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Grade 6 students fail in Thai essay writing

Discussion in 'Education from Thailand' started by Stamp, 25 Feb 2017.

  1. Stamp

    Stamp Thread Starter Administrator Staff Member

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    Slang, local dialects found in examinations

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    Grade 6 students sitting the recent Ordinary National Educational Test (O-Net) were found to have fared poorly in the essay portion that tests their Thai language skills, according to the National Institute of Education Testing Service (NIETS).

    NIETS director Sampan Panpruk said NIETS found that many Grade 6 students failed to write proper and formal Thai in their recent essay test, in a portion introduced for the first time in this year's O-Net exam.

    Misspelling, use of slang, informal language and regional dialects were common mistakes found among students, Mr Sampan said.

    "We've seen many Thai misspellings. For example, instead of writing Tor Tha Harn and Ro Ruea in the Thai word Sak [cutting in front], they wrote Sor So in the Thai word Sak which is wrong," he said. "Some students even used Thai slang such as Sab Wer [superb] and Chew Chew [easy] in their essays," the NIETS director said.

    Mr Sampan said his examiners also found a number of students used words from their regional dialects in the test.

    "Regional dialects are not bad Thai. Each dialect's value is equal to standard Thai, but when it comes to academic writing, it's important for students to be able to use standard Thai language," he said.

    Mr Sampan said this academic year is the first year that the O-Net test includes a written portion in Thai which will contribute 20% of the total mark.

    He explained that a writing section will allow the exam to better evaluate a student's analytical capacity and address issues of Thai illiteracy.

    He said NIETS will report these problems to the Education Ministry and the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), so they can solve the problems in the exams in the coming years.

    Read the full article here: Grade 6 students fail in Thai essay writing | Bangkok Post: news
     
  2. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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  3. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    In the heading of story "fail" but they "fared poorly" in the lead paragraph ...not really one and the same result is it? You can do 'poorly' and still 'pass'. No figures for this writing portion are offered here ..so how many 'failed' and how many passed but poorly umm maybe?
    :confused
     
  4. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Clear as day, standardised tests favour the ruling central elite. The only correct language is that of the ruling classes. Having said that, the inclusion of a writing section is clearly the way forward. Sadly I would guess the section was asking for factual information rather than a critical analysis. Any ideas of the questions?
     
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  5. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    Given that the test was created and administered by NIETS, who have a significant history of poor test creation and no test validity (internal or external), I would seriously question the validity and the results of the test itself.

    Were they in fact testing what they claim to have been testing (ie: was it in fact a test of grammar and spelling on a grammar and spelling essay test OR more likely marking grammar and spelling when the test was to write an essay created to check comprehension and general knowledge).

    NIETS giving us more sh1t from the same pile as they try to cover up another poor test and blame the students for their own failure.

    .
     
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  6. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    There's basically no need to know the English test results.
     
  7. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    This was the Thai test.... but validity or lack thereof is still an issue.

    .
     
  8. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure I follow. I was always expected to write paragraphs, essays, and research papers that were free of any type of informal speech. I've never considered my self part of any type of elite. Perhaps it was my white privilege that allowed me to grow up in a home where my parents took the time to show me how to write. If so, our tests would have favored the Asian Elite, as the Vietnamese and Chinese completely dominated their Caucasian counterparts.
     
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  9. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    The point I was making is that the need to write in 'central Thai' places students who use 'dialects' at a disadvantage. Some wider questions follow:

    What is a dialect? The word has so many assumed meanings but most point at its peripheral existence especially when the term standard is bounded about. The term 'central Thai', which would lead to further doubts of the importance of non central/outside of the central dialects, is also frequently used

    Is a dialect any less central to the student who uses it than 'standard Thai'?

    Who makes the decision on what 'standard Thai' is and is not?

    I'd prefer not to go down the route of talking specifically about your upbringing, but I would say that a parent's ability to devote time to their young's education is indeed a privilege and certainly not available to all.
     
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  10. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    would this not be true of any country and any language?
     
  11. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, I'd have to give a little thought first.

    I'm coming from the issue that all spoken word is a dialect and central at the same time. For sure some agreed format is needed so communication can happen, which confuses the matter even further. But then we are moving away from the point at hand is a written test where students were marked down for the use of their own dialect.

    The tests given by the central authorities use 'standard Thai'. Why were the student's not given an option of using the standard language of there context? True it does get a little tricky since even in Lampang there are villages which have their own dialect which differs from the assumed dialect of the region.

    My thoughts on this are still quite fluid.

    A question in my mind rages: to what extent language is used to nation build or to maintain a ruling class and to what extent is it totally necessary so we all know what we are talking about!

    Yours and others thoughts would be appreciated
     
  12. ramses

    ramses Well-Known Member

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    I spent a lot of time in the southern US, do you think if I were to write 'doin' or 'fixin to' or even 'fickin to' on a standardized test it should be counted as correct? It would certainly be standard language in that context.

    If I were a teacher (oh I am) and a student handed in work that was informal speech (have seen it), there would be serious ramifications in grading the paper.

    I am not a fan of slang or informal speech in the context of work that is to be graded. However, I think saying the students failed or fared poorly is a bit like victim blaming. Teachers whose students perform poorly should be evaluated before blaming the kids.

    I understand where you are coming from especially in terms of Isaan kids, however, I think it goes back to what is being taught in the school and what is being taught at home. I think the teachers have a duty to teach in a way that gives students a chance to succeed. When I read this, I do not see anything other than teachers failing to correct very correctable mistakes.
     
  13. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    like when I use there not their:ashamed

    I tend to agree with the examples you give in your informal speech position, where I have a much harder time is levelling the correctness of local/regional dialects. Perhaps slang, dialect, standard/central Thai all exist on a sliding scale and that the standard is the easiest way to make uniform grading decisions. I would question though as to how fair it is to say that one region is wrong whilst the other is right.
     
  14. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    There is the issue in a nut shell. The debate on whether to include experience in eduction or a return singulars is not something we are ever going to settle.
     
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  15. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    A great post, BF. Have you ever thought about various Brits who grew up in very poor areas of for example Manchester, Liverpool, I mean people who just can't "change, or maybe adjust their speech" to a language that's understandable for all,- at least for NES teachers from Disneyworld land?

    I've met too many mates who are actually not really speaking, it's more mumbling to me. At a seminar held by an agency, I've worked for a long time ago, were two guys who had to give a lesson and I was a student.

    He's asking me if I'd have had "Fiunn", pretty hard to find the right letters for it. Of course, did none of the Thai employees understand what he's trying to say......

    Those two guys were not able to pronounce the word fun in a way that an American teacher would understand them. How should Thai students know what FIUNN is?

    But I'd like to give you an example from my area. I'm a city guy, but you only need to drive 3 km out of the city and there's no way to understand the next village peoples' slang, or is it a dialect?

    My point being is that a language teacher should adjust his/her speech in a way that students or at least American colleagues can understand them.

    What you guys call the Queen's English is pretty much similar to the so-called high German. And I think that all educated people should be able to speak the "real language", not just one of the countless versions of it. I do speak high German and understand various slangs.

    But I'd never talk my local slang to somebody I don't know and use high German.

    I've heard that too often when Americans had to ask a Brit at least twice what's being said.

    It's amazing that some of these quality teachers believe that they speak "real English", just because all people from that particular are using the same slang.

    There's a place in Germany, called Lower Saxony, ex- DDR and they are using some words an ordinary German would think they are talking about meat of a goose. " Gaenn se vlaisch" meat of a goose is Gaensefleisch in German.

    But the truth is that they're basically asking : " Could you please"....( whatever follows)
     

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