What’s in store for SPM candidates when school starts again?

Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was announced, Asia Pacific School (APS) has quickly adapted to a ‘new normal’ in education delivery.
While the situation means that our students have been unable to attend regular classes for close to 3 months, data gathered during that time indicates that they have adjusted well to our new modes of learning. In fact, schools across Southeast Asia under the International Schools Partnership (ISP) have seen strong and growing effectiveness of Distance Learning measures.

Now, with the government working on guidelines to allow schools to prepare for re-opening safely, parents of children sitting for the SPM 2020 examinations may be understandably concerned about whether their children will be prepared after so long away from a regular schooling schedule.
However, with an organisational mindset of always “getting better”, whether inside or outside the classroom, we’re confident that our SPM candidates will thrive in this year’s examinations, just as last year’s cohort did.

In 2019, our students achieved their best results in recent years, with 4.8% of candidates scoring straight As and an 11.8% overall percentage of A+ grades. Meanwhile, 88.5% of grades were between A+ and C, with the overall percentage of passes at 98.5%. This placed APSS among the top 5 schools in the Petaling Utama district.

In fact, our SPM candidates’ performance has been on the upswing year-on-year for the past three years. In 2017, the overall percentage of A+ grades stood at 7.3%, with 82.5% of grades between A+ and C. Whereas in 2018, the overall percentage of A+ grades was 8.7%, with 81.5% of grades lying between A+ and C.

These are not just statistics, they represent young adults who are now ready and capable of taking on challenges in the next phase of their lives.

Studies have shown that there are several key factors that contribute to students’ academic success and their overall development as a person. We continue to evolve in two key areas to enable our students to do even better.

Appropriate use of digital technology

Today’s children are ‘digital natives’ who grew up using technologies such as the internet, computers and smart gadgets. As such, technology in education is no longer an innovation but a natural extension of their life experience. However, it is important to note that while technology helps facilitate an effective learning experience, what really matters is the quality of content and its delivery.

The MCO allowed us to see this even more clearly. After all, while we have a strong heritage in technology-driven learning that we were able to leverage, putting these technologies into practice across the school community was not straightforward. Achieving our goals on this front required a great deal of coordination and adaptability from both our teaching faculty and parents at home.

We’ve listened carefully to parents’ feedback throughout the MCO and have adjusted and refined our Distance Learning practices on an ongoing basis. The experience has highlighted the importance of continuing to invest in learning technology and systems, and we are grateful to everyone involved for their feedback and constructive support during the MCO.

Creating a conducive learning environment

While learning is a process that is highly dependent on the individual, it often occurs within a larger environment. The culture of a school plays an immense role in supporting students’ improvements in their ability, interest and attitudes towards learning. A good teacher-student relationship is among the cultural factors that create an Amazing Learning environment where students feel safe to explore new knowledge and skills. Our students’ excellent results validate the strength of our Amazing Learning philosophy.

Aside from the philosophy of learning, strong and regular engagement between students and their teachers helps them gain confidence in their academic endeavours as well as in their ability to thrive in the world at large. At APS, we have many long-serving and talented educators whose focus, dedication and enthusiasm have helped ensure our students’ outstanding performance.

But just as the mark of an excellent student is a desire to learn, schools also need to be in a constant state of evolution to ensure optimal student outcomes. Since being acquired by the International Schools Partnership (ISP) in 2019, we have assumed an even stronger position to keep up with the latest research and developments in education as we now have access to shared learning resources across a network of 45 premier schools across 12 countries around the globe. Our intention is to utilise this powerful ISP Global Network to further improve our delivery of education, especially when it comes to using technology to enhance learning.

Despite the concerns posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we will continue to ensure our students experience an environment that enables them to learn effectively. No matter what the external conditions may be, rest assured that we will continue improving and doing the best for our students.