ON Jan 25, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, announced the list of 20 High Performing Schools (HPS) which included 14 secondary schools.
When the SPM results were announced on March 11, the public and education fraternity alike were looking for a correlation between the HPS and the top 10 schools in SPM. After all, the thinking norm of society is that the performance of schools is measured largely by their ability to produce outstanding results in public examinations.
This is in line with the selection which was based on academia, co-curriculum and niche areas as espoused by the Government.
Of the 14 secondary schools which are HPS, only four made it to the top 10 schools as per SPM results. This works out to be 28.6%.
Looking further, as we search for a better representation of the top 10 students, only two come from HPS which is 20%.
These are hard facts; we need empirical evidence to show that the HPS are indeed the ones which can produce excellent performance far greater than expected among their students compared to other schools of similar intakes.
Again, of the 10 top schools in the country, one is a day school and nine are fully residential schools whose intake are based on excellent results of students at the UPSR and PMR levels.
The only day school in the list, SMK Infant Jesus Convent in Johor Baru, is a school of controlled-intake.
Hence, top schools’ student population is not a normal distribution but manipulated. Can ordinary schools then ever get near to the status of being the top or the even more elusive category of being HPS based on SPM results? The answer is obvious.
Is there a mismatch? Is there also a need to create a new criterion to select schools which are to be accorded the status of HPS?