '200 sen' is indeed mentioned as 'RM2'.

"So, if a student gave the answer as 'RM2', he or she has correctly added the values and just expressed the answer in ringgit, which is mathematically absolutely correct.

"It is awkward for the kids to say or write '200 sen'! Instead, 'RM2' is a clever and useful answer to 'jumlah wang yang perlu dibayar (the total amount of money that needs to be paid)'.

"Therefore, it would be crucial to accept 'RM2' as a correct answer, especially [when] the question did not specify the unit of the answer," wrote the lecturer, who is also an education researcher.

He also criticised the teacher for denying the student's right to receive full marks, saying that the student demonstrated Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi (KBAT), or high-level thinking skills, in their answer.

Othman Talib, a lecturer at UCSI University.

Image via FMT

At the time of writing, Othman's post has garnered over 1,700 likes and 880 shares

Many netizens agreed with Othman's opinion.

"This teacher thinks like a 'ruler', she's merely following the [marking] scheme. Where is the art of teaching? There are many ways to solve a math question. This child is smart because they know how to convert from sen to ringgit. That's some high-level [thinking]. Even diploma students don't know how to convert units," read the top comment.

"That's why if you ask kids to wash the plates these days, they just wash the plates. Spoons, forks, and cups are not part of the 'marking scheme'. It's wrong to wash them," quipped a Facebook user.

"Teacher... teacher... [You're] low level. [You] gotta make sure they can understand you [and take] their passion to go to the next level. Don't kill their interest with mistakes that aren't their mistakes," added another netizen.

Image via Facebook

Meanwhile, a Facebook user said the student received three out of four marks is appropriate.

"Students were taught to answer following examination standard. The fact that your children is street smart won't free him or her from rule adherence," wrote another person, adding that the correct answer is 'RM2.00'.

Another netizen joked that "200 sen" is indeed the correct answer because the incident took place in Singapore.

Image via Facebook

Read Othman's full post here:

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