What it’s about: The self-assessment system is one in which students are assessed continuously rather than through set periodic “high stakes” examinations. The intent is to shift the focus to a more holistic education evaluation system and to create independent students with critical and analytical abilities, who are able to understand properly the subject matter of their studies rather than merely memorising them to regurgitate in examinations.
What it means:
Teachers must constantly monitor the performance of their students throughout the year. At the same time, students are able to show the full extent of their knowledge and abilities. They will also receive frequent and detailed feedback from their teachers.
School-based Assessment was introduced in primary schools for Year One pupils in 2011 and Form One students in secondary schools in 2012. Under the system, students are assessed on all subjects from time to time and are given grades from Band 1 (the ability to recall information) to Band 6 (the ability to have higher order thinking skills and knowledge).
Protests and response:
The fine-tuning of the system was carried out after grouses were voiced by teachers, who complained of the heavy workload that came with its implementation.
The changes took into account the Education Ministry’s latest findings, teachers’ grievances and public outcry, including that of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia.
Much of the protest against the system has been due to its system of implementation, which requires teachers to key in large amounts of data, also known as “evidence”, into a web-based system.
Many would have to burn the midnight oil just to key in data into an online system that was difficult to access.
The teachers felt that being bogged down with data-entry work meant having less time to focus on quality education.
More data being keyed into a system will also mean that the system must store a larger amount of data. This requires the system to be scaled up to meet these needs.Nationwide School-based Assessment briefings for primary and secondary schools, which started in February, were put on hold to avoid confusion over its implementation.
Announcement of improved version and feedback:
Then, in mid March, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that changes made to the system will see a reduction in workload for teachers.
Muhyiddin said through the revamped system, teachers will no longer have to key in data online and can keep the data offline, thus reducing their workload by up to 80 per cent.
“Teachers will not be required to submit data and information on the progress and achievements of their students online. Under the improved system, teachers will keep it “offline” and present the information upon request by parents.
NST Channels Learning-curve 06 April 2014