SHAH ALAM: Many students who sat for the SPM examination last year found the papers tough, especially the newly introduced format, resulting in only a few them scoring A+, A and A- . Only 2,122 of the 71,615 students who sat for SPM obtained the A grade in all subjects they took, down from 2,606 candidates in 2013. The number of students who obtained straight A+ for all subjects were 63 students, which also marks a drop as compared to the 78 students in 2013. A total of 41,283 candidates or 58.30% in Selangor have passed their SPM which is also a decrease from the 2013 figure of 43,151. “The change to the approach in SPM where the Education ministry has put more emphasis on high-level thinking skills to which most students are not used to could be cause for many not excelling,” said Selangor Education Department (JPS) academic chief Hajjah Foziah Buang, who announced the results at the JPS headquarters here today. She said the high-level thinking skills approach actually would encourage students to widen their scope and step away from just memorizing and spotting questions like in previous years. “This would help them think outside the scope of studies and more on critical thinking. We are heading towards student-focused learning where they will have to learn on their own with the teachers taking on the role of facilitator,” she added. The state’s average grade in Selangor also went down from 4.77 in 2013 to 4.95 in 2014. This 0.18 point reduction shows that the number of students who have achieved highest excellence, excellence and distinctions in their subjects have reduced. Meanwhile, it was a day to celebrate for 11 of the State’s brightest students as they were all at the JPS headquarters here to receive certificates for their excellent performance in the examination. Eighteen-year-old Chai Jie Min from SMK Yu Hua, Kajang, who scored 11 A+ said she was not expecting to get straight As. “It was very difficult, although I studied very hard, I was afraid of Accounts and my Chinese language results but thankfully I got good,” said Chai who intends to become a dentist. V.N. Valli, whose daughter, Pavitra Chinapah from SMK Convent Kajang also scored 11 A+ in the examinations, said that she is very proud of her daughter because of the hard work she had put in all year round. “She was very focused and hardworking, she would not even leave her books for a minute, I always knew she would get straight As even though she did not go for any tuition classes,” said Valli who fully supports her daughter's ambition to become a doctor. Another straight A student Nor Aimilia Hanim from SMKA Maahad Hamidiah thanked God for her good results. “The results came by God’s grace, I did not expect this result and I am thankful and happy that I got these results,” said Aimilia who intends to study dentistry in the Middle East.