Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Why you throw away marks???"

This is a rambling post because I am totally devoid of stamina after having partaken in the SA2 exam race with Andre over the past two weeks. Of course I was an active participant! As parents, we believe if we somehow compensate our kids' bochap-ness with our kancheong-ness, the Exam Gods might pity us enough to bestow better grades on them.

I think Andre's results were ok (not great but ok) but again, I won't really know for sure until the Parent Teacher Conference next week. Unfortunately, his school streams the kids every year after p2 which means it's not enough to fare well, you need to fare better than or at least on par with other kids to ensure you get into a reasonable class.

Talk about adding to the ugly competitive spirit. For eg, even though Andre came home with 94.5 for maths, I was concerned to learn that many kids scored over 90, indicating that it was a simple paper. When I saw his careless mistake on one of his answers - 8/100 = 4/25, I slapped my forehead and wailed, "why you throw away marks like that???"

His Science paper gave me even more angst. Several questions that he answered incorrectly baffled me as I'd gone through the concepts with him several times. For one MCQ question, he knew the correct answer but marked the wrong number. Which triggered another apoplectic fit from me.

The sadist that I am added up all the marks that I deemed he SHOULD have gotten had he been more careful/focused/awake and announced very loudly to him: "YOU GAVE AWAY 8 MARKS!!!!!"

It's deja vu really. This happens after almost every exam and I know it is extremely unproductive. As Lilian and I were discussing a few days ago, we know yelling doesn't help, we know our kids have put in the effort, yet when the results come back, something goes off in our heads - we automatically harp on what they did wrong and find ways to heap the burning coals on their heads.

One of Andre's good friends barely passed his math exam last term and made a huge improvement to score 80 at this exam. His mum, who's a friend of mine, laughed as she admitted, "I was still thinking, aiyah, how come he couldn't get Band 1."

Here's the plain truth: we're hard to please.

Andre has long learnt that when telling me unsatisfactory marks, he would be doing himself favours by naming all his friends who'd scored lower than him. If he came home and announced, "guess what I got for maths, Mummy!" I instantly knew it would be good news. If it was bad news, he'd sometimes wait till it was almost time for bed before giving me a beseeching look and saying, "by the way, I got back my English marks today..." It's predictable behaviour but who can blame him?

So instead of focusing on his mistakes, this post is to remind myself of what he did right. He got 17/20 for Chinese compo. He scored within the upper range (28-30/30) for Chinese oral. And of course he did get 94.5 for his maths afterall.

I shall be content and give thanks. And be extra grateful that the next exam is not till 5 months later.


Lilian said...

Actually, I kept looking at 8/100=4/25 and couldn't see anything wrong for a long time :P haha.

Very happy that Andre did so well. He worked so hard, as did you.

monlim said...

Lilian: Like you, I didn't even realise it was wrong at first! I thought the teacher marked it wrong cos Andre gave the answer in the simplest form when the sum didn't actually call for it (can you say pek chek??) Lucky I discovered the error before I wrote to the teacher :P

Anonymous said...

I agree 8/100=4/25 did not look so wrong.. LOL....I would make the same mistake!! I think Andre's results are excellent for P4. Bravo Andre! You deserve a treat! :P (Sorry mummy, but he did well leh)

My child did marginally worser than her SA1 whereas everyone else did better. LOL

However, I am contented with my child's results because:
a. I know what she knows
b. I know what she does not know
c. she has virtually eliminated
95% of careless mistakes by now
d. She has marked improvement in 2
areas which I coached her

Like you, if I focus on the positives, I think she deserves an iPad for performing consistently over the 4 exams she has taken so far. So do consider a reward for Andre. If my child can get such results at P4 (maintain above 90), I will rejoice.


monlim said...

QX: Waaaahh, you give your dd an iPad as a reward? I hope my kids don't read this lol!! But agree that she has done well based on your points esp c). Careless mistakes usually cost the most marks, if she can eliminate 95% of them, that's a huge achievement!

Lilian said...


haha, I'm writing on behalf of Andre.

My friend just emailed me to say her P4 boy got above 90 for Science and Math and Band 1 for English, so they are taking him to Universal Studios today. How's that? haha.

My kids not so lucky leh :P iPad for exam results, wait long long.

Anyway, I've never given rewards for specifically for results, not even PSLE. I did reward him BEFORE the results, but after the exams, for the effort put in :) And never any promises of rewards, it's always an afterthought, as I said, depends on my mood one :P

monlim said...

Lilian: I'm with you lah, reward for effort not for results. Oh, since I'm already planning to bring the kids to Universal Studios, maybe I can say that's their reward???? Hahahahaha, cheapskate mum...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like I am spoiling my child hor? :P

This reward is for her efforts after 4 exams. When I look back at myself, I don't think I can do what she has done at the same age, given that the syllabus seems harder and the pressure to perform higher. Her results may not be stellar results but in my eyes, it is stellar enough for the consistency which I value. There is a certain number in my mind that I can accept for her errors due to the exam conditions and she has been keeping to it and that is what matters. :) Yes no doubt as she reduces her careless mistakes, it also means that more knowledge gap has surfaced but I think it is good for me to find out now than later at PSLE.


ada said...

Oh, thank you thank you thank you Mon... & LLL too! You don't know just how relieved I am now to find out that I'm a pretty "normal" mom hahaha! Not that I've had that many occasions this year to give the WYTAM lecture since The Daughter's only in P1 and they have no exams, but still I stand guilty on at least 2 occasions. The most memorable was a series of 3-4 ting-xies where she scored 9-9.5/10, and for whatever reason (OK now I know, it's the Hard-to-Please gene in overdrive), I went into a mini-rant about what it would take for her to get 10/10! Her response was - as you've pointed out - BUT XX, YY, ZZ (classmates) only got 3 or 4 or maybe 7 upon 10, so I'm not so bad. Ouch... I didn't say you were bad, at least I didn't mean to!

Boy, I've much to learn from you two.. kids, parenting and even some maths! My rewards/efforts/results approach looks somewhat on track :). But I may need P4 maths refresher - took me awhile too to figure out 8/100 = 4/25 NOT...Now, help me understand this: if it takes about 2.5-3 family trips to USS to add up to the cost of an ipad - how in the world would that even be = cheapskate?!?! :D

Anyway well done Andre & Mom - great effort & results to boot! Enjoy USS, the long hols...and the next 5 months!! :)

monlim said...

QX: Every parent has his/her own reward system, just go with whatever you're comfortable with! In the end, you want to show her you value consistency, effort and carefulness, so as long as the message gets across, you'd have achieved your goal :)

Ada: You're a classic Singaporean parent! I know majority of parents are like that lah, if it gives you comfort, just that some may do it behind closed doors and not admit it, haha. At least we can laugh about it, slap our foreheads in private and hug our kids later (although they'll probably wonder about their Jekyll and Hyde mums!)

Thanks for the encouragement, always nice to know we have another learn-as-you-go parent on board!

Lilian said...

LOL Da, I seriously can't imagine u ranting! In the hostel, you were always super cool-as-a-cucumber. Never seen u upset with anyone, always happy with your cheshire-cat grin hehehe. Seriously, never ever seen you moody.

Anyway, it's not just Singaporeans, but Asian parents all over the world :) We're hard to please.

monlim said...

Ada: Agree with Lilian, I always imagined you to be the type of parent all kids wanna have! Steady and cheerful :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Andre and you, Mon!

I also do not give reward to my kids, but I give reward to myself :-P. I told my kids, they are just doing what they are suppose to do - study hard, but mummy is not suppose to study so hard and yet I'm doing this with them, so I am the one that should be rewarded!


monlim said...

Chris: I like the way you think!

ada said...

Mon/Lilian: Hahaha, isn't it usually the case that the parent-next-door-is-always-cooler/calmer/less fierce :D ... all things considered, still pretty cool lah especially relative to other cane-wielding, enrichment-mad parents!

LLL, *I* will aim to be on my best cucumber behaviour when we visit...for old times sake (plus hopefully all the shopping, massages & food will be distraction enough from any "kid incidents" :))!

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