A massive reform to Malta’s sixth form syllabus will be introduced in 2020, with students now expected to put their foreign language proficiency to the test, while talented athletes will have their sporting achievements recognised as an intermediate subject.
In a press briefing at the MATSEC offices this morning, it was also revealed that co-curricular activities would be awarded additional grade points, while the existing Systems of Knowledge subject will be restructured to recognise communication and cultural skills better.
The public consultation period will be open until the end of the month. You can give your feedback here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Foreign language proficiency builds on O-level knowledge
When news of the reform first broke on Friday, people roundly criticised introducing foreign language proficiency, mainly because it may place certain students at a disadvantage in their attempt to obtain enough points to get into university.
“[The introduction of foreign languages] strengthens our European Identity,” MATSEC officials explained,” students are already expected to know English, Maltese, and foreign language at O-level, all this does is consolidate this knowledge.”
Proficiency in a foreign language will be offered for German, Italian, Spanish, and French. Should a student already take one of the subjects at A-level or Intermediate, they would not be required to take the proficiency subject.
Students will have their proficiency tested in four areas; listening, writing, reading, and speaking; each of which will have equal weighting.
The subject will be introduced in 2020, with it becoming compulsory in 2021.
2. Systems of knowledge project to be dropped
Systems of Knowledge, an Intermediate subject designed to give students a holistic knowledge of Science, Art, Politics, and Culture, will be reformed to reflect 21st-century realities better.
Notably, the Systems of Knowledge project will be removed entirely, while lessons will have to be taught in both English and Maltese.
Testing for the subject will now take the form of continuous assessment in class participation, with the focus being a reduction of the emphasis on actual knowledge and move towards the integration of culture within a communicative context.
3. Co-curricular activities will be awarded 3 grade points
In a bid to recognise the growing number of students who are involved in extra-curricular activities, the reform will also see 3-grade points awarded to those who undertake them.
While co-curricular activities are yet to be firmly established, these will involve activities such as theatre, mini-European Assembly, and enterprise.
Co-curricular activities will be assessed through a reflective journal.
4. Athletes can now take their sport as an intermediate-level subject
The reform also looks to encourage talented athletes to continue practising their sport regularly during their post-secondary studies.
Their efforts in the sport will now allow them to replace one of their optional Intermediate-Level subjects by awarding them 10 points towards their MATSEC certificate.
While the criteria are yet to set, athletes will have to train at least 10 hours a week, and this circumstance will only apply to the most promising sportspersons.
An independent board will decide whether a person is allowed to apply.
5. Continuous assessment will be 20% of the final grade
Continuous assessment will be introduced at a minimum rate of 20% of the entire final grade.
It will set and marked by the school, while MATSEC will moderate it.
Subjects that already have more than 20% of the grade measured through coursework will not change.