As per recent surveys, 79% of adolescents prefer using English when sitting for their O-Level exams, despite being exposed to Maltese at home.
This was primarily pointed out through the popular Environmental Studies SEC exam, wherein only about 3% of candidates answered all of the questions in Maltese.
Though many students opted to alternate between English and Maltese when tackling exam questions, an examiners’ report revealed that ‘several candidates did not express themselves coherently in either English or Maltese’.
This comes after a report evaluated the performance of 1,902 candidates who sat for Environmental Studies-a multidisciplinary subject, which stretches over history, geography, social studies, environmental awareness, and ecology.
However, the preference for English is not restricted solely to the Environmental Studies SEC exam. A separate examiners’ report for history revealed that ‘most response were in English’, yet ‘the answers indicated poor command of the English language’.
It was also found that students who opted for Paper II-B tend to have less coherent English in their answers. Many produced one-word answers or considerably short phrases rending their ‘answers vague, and at times, incomprehensible’.
The survey also observed that the majority of answers to a question on climate change ‘showed a lack of understanding’ on the subject, even among those sitting for the more challenging Paper II-A.
60.6% of all Environmental Studies candidates obtained a grade between 1 and 5, while 13.3% obtained grades between 6 and 7. Only 21% managed to obtain a grade between 1 and 3, further 2.7% of which obtained Grade 1.