Thursday, March 3, 2011

JJ's English Exam

JJ had just gone through her first term exams (primary 3). And over the last few days, she's been getting her results for the respective subjects one by one. Mia has been eagerly waiting for those results, and I can't say for sure whether JJ or mommy is more excited about them.

Well, today JJ got the result for her English paper. I'm afraid she didn't do too well—she got 90%. I'm not too overly concerned about JJ's results as much as Mia, but this evening, just out of curiosity, I actually took the trouble to glance through her English paper. A portion of the paper caught my attention; here's a snapshot of it:

These are Questions 11 to 13, and as you can see, the paper is of multiple choice format. Students were required to choose the "best sentence to fit the situation".

For Q11, the picture shows a boy standing at the fence and asking, "Is your brother at home?"

Q12 shows a boy saying to another boy, "I have five brothers." He's apparently responding to a question posed by the other boy.

Whereas Q13 shows a mother and daughter doing the dishes together in the kitchen; the mother saying, "Thank you for helping me."

In all cases, the students were supposed to choose the best responses from those available options. On the right side of each picture, you can see 4 possible answers each, and those circled ones are chosen by JJ.

Now let me give you an English test of my own. Of the three answers chosen by JJ, one is wrong. Which is it? I have a feeling that people from the science stream would generally give me a different answer from those from the arts stream. What say you? People whose children are from St James, Likas are disqualified from attempting for obvious reason.


Aesthetic Introvert said...

is ur brother at home? no, he is in d school now.
probably too busy with his never ending classes...

kalau nda btul nih,nda pa lah,but i still choose the 1st question...haha.

Sarah said...

90% is pretty good!

I would guess the first one is wrong. I think either A or C would be appropriate answers so maybe they considered C to be the best answer.

Moon said...

I think is the answer for Q11.

Moon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cornelius said...

Well done, y'all! *clap, clap, clap*

Personally, I think Q11 is a lousy question and probably even damaging for a child of JJ's age. "Best sentence" in the teacher's opinion may not be the best to others. I am OK with C too, but in such a case, I feel the teacher owe it to the kids to justify that choice. How else are they gonna learn?

Q11 is interesting; or rather the choices of answers are. Option D is how women in general would respond to that question. It is in the order of:

Q: Have you ironed my clothes?
A: The iron is still hot.

Q: Have you had dinner yet?
A: I'm already full.

Women don't generally give direct answers. So they'd probably have chosen D above.

Option C is probably preferable for people from the arts stream. They always try to give more information. Notice that the question was whether his brother was at home. Nobody was asking where is the brother. Therefore, strictly speaking, it was unnecessary to say that "he is in the school".

Option A would be my choice if I were to sit for the exam. I think that is a more "scientific" answer. The question only seeks to know whether the brother was at home or not. The most efficient and precise answer would therefore be either yes, he's in; or no, he's not. Short and direct to the point.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

In my opinion, "afraid not" is an informal version of a more direct "no". Though it is common in everyday spoken English. Strictly speaking there is nothing to be "afraid" of, a no is a no (lol).

Could this be the reason JJ's teacher had not accepted Option A (or rather purposefully added Option A as a red herring)?

Aesthetic Introvert said...

oooookey,i thot this was a trick question. okay, i was punked.

Cornelius said...


If that was indeed the teacher's reason for rejecting Option A, I just can't agree lah. I can still remember the time when I had a group of students who attended my class many years ago. I told them to "Please take the load off your feet", and I got blank faces staring at me. I only got the required reaction when I said "Please sit down".

English is a rich language, and I think being good in that language is to know as many ways as possible, including slangs etc to communicate. I suppose "afraid not" can be misunderstood as being scared of something. But if I had to choose between A and C, in my opinion, A is still the most efficient.

Cornelius said...


No, not a trick question this time.