Vietnamese mathematicians oppose multiple-choice questions for maths

Update: September, 26/2016 - 19:00
Students take the math test during the 2016 national high school examination. – VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tiến
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Mathematical Society (VMS) has asked the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to postpone the introduction of multiple-choice math questions for the 2017 national high school examination.

VMS Secretary General Phùng Hồ Hải said the society has suggested to the ministry to retain the current written format for math.

The ministry should organise national seminars to analyse scientific arguments on whether to introduce multiple-choice questions for math and evaluate the effectiveness of multiple choice math tests at some universities in Việt Nam over the years, he said.

Based on the results of the seminars, the ministry should make a decision, Hải said.

In case there is a change in the test format, students and teachers should be given some time to prepare for the transition, he said.

The Executive Committee of VMS has proposed a dialogue with MoET leaders to reach a social consensus and meet the educational goals and aspirations of students, families, schools and the entire society.

According to the Việt Nam Association of Mathematics, the current written format for the math paper can assess logical thinking and problem-solving skills of students, although the test results may depend on the subjectivity of teachers who score the paper. While a multiple-choice test can avoid this factor, it may reduce the student’s analytical, problem-solving skills and creativity by encouraging tips and tricks to skip to the final answer.

In addition, the multiple-choice test fails to indentify gifted students due to unqualified questions, the VMS said.

To have sufficient scientific basis and to ensure persuasion, multiple-choice test exams which have been conducted in some areas of Việt Nam should be assessed fairly based on scientific and practical efficiency. In addition, an analysis of the reasons for the change from the written format to a multiple-choice test should be done, it said.

All study and assessments on both types of test should be publicised so that people can have a better understanding and can prepare properly for the transition, the VMS said. — VNS