SLO’s (Student Learning Outcomes):
Student Learning Outcomes play the most pivotal role in the learning process in order to achieve the ultimate objective of education. Outcome, the consequence, or the result tells us the significance of the whole process of learning and training. Therefore, Outcome is more important than the process, to achieve the targets. Unfortunately, our education system has many flaws. It does not keep an eye on the target. In our times of early education, whenever, we heard that syllabus changed, people thought the books were altered. They waited for the book. The teacher would announce with excitement, ‘Congratulations! Kids! The new book has arrived.’ In addition, the duty of the teacher was to make the students memorize the book and take exam, and target was to get more and more marks. That is because of our typical system, still in vogue today. That is what people are still doing.
However, if we talk about our educated class, in other words, the elite class, the question arises why they are shifting to the international system of education and exam. There are reasons. The reasons are when they give O-level exam, they give their curriculum as the testing domain i.e., the exam will be conducted through ‘these aspects (SLO’s) of curriculum. No western kid goes to the textbooks, instead, he goes to the SLO’s; he has to cover those SLO’s. The students get a reference to multiple books; every SLO has a target and the students know where to get it. When he has covered the SLO’s, his learning is not limited to certain questions of exercise.
In our case, in Pakistan, the child memorizes the exercise as questions, most probably, come from the exercise and sometimes, he memorizes the whole book. How can he get fewer marks? He can’t because questions are selected from the exercise, whereas, in international testing system, question comes from SLO’s. For example, in physics, an SLO is ‘at the end of the lesson, the students will be able to understand Newton’s law.’ Now the question will not be from the exercise, it will be about the Newton’s law. This conceptual learning is the basis for their exams and the name given to it is A-level and O-level. This is the basic difference between Pakistani exam system and SLO based exam system of Oxford.
Surprisingly, this trend is coming to Pakistan. Take any local book and you will see SLO’s at the beginning of the unit. Even our textbook boards have started writing SLO’s. Everybody else has followed suit. The question is why then the intellectual level of the students doesn’t blossom. It’s because the problem persist in and it lies with the BISE’s of all the provinces. They pick questions from the exercise, yet they claim SLO’s must be followed and understood. Fact is, they have written SLO’s at the beginning of each lesson only for show off and exercise of the unit has got no conceptual questions – following the same old rugged path.
We, the team of CANTAB Publishers have worked hard to figure out the problem and its solution. We created awareness among the people and our awareness program has been working for the last 3 years. The Chief Editor of CANTAB honorary, Dr. Naeem Khalid, who is a Ph.D in Physics and an educationist of rare talent, gave a presentation in the annual meeting of IBCC, in which he pointed out that the brilliant future of Pakistan exists only when we could watch a village school conducting O-level exams. The future of Pakistan has little promise if we persist in conducting exam the way we do. IBCC in this regard made decisions and said that from 2020 onwards, they will give only SLO based exams. Most importantly, KP government took the initiative and issued a notification that exam would be SLO based and questions won’t be copied from the exercise. What differences will SLO based exam bring about? Matric will be equivalent to O-level, in accordance with Dr. Naeem’s presentation to IBCC, and Inter equivalent to A-level. We should equate Matric to O-level and Intermediate to A-level. Again, the question arises, what is the solution? Solution is SLO based exam in our education system. Solution is one curriculum, one nation and then we can say goodbye to the ‘class system’. And what do we mean by curriculum? Here is a letter about SLO based exam and it is already mentioned here. [Reference – – – – – – – — – – – — – – – – – – – -]
Let’s consider an example of a question in mathematics.
To find the area of a square or a rectangle (grade 5 , maths):
The children in different settings will have the same task to do e.g., a child in a village school will learn to find the area of his slate, which is rectangular. The boy in the city, in Beaconhouse school, will try to find the area of his smart phone, which is also rectangular. So all the children will calculate the area of a rectangle and say ‘adieu’ to the vicious class system in education.
We conclude that SLO’s based exam has two advantages: first, it will transform the students’ thinking mode about the knowledge in the book and develop conceptual perception in them. Second, even greater advantage will be, it would put an end to the class system in our society. All this would happen if SLO’s were fixed for all. Moreover, class system in a society is not due to the social status of the people. It’s, actually due to the different education system for different people. The facilities provided for the students by their parents may be different but the curriculum should be the same. It is the duty of the parents and the government to give equal opportunities to the students. In addition, equal opportunity in education is … the curriculum. If the curriculum is same for all students, they will have same opportunities, and they will compete in the next exam on equal basis. The tragedy is, the government doesn’t provide equal education system to every child. Let us make it clear that equal system is not about facilities. Equal system means equal mental status and this direction is provided by the same curriculum for the whole nation.