3. The current education system in Malaysia is too
examination-oriented and over-emphasizes
rote-learning with institutions of higher learning
fast becoming mere diploma mills.
Like most Asian countries (e.g., Gang 1996; Lim
and Tan 1999; Choi 1999), Malaysia so far has
focused on public examination results as
important determinants of students’ progression
to higher levels of education or occupational
opportunities (Chiam 1984).
The Malaysian education system requires all
students to sit for public examinations at the end
of each level of schooling.
4. 4 public examinations:
1. Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) at the
end of six years of primary education
2. Lower Secondary Examination (PMR) at the end
of another three years’ schooling,
3. Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) at the
end of 11 years of schooling,
4. Malaysian Higher School Certificate
Examination (STPM) or the Higher Malaysian
Certificate for Religious Education (STAM) at the
end of 13 years’ schooling.
5. In public debate, the issue of teaching to the test has often
translated into debates over whether the UPSR, PMR, and SPM
examinations should be abolished.
Summative national examinations should not in themselves have
any negative impact on students.
The challenge is that these examinations do not currently test
the full range of skills that the education system aspires to
An external review by Pearson Education Group of the English
examination papers at UPSR and SPM level noted that these
assessments would benefit from the inclusion of more questions
testing higher-order thinking skills, such as application, analysis,
synthesis and evaluation.
For example, their analysis of the 2010 and 2011 English
Language UPSR papers showed that approximately 70% of the
questions tested basic skills of knowledge and comprehension.
6. Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025
“ In October 2011, the Ministry of Education launched a comprehensive
review of the education system in Malaysia in order to develop a new
National Education Blueprint. This decision was made in the context of
rising international education standards, the Government’s aspiration of
better preparing Malaysia’s children for the needs of the 21st century,
and increased public and parental expectations of education policy. Over
the course of 11 months, the Ministry drew on many sources of input,
from education experts at UNESCO, World Bank, OECD, and six local
universities, to principals, teachers, parents, and students from every
state in Malaysia. The result is a preliminary Blueprint that evaluates the
performance of Malaysia’s education system against historical starting
points and international benchmarks. The Blueprint also offers a vision
of the education system and students that Malaysia both needs and
deserves, and suggests 11 strategic and operational shifts that would be
required to achieve that vision. The Ministry hopes that this effort will
inform the national discussion on how to fundamentally transform
Malaysia’s education system, and will seek feedback from across the
community on this preliminary effort before finalising the Blueprint in
8. School-based Assessment is a holistic
assessment which assesses the cognitive,
affective, and psychomotor domains
encompassing intellectual, emotional, spiritual
and physical aspects. Thus, it is in tandem with
the Primary School Standard Curriculum as well
as the National Educational Philosophy. It covers
both academic and non-academic fields. It is
carried out continuously in schools by teachers
during the teaching and learning process.
9. In 2011, in parallel with the KSSR, the new
PBS format that is intended to be more:
10. 4 Components of SBA/ PBS
1. School Assessment (using Performance
2. Centralised Assessment
3. Physical Activities, Sports and Co-curricular
Assessment (Pentaksiran Aktiviti Jasmani,
Sukan dan Kokurikulum - PAJSK)
4. Psychometric/Psychological Assessment
11. There are four components to the new PBS:
1. School assessment
refers to written tests that assess subject
The test questions and marking schemes are
developed, administered, scored, and
reported by school teachers based on
guidance from LP
The emphasis is on collecting first hand
information about pupils’ learning based on
12. 2. Central assessment
refers to written tests, project work, or oral tests
(for languages) that assess subject learning.
LP develops the test questions and marking
The tests are, however, administered and marked
by school teachers using instruments, rubrics,
guidelines, time line and procedures prepared by
Monitoring and moderation conducted by PBS
Committee at School, District and State Education
Department, and LP
13. 3. Physical, sports, and co-curricular activities
refers to assessments of student performance
and participation in physical and health
education, sports, uniformed bodies, clubs,
and other non-school sponsored activities.
Schools are given the flexibility to determine
how this component will be assessed.
The new format enables students to be
assessed on a broader range
14. 4. Psychometric assessment
refers to aptitude tests and a personality inventory to
assess students’ skills, interests, aptitude, attitude
Aptitude tests are used to assess students’ innate
and acquired abilities, for example in thinking and
The personality inventory is used to identify key traits
and characteristics that make up the students’
LP develops these instruments and provides
guidelines for use.
Schools are, however, not required to comply with
15. The new format enables students to be
assessed on a broader range of output over a
longer period of time.
It also provides teachers with more regular
information to take the appropriate remedial
actions for their students.
These changes are hoped to reduce the
overall emphasis on teaching to the test, so
that teachers can focus more time on
delivering meaningful learning as stipulated
in the curriculum.
16. In 2014, the PMR national examinations will be
replaced with school and centralised assessment.
In 2016, a student’s UPSR grade will no longer be
derived from a national examination alone, but
from a combination of PBS and the national
The format of the SPM remains the same, with
most subjects assessed through thenational
examination, and some subjects through a
combination of examinations and centralised
17. The School-based assessment results
conducted by the teachers are reliable
1. Continuously monitor their pupil’s growth
2. Can provide constructive feedback to help
improve pupil’s learning abilities
3. Have better understanding of the context
and environment that are most conducive to
4. Appraise and provide feedback based on
19. 1. Knowledge
Recalling memorized information.
May involve remembering a wide range of material
from specific facts to complete theories, but all that
is required is the bringing to mind of the appropriate
Represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in
the cognitive domain.
Learning objectives at this level: know common
terms, know specific facts, know methods and
procedures, know basic concepts, know principles.
Question verbs: Define, list, state, identify, label,
name, who? when? where? what?
20. 2. Comprehension
The ability to grasp the meaning of material.
Translating material from one form to another (words to
numbers), interpreting material (explaining or
summarizing), estimating future trends (predicting
consequences or effects).
Goes one step beyond the simple remembering of
material, and represent the lowest level of understanding.
Learning objectives at this level: understand facts and
principles, interpret verbal material, interpret charts and
graphs, translate verbal material to mathematical
formulae, estimate the future consequences implied in
data, justify methods and procedures.
Question verbs: Explain, predict, interpret, infer,
summarize, convert, translate, give example, account for,
21. 3. Application
The ability to use learned material in new and concrete
Applying rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and
Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of
understanding than those under comprehension.
Learning objectives at this level: apply concepts and
principles to new situations, apply laws and theories to
practical situations, solve mathematical problems,
construct graphs and charts, demonstrate the correct
usage of a method or procedure.
Question verbs: How could x be used to y? How would you
show, make use of, modify, demonstrate, solve, or apply x
to conditions y?
22. 4. Analysis
The ability to break down material into its component parts.
Identifying parts, analysis of relationships between parts,
recognition of the organizational principles involved.
Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than
comprehension and application because they require an
understanding of both the content and the structural form of the
Learning objectives at this level: recognize unstated
assumptions, recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning,
distinguish between facts and inferences, evaluate the relevancy
of data, analyze the organizational structure of a work (art,
Question verbs: Differentiate, compare / contrast, distinguish x
from y, how does x affect or relate to y? why? how? What piece of
x is missing / needed?
23. 5. Synthesis
The ability to put parts together to form a new whole.
This may involve the production of a unique communication
(theme or speech), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a
set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information).
Learning outcomes in this area stress creative behaviors, with
major emphasis on the formulation of new patterns or structure.
Learning objectives at this level: write a well organized paper,
give a well organized speech, write a creative short story (or
poem or music), propose a plan for an experiment, integrate
learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem,
formulate a new scheme for classifying objects (or events, or
Question verbs: Design, construct, develop, formulate, imagine,
create, change, write a short story and label the following
24. 6. Evaluation
The ability to judge the value of material (statement, novel, poem,
research report) for a given purpose.
The judgments are to be based on definite criteria, which may be
internal (organization) or external (relevance to the purpose).
The student may determine the criteria or be given them.
Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy
because they contain elements of all the other categories, plus conscious
value judgments based on clearly defined criteria.
Learning objectives at this level: judge the logical consistency of written
material, judge the adequacy with which conclusions are supported by
data, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by the use of internal
criteria, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of external
standards of excellence.
Question verbs: Justify, appraise, evaluate, judge x according to given
criteria. Which option would be better/preferable to party y?
25. Alternative assessments are assessment
procedures that differ from the traditional
notions and practice of tests with respect to
format, performance, or implementation.
It is likely that alternative assessment found
its roots in writing assessment because of the
need to provide continuous assessment
rather than a single impromptu evaluation
(Alderson & Banerjee, 2001).
26. Traditional Assessment Alternative Assessment
One-shot tests Continuous, longitudinal assessment
Indirect tests Direct tests
Inauthentic tests Authentic assessment
Individual projects Group projects
No feedback to learners Feedback provided to learners
Speeded exams Power exams
Decontextualised test tasks Contextualised test tasks
Norm-referenced score reporting Criterion-referenced score reporting
Standardised tests Classroom-based tests
Source: Adapted from Bailey (1998:207 and Puhl, 1997: 5)
27. Traditional Assessment Alternative Assessment
Product of instruction Process of instruction
Teacher proof Teacher mediated
Source: Adapted from Bailey (1998:207 and Puhl, 1997: 5)
28. Characteristics of Alternative Assessment:
Ask the students to perform, create, produce, or
Tap higher-level thinking and problem-solving
Use tasks that represent meaningful
Invoke real-world applications.
People, not machines, do the scoring, using
Require new instructional and assessment roles
29. Tannenbaum (1996), comments that
alternative assessments focus on
documenting individual strengths and
development which would assist in the
teaching and learning process.
Alternative assessments are compatible with
the contemporary emphases on the process
as well as product of learning (Croker, 1999)
30. Alternative assessment tend to be
“descriptive and persuasive, rather than
research-based” (Alderson & Banerjee,
Alternative assessments are also said to be
limited to the classroom and has not become
part of mainstream assessment.
Brown and Hudson, in advocating alternative
assessment, seem to have taken a safer
approach by suggesting the term “alternatives
31. Test formats that are considered alternative assessment
Reading response logs
K-W-L (what I know/what I want to know/what I’ve
32. 4 elements of a portfolio (Bailey,1998, p: 218):
• Reflective Essay
• Score reports
• Personal items
Academic Works Section
• Samples of best work
• Samples of work
• Evaluation by peers
33. Advantages of Using Portfolio Assessment (Brown &
Hudson,1998, p: 664-665):
enhances student and teacher involvement in assessment
provides opportunities for teachers to observe students
using meaningful language
to accomplish various authentic tasks in a variety of
contexts and situations
permit the assessment of the multiple dimensions of
provide opportunities for both students and teachers to
work together and reflect on what it means to assess
students’ language growth
increase the variety of information collected on students
make teachers’ ways of assessing student work more
34. Both these forms of assessment are strongly
advocated by Puhl (1997) as she believes that
they are essential to continuous assessment,
a cornerstone to alternative assessment.
The benefits of self and peer assessment are
especially found in formative stages of
assessment in which the development of the
students’ abilities are emphasised.
Self appraisals are also thought to be quite
accurate and are said to increase student
35. Puhl (1997), describes a case study in which she
believes self-assessment forced the students to
reread and thereby make necessary editing and
corrections to their essays before they handed
Nevertheless, in order for self assessment to be
useful and not a futile exercise, the learners need
to be trained and initially guided in performing
their self assessment.
This training involves providing students with the
rationale for self assessment and how it is
intended to work and how it is capable of helping
36. In language teaching and learning, self assessment is
relevant in assessing all the language skills.
An example of the self assessment of the listening
skill, especially in the comprehension of questions
asked is suggested by Cohen (1994), as follows:
1. I don’t understand questions well at all
2. I have difficulty understanding most questions even
3. I have difficulty with some questions, but I generally
get the meaning
4. I can usually understand questions, but I might
occasionally ask for repetition
5. I can always understand the questions with no
difficulties and without having ask for repetition
37. These questions are useful in the formative
stages of assessment as it helps students
identify their own strengths and weaknesses
and respond accordingly.
Through asking these types of self
assessment questions, the students are
expected to become more sensitive to their
own learning and ultimately perform better in
the final summative evaluation at the end of
the instructional programme.
38. Peer assessment differs from self assessment in that
it involves the social and emotional dimensions to a
much greater extent.
Peer-assessment can be defined as a response in
some form to other learners’ work (Puhl, 1997).
It can be given by a group or an individual and it can
take “any of a variety of coding systems: the spoken
word, the written word, checklists, questionnaires,
nonverbal symbols, numbers along a scale, colours,
Peer assessment requires that a student take up the
role of “a critical friend” to another student in order
to “support, challenge, and extend each other’s
learning” (Brooks, 2002: 73).
39. Among the reported benefits of peer
assessment are as follows:
remind learners they are not working in
help create a community of learners
improve the product (“Two heads are better
improve the process; motivates, even inspires
help learners be reflective