School-based assessment ditched at upper secondary level, says education group

The contentious school-based assessment (SBA) system is not being used at the Form Four level, according to an education group which questions the future of a critical part of Putrajaya’s efforts to reform schools.

The Education and Intellect Club (KIPM) said that if the SBA was not being implemented at the Form Four level it was unlikely to be done at the Form Five level next year since both school terms are linked by the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

This has raised the question, why then had Putrajaya poured money and time into implementing the system and in the process, clashing with teachers to the point that one of them, Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, was sacked because he publicly pointed to its weaknesses.

Nor Izzat, who now heads KIPM, claimed that the SBA, which was supposed to move away from exams in favour of daily assessments of student performance, is also not being used at the primary school level.

KIPM found this out from primary and secondary school teachers who are the club’s supporters, said Nor Izzat.

“All indications point to the fact that they are going back to the old SPM system. Principals also did not have any orders to implement the SBA.

“It’s the same curriculum as before but without the SBA. In primary schools they are also not using the SBA but they are integrating higher order thinking skills (KBAT) into lessons,” Nor Izzat told The Malaysian Insider.

Teachers were concerned he said, as to whether students who had gone through three years of the SBA, from Form One to Form Three, would be able to adapt to a system that emphasised on exams.

Under the SBA, students had very few exams and were tested each day by teachers to measure their level of competence in a given lesson for a subject.

Students were graded according to six bands from being able to understand the lesson (the lowest) to being able to guide others (the highest).

This is different from the traditional A,B,Cs which are typically found in an exam-oriented system.

It was first introduced for Standard One pupils in 2011 and Form One students in 2012. The Form One students were taught under the SBA till they entered Form Three where they sat for their first major exam the PT3 (Form Three Assessment).

The SBA had been touted as a better system as it nurtures more critical thinking and the application of school lessons in real life, as opposed to rote-memorisation and exam-taking skills.

Nor Izzat himself is a firm supporter of the system but is critical of how it was implemented without taking into account the reality of Malaysian schools.

The average Malaysian teacher has three classes of 40 students each, while for the SBA to really work such as in Finland, the teacher-student ratio has to be one teacher to a maximum of 15 students, Nor Izzat explained.

Teachers were also drowning in loads of paper work due to the daily assessments and were under tremendous strain to digitally key in their grades to a central network that was constantly jammed.

Nor Izzat said the ministry has still not fixed these problems which are the main reasons why schools are still struggling to implement the SBA properly.

“I support the SBA but the way they did it was wrong. You first have to have the ICT infrastructure, reduce teacher-student ratios and give teachers assistants to help with the paper work.”

School-based assessment ditched at upper secondary level, says education group
20 June 2015 – TMI


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