Nine out of 10 candidates candidates who sat for the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) examination last year opted to answer the Science and Mathematics papers in English.
Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) chairman Tan Sri Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said a total of 49,722 or 92.7% of the 53,638 candidates answered in English, an increase of 0.8% compared to 2007.
5A students: (From left) Cheh Ghoon Hoong, Mark Wong Siang Kai, Neo Jia Hui, Nicholas and Foo Jong Yi looking at their certificates yesterday.
“Candidates don’t take risks in examinations. If they had not been comfortable, they would not have answered in English,” he said when announcing the STPM 2008 results here.
Since 2004, candidates have been given the choice of answering the Science and Mathematics papers – Mathematics S, Mathematics T, Further Mathematics T, Computing, Physics, Chemistry and Biology – in English or Bahasa Malaysia, or both languages.
MEC chief executive Omar Abu Bakar said candidates were not penalised if they answered a question in both English and Bahasa Malaysia.
He added that there was no data to show the breakdown of candidates who answered the Science and Mathematics papers in both languages, or solely in Bahasa Malaysia.
In terms of candidates’ overall performance in urban and rural areas, Prof Dzulkifli said there was still an obvious difference.
“Urban candidates performed better than their rural counterparts, with 10.39% obtaining three to five As compared with 6.77% in rural areas,” he said.
But, he added that for the first time, candidates in the science stream from rural areas did better than those in the urban areas.
“About 14.18% of rural candidates obtained three to five As compared with about 12.99% of those in urban areas.”
Prof Dzulkifli, who is also Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor, said that although candidates were allowed to take five subjects, the majority took four in 2008, as the Higher Education Ministry’s requirement for entry into public universities was four subjects, including the General Paper.
He said 13 candidates obtained As in all the five subjects they took, compared with 25 in 2007.
“This includes five candidates from the science stream who obtained all As in the papers they took, which are General Paper, Mathematics T, Physics, Chemistry and Biology,” he said.
Thirty-one candidates who sat for five subjects obtained four As, while 223 who took four subjects obtained four As.
Prof Dzulkifli said 259 candidates obtained a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 4.0, compared with 437 in 2007.
There was a decrease in the number of STPM candidates last year – 53,638 compared with 66,048 in 2007.
The results for eight subjects, namely Usuluddin, Geography, Economics, Commerce, Further Mathematics T, Computing, Sports Science and Visual Arts, showed an improvement. No subject showed a decline of more than 3%.