The Education and Culture Ministry, as recently quoted by mass media, will create 20 versions of exam papers for National Exam 2013. It means each student will get different exam paper with their friends although they are in the same room. The previous 2012 national exam consisted of 5 variants of exam papers. This modification is to prevent cheating and force students to work harder. Furthermore, the difficulty of the questions will also be increased.
Thinking about this news, I personally believe that all the methods or ways of evaluating the students’ ability still depend on the honesty among teachers, students and education stakeholders. We may change, modify or upgrade our system of exams, but the most problematic matter we face every year is how we can establish a valid and honest exam/test. Anyway, this 20-variants’ method is a new breakthrough to conduct a better assessment for Indonesian students. At least, students and teachers are warned to prepare for the national exam as well as possible.
Specifically for English test, I do hope the Education and Culture Ministry will change and modify the form of the questions. It has been 3 years, English test in national exam for junior high school emphasized on the understanding of reading texts. The clues of materials, or known as ‘kisi-kisi’, should also contain question variables that encourage students to be able to express their ability in communicative aspects, such as dialogues or conversations.