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Part B

1.0 Introduction

This case study is to study about the critical issues and challenges in implementing School
Based Assessment (SBA) between developed and developing countries. For this study, the
researcher have chosen to select a developing country Malaysia; and a developed contry
Singapore. This two countries has been selected due to few factor of which the cultures and
norms in both countries are almost the same.
The then the deputy prime minister of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is also the Education
Minister said that The present evaluation is basically based on curriculum - achievements
we would like to see a more rounded sort of education achievements among our children. So
he make some radical changes that is from the exam oriented to school based assessment.
The above expression also indicates that there is a need to change the way we assess and
evaluate our teaching and learning process. This has led to the implementation of the schoolbased assessment which has been implemented since 17th December 2010. The idea of
implementing SBA in the attempt to replace the current public examinations has caused much
hue and cry in schools especially among the teachers. This is because teachers need to
prepare extra materials and documents of assessment in line with the intervention measures to
ensure individual students achieve the appropriate band. Hence, teachers feel overburdened
(NST, 2013). The number of students in a class also makes it difficult for teachers to be
sensitive or observant of individual students progress. In addition, teachers, students and
parents expectations on scores and performances pose another problem. They perceive the
number of As a student gets as an indicator of success. This is due to the exam-oriented
educational system in Malaysia. Despite these reported reasons, teachers have no choice but
to carry out the SBA. In line with that, this study aims to determine the challenges teachers
face in implementing the SBA in English Language Teaching.

While in Singapore, the government has starts to realise the important of the SBA in early
1990s. at that time, the national examinations in the Singapore education system were

traditionally based on one-off timed summative assessments which were set and assessed
externally by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and in collaboration with the University of
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The centrally coordinated and common
external examinations served to set uniform standards of achievement for all school leaving
pupils at the primary, secondary and pre-university levels (Tan et al., 2008). The assessment
was focused largely on academic domains defined by subject disciplines and the target of
assessment is the product of the students rather than the process that students go through in
producing the product. A key concern was that this type of assessment inevitably led to
undesirable backwash effects such as teaching to the examinations, with drilling and
cramming of compartmentalized knowledge into students. The one-off penand-paper
approach may not be adequate for assessing constructs that are best exemplified by tasks that
involve performance or producing a product over an extended period of time. With the thrusts
of increasing globalization and rapid technological advancements in the mid-1990s, there
were demands from businesses and industries for workers to possess certain competencies
such as information technology skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving and critical
thinking skills. The future needs of the employers called for curriculum and 1
35th IAEA Conference Assessment for a Creative World, September 2009 assessment
reviews to prepare students for a dynamic and fast changing world. It propelled a resurgence
of interest amongst the education communities on performance assessments which are
deemed to better serve the needs of the knowledge economy of the 21st century.

At the turn of the century, the Singapore education system was fundamentally reviewed and
many initiatives under the Thinking Schools, Learning Nation (TSLN) vision were
introduced to develop students creative thinking and learning skills for the future, to utilize
information technology more widely and to develop communication skills and habits of
independent learning. As Tan et al. (2008) puts it: To ensure that pupils are future-ready, it
was no longer sufficient for them to be armed with factual knowledge. The ability to apply
knowledge and to be creative and innovative became increasingly the more important facets
of education.

Along with curriculum reviews, changes were also made to assessment towards realizing the
TSLN vision. There was a conscious effort to achieve a better balance between assessing
recall of factual information and high order thinking skills such as application and evaluation.
An important development in the national examinations was the introduction of nontraditional modes of assessment. Recognizing the limitations of the traditional pen-and-paper
assessment, examinations in Singapore were broadened to include additional modes which
are more suited to the learning outcomes of various subjects.

The move towards authentic assessment also saw the inclusion of performance assessments
for coursework in subjects such as Design and Technology, Art and Computer Applications.
Assessment of the coursework components of these subjects is school-based and spread over
a period of time, as opposed to a one-off, time-based examination. As MOE gained more
confidence in coursework and school-based assessment, more innovations on a larger scale
were introduced.

2.0 Literature Review

School-based assessment is unlike traditional assessment of which the traditional assessment
is more on exam oriented. The differences between the traditional assessment and the schoolbased assessment must be addressed first of all while exploring the challenges teachers face
in implementing the SBA. Palomba and Banta (1999), assessment is the systematic
collection, review and use of information about educational programmes undertaken for the
purpose of improving learning and development.
Hence, school examinations and tests are the main assessment carried out traditionally to
evaluate students performance. The students performances are then typically reported as the
percentages of scores or letter grades (Brown, 2011). Malaysia was one of the countries
which followed this traditional assessment in evaluating students performance at primary and
secondary school level. Meanwhile, the SBA is an assessment which is rooted in the teaching
and learning process. It involves the teacher from the beginning to the end: from planning the
assessment programme, to identifying and/or developing appropriate assessment tasks right
through to making the assessment judgments. It is carried out in ordinary classrooms and
conducted by the students' own teacher. It also allows the teacher to give immediate and
constructive feedback to students. This assessment has been practised in numerous
educational systems internationally. Developed countries such as United Kingdom, Finland,
New Zealand, Canada, England and many other countries have implemented the SBA
successfully for a long time.
In the United States of America , the SBA has also been developed and implemented
although surpassed by national testing programs. Moreover, SBA has been largely adopted as
national educational policy in Asia and in some developing countries like Ghana and Zambia
(HKDSE, 2012). The positive significance of SBA in many countries has influenced
Malaysia too. Thus, the Malaysian Government introduced SBA or its Malay acronym PBS
(Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah) as part of the National Transformation Programme to
produce world-class human capital. Through this more holistic, integrated and balanced
assessment (Malaysian Education Ministry, 2012), the ministry aims to achieve the aspiration

of the National Philosophy of Education towards developing learners physical, emotional,

spiritual and intellectual abilities. It also aims to reduce exam-oriented learning among
learners, evaluate learners learning progress and enhance teachers integrity in assessing,
recording and reporting of learners learning (KPM , 2012). In an effort to produce excellent
human capital of the country, the Ministry of Education brought essential changes in the
education system. The changes are to be done by teachers who are the front-liners in the
implementation of the SBA (Ahmad 20 09). Thus, teachers positive attitudes and beliefs
towards the implementation of the SBA are indispensable in order to sustain the changes.
Meanwhile, teachers acceptance and willingness to carry out the changes are vital too in
achieving the aspirations of the SBA (Jaba, 2013). However, studies have shown that teachers
are unhappy with the implementation of the SBA. For instance, the study carried out by Fook
and Sidhu (2011) revealed that teachers worry about the validity and reliability of the
assessme nts constructed because of the cut and paste method.
3.0 The Study
As the aim of this study was to understand why teachers are unhappy with the mplementation
of SBA, this study employed a methodology that is qualitative in nature; seeking teachers
voices towards the implementation of SBA.



Example of excerpts from transcript


We rush to finish our syllabus and all of the related
teaching. It takes a lot of time to arrange for the

document for SBA for each students. Extra marking and

Time constraint and

filing are needed to be done

increased of

Im spending too much time to key in the students


marks or results
Its quite tough and time consuming to access each and


every one in a large size classroom up to 45 students

each class.
I spend a lot of time to do the assessment especially in a
class that more than forty or fifty students. They have to
repeat the task if answered wrongly. So, I have to

management large

reassess those students and at the same time have to

class size

manage the classroom. Additionally need to prepare

extra exercises for the rest during the individual
Its not easy to handle students with large classes.
Encouraging each student to get involved in the
assessment is challenging!
Students involvement bothers me. They are lazy and
always expect me to write the answers on the board
refuse to dot it by their own.
Lack of students involvement causes inaccuracy in the

Lack of Students
Inattentiveness of students is challenging. Students are


not answering the questions honestly. Most of their

answers are more likely the same. Its quite hard to
determine their progress.
SBA is not as effective as expected because students
always depend on teachers and other friends. They do
not take this SBA evaluation as serious as examination.
So, lack of attention has been paid by students during

the lessons.
There is no any clear instruction about the assessment.
We only received two courses so far.

Lack of training

Our lack of knowledge on such type of assessment is

being a major barrier for us to implement the new
The mixture levels of English proficiency among
students make me hard to move on to the next level.

Each class has different levels of students. Few students

perform well, few students perform moderately and few

Different level of

students really need remedial tasks. So, assessing all of

them in one attempt is quite challenging.
We do not have sufficient materials to implement the
SBA. The materials are also unsuitable to evaluate each

and every student.

The materials of assessment are not concurrent with the

Insufficient materials

existing text books. We start teaching the first chapter,

but ended up with different assessment.
The SBA website was in the midst of updating the

maintenance. So, we were having troubles to key in the

students results.
Teachers attitude towards the good students and poor

students is obvious. Sometimes I tend to ignore my poor

students due to the reason of they wont understand

SBA management


Table 1: The problem occurs in Malaysia when the SBA was implemented.

3.2 The discussion

That is the problem occurred when the SBA was implemented at Malaysia. This is due to the
fact that this policy was done in a hurry. Without thoroughly make proper schedule and
research in implementing this SBA, it has been a mess as when it was announce that at the
year 2010. Above are the findings that shows some of the problems that has occurred when
its starts to be implemented. While in Singapore, they do research on the SBA and comeout
with a best solution in the year 2003 that is Project Based assessment of which it gives the
best solution for students at Singapore. As they are the developed country , they need
somehow to produce their own mainpower that is skilful and have lots of qualities in order to
drives the country to greater height.

Based on the table, we can see this bulk of the respondents cited time-consuming and extra
workload as the most common problems that make them feel unhappy with the
implementation of the SBA. Teachers workload is usually heavy but the interview findings
revealed that the implementation of the SBA is overburdening and causing too much pressure
to the teachers. This finding is also supported by Yip and Cheung (2005). They reported
many teachers see the SBA as additional work imposed on them by the authorities. They also
claimed that the SBA is adding extra workload and pressure to teachers routine of packed
timetables. Generally, every day teachers will occupy their time in developing interesting
lesson plans and planning different teaching approaches in order to conduct a lively and
enthusiastic class. Besides focusing on their teaching preparation, they have to do various
work too such as keeping record book, marking, filing and participating in all school
activities. With the implementation of the SBA, many teachers believe that their workload
has increased. The findings revealed that the SBA needs extra marking, filing,
documentation, paperwork and reassessment. Extensive record keeping and monitoring of
individual learners in the new assessment increases teachers workload (Sishi and Poliah,
2006; Chisholm et al ., 2005). All the additional workload needs additional time to
accomplish them. Teachers evaluation on each band requires ample time.
Meanwhile in Singapore, there are less complained as it has been enough resources when it
was being implemented by the year 2003. The project work are unique as:
a) It is an interdisciplinary coursework subject.

There is dedicated curriculum time for students to carry out their project tasks over an
extended period. As a distinct interdisciplinary-based subject, it breaks away from the
compartmentalization of knowledge and skills to focusing on the interdisciplinary outcomes
by requiring students to draw knowledge and apply skills from across different subject areas.
b) It fosters collaborative learning through group work.
Together as a group which is randomly formed by the teacher, students brainstorm and
evaluate each others ideas, agree on the project that the group would undertake and decide
on how the work should be allocated amongst themselves.
c) It requires every student to make an oral presentation.
Individually and together as a group, each student will make an oral presentation of their
group project in the presence of an audience.
d) Both product and process are assessed.
There are three components for assessment: one product component is the Written Report
which shows evidence of the groups ability to generate, analyse and evaluate ideas for the
project. The other product component is Oral Presentation in which each individual group
member is assessed on his/her fluency and clarity of speech, awareness of audience as well as
response to questions. The group is also assessed in terms of the effectiveness of the overall
presentation. The third component is the Group Project File in which each individual group
member submits three documents related to snapshots of the processes involved in carrying
out the project. These documents show the individual students ability to generate, analyse
and evaluate (i) preliminary ideas for a project, (ii) a piece of research material gathered for
the chosen project and (iii) insights and reflections on the project.
e) Assessment is school-based and criterion-referenced.
The Project Work assessment tasks are centrally set by the Singapore Examinations and
Assessment Board (SEAB) and the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). However,
unlike most other subjects which are externally assessed, the assessment of all three
components of Project Work are carried out by the students own teachers, using a
generic set of assessment criteria developed jointly by SEAB and CIE.
f) Project Work is both formative and summative assessment

Project Work teachers provide both formative (ongoing) and summative (final) feedback to
students in order to help students develop the skills that they need to carry out their projects.
Providing qualitative and regular feedback is a pivotal part of the supervision process as the
teacher gives students information on their progress to date and advises them on whatactions
they need to take in order to move forward in their project. Summative feedback is an
important final element in the school-based assessment process of Project Work. For this
reason, the qualitative remarks made based on the given assessment criteria by the teacher
assessors of each component are captured in the Student Feedback Forms, which are then
disseminated to students following the release of results.

In Malaysia, how was it being done? The facts that there is no or less exam oriented. At the
end of each class, students will be given handout and to be completed by the end of the class.
This have to be marked and then putted into each of the students files. As a result, the
workload of the teachers increased. At the same time, the facilities and resources were
inadequate for the teachers to comply. This can be seen for each of the assessment, the
teacher will have to key in all the data into the School Based Portal of which it is unable to
support the number of the usage around Malaysia. In Singapore the facilities is at the top
level and most of the school based project were able to be assess without or at minimal
problem. Then the internet line at Singapore is on high speed internet.

Besides occupying their working hours fully, teachers still have to work on their extra heavy
workload after school hours. Assessment on each student in each classroom needs additional
time than the usual lesson hour. Reynek et al. (2010) also supported that learners are forced
by their teachers to complete the prescribed assessment tasks within certain time limits.
Hence, the tasks do not always flow naturally from teaching and learning. Another teething
problem among teachers in the implementation of the SBA is classroom management due to
the large class size. Generally, large class size causes many obstacles that hinder optimal
teaching and learning (Word, 1990). When a teacher has too many students in a class, it
becomes difficult for the teacher to get to know each students strengths and weaknesses.

Extra working hours is not a problem in Singapore as they had been able to create a good
research on each of the program they want to implement.
Teachers may also have no time to dedicate adequate knowledge by noticing each students
learning disabilities and special needs in the large class. Similar worries were shared by the
respondents of this study. They claimed that assessing each student in a large class size is
really challenging. In a developed country, most number of students in each class in between
15-25 students. But then, at a developing country like Malaysia, we can see the number of
student in each class can be totalling up to 50 students. This is double of the workload as
compared to the developed countries policy. Likewise Singapore have an adequate facilities
even though they are a small developed country. Once again the higher number of students in
each class mean more workload for the teacher who teaches at that school.

In Malaysia, the teacher stressed that they have to utilize a lot of time for the preparation and
evaluation. Kapambwe (2010) supported that marking and keeping records of the progress of
all learners is difficult. Harmer (2005) also agreed that large classes bring difficulties to both
teachers and students and the process of teaching and learning sessions. Moreover, the
respondents in the current study also insisted that it is hard to handle students in the large
classes. Kennedy and Kennedy (1996) also shared the same view. It is common to find
classes of forty and above in the secondary schools in Malaysia. The situation of the
classroom might be too noisy and poses practical difficulties in handling all the students in
the classroom. Thus, the respondents found that noisy and inconvenient environment as a
barrier for them to implement the SBA successfully. Another frequent complaint of the
respondents is students lack of involvement in the SBA and studies. They indicated that
students involvement in studies is becoming poor after the implementation of the SBA.
Previously, the students compete against one other and they performed well in order to get
many As in the examination. Now, there is no room for the competition. According to a
respondent, competition among students will result in great achievements In Singapore it is

A number of studies also show that competition in studies is good for students. For instance,
Lawrence (2004) found out in his study that competition encourages active learning and

increases motivation. Moreover, Fasli and Michalakopoulos (2005) also supported the above
statement. They revealed that a competitive element acts as an incentive for all students to put
in more effort and even weaker students persist with participating in the activity. The
respondents also claimed that students lack of involvement in the studies causes negative
attitudes towards studies such as students becoming lazier, dependent, inattentive and not
serious during the lessons in the classroom. Once a task has been assessed, proper feedback
needs to be given so that both teaching and learning can be enhanced (Black et al ., 2003;
Green, 2006). Therefore, the SBA needs more active learners to make it successful. The
successful implementation of an outcome-based approach to teaching, learning and
assessment involves active participation of learners (Botha, 2002; Spady, 2005).

While in Singapore, one underlying reason for the concerns over Project Work is the high
stakes nature and accountability purpose of the national examination which has resulted in
fierce competition amongst students and schools. The cultures of the Singapore society places
strong emphasis on academic excellence and parents want their children to achieve good
grades in the national examinations. Besides parental pressures, student achievement in
national examinations is still a key performance indicator for schools and teachers even
though public ranking of schools based on academic results is gone. There is therefore
immense accountability pressure on schools and students to produce excellence results.

The findings also revealed that students different background is one of the barriers hindering
the teachers to implement SBA successfully. This is because a classroom consists of students
who come from different educational and language proficiency background. According to
Roberts (2007), teachers must consider the varied proficiency levels of students in planning
instruction and assessment. As we have known, many students perform at the similar level;
however, there are always students who perform below average level and others who
perform above average level. Students levels of prociency cannot be completed without
rst addressing their abilities in each of the four language skills - reading, writing, speaking,
and listening. In Singapore, the background of student in the school is almost the same as
their background is in the urban area. Their main language is English . so it less problem
when implementing SBA as it is a way that the students can support themselves.

A teacher must be cognizant of each students strengths and weaknesses during instruction
and when assigning tasks. Lack of training for teachers is also another challenge in
implementing the SBA successfully. Most of the teachers have lack of training. The most is a
week training at the district level of which it is inadequate when we are implement this
policy. It is impossible to implement change in an education system effectively if serious
investments are not made in the professional development of eachers (Hargreaves, 2003;
OECD, 2005). Norzila (2013) also pointed out similar findings that lack of training is one of
the major issues in the implementation of the SBA. She supported that teachers skills have
been found to be inadequate especially in the aspect of developing various assessment
instruments other than written tests which they are used to. It is difficult to implement any
new curriculum successfully if teachers have not undergone thorough training (Todd &
Mason, 2005; Chisholm, 2000).
Another problem was concerning the lack of resources and supporting materials. As Norzila
(2013) stated, materials on SBA are found to be insufficient for the teachers to refer to
whenever they meet a problem or have uncertainties on how to implement the SBA
successfully. Kapambwe (2010) also supported the above comment. He indicated that the
difficulty with learning materials mainly affected the availability of appropriate teaching and
learning materials in the new curriculum. Lack of maintenance of SBA website is also one of
the challenges encountered by the teachers in the current study. One teacher (5.88%)
commented that the online system has become troublesome for teachers, forcing them to
occupy more time on paperwork, while reducing the time spent on class preparation and
teaching directly. Thus, it has affected the effectiveness of teaching.
Norzila (2013) mentioned that the management system of the SBA ( SPPBS - Sistem
Pengurusan Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah )in Malaysia which is supposed to be helpful to
teachers in reducing their workload has raised this machine-related issue. Thus, teachers have
a difficult time accessing the system due to slow connections and bottled up server and
The findings also found out a surprising challenge which is favouritism. Teachers favour
some students over others at school and especially in their classes. According to Aydogan
(2008), favouritism in the classroom is one of the most important reasons affecting teaching

and student success. This is not that a problem in Singapore as there are being quality
In brief, the respondents reported facing many challenges in implementing the SBA such as
time-constraint, increased workload, large class size, students lack of involvement, lack of
training, different levels of students, insufficient materials, problematic SBA management
system and favouritism.

4.0 Implications
Overall, the findings found out that although the motives of SBA are positively perceived by
the teachers, the implementation of the SBA in schools is still unfavourable because of the
numerous challenges in implementing the SBA. First of all, teachers should possess ample
knowledge on the SBA. They must receive sufficient training and courses to run the
assessment successfully. The education ministry and schools must ensure that all teachers
obtain adequate knowledge to carry out SBA. Teachers must exhibit high level of
professionalism in accomplishing their duties. Besides that, teachers negative perceptions
towards the SBA implementation should be diminished. Moreover, teachers should get
sufficient and suitable materials to carry out the SBA smoothly. The education ministry
should create a greater awareness among teachers about the positive impacts of the SBA.
Teachers, students, parents and public should know the current updates such as the SBA for
Lower Secondary ( PT3 ) replacing the Lower Secondary Assessment ( PMR ). Thus, the
students motivation towards studies will not be
lowered. Furthermore, there is a need for standardization of assessment among teachers and
schools. Teacher must have uniformity in terms of methods and materials in order to produce
standard achievement among students. In addition, favouritism and victimization of pupils
during instructional measurement, assessments and evaluations must be avoided. Finally,
there is a need for reliability at all times. Eventually, in order to perform the SBA
successfully, on-going trainings for teachers, standardization of the SBA materials and
methods of assessment, distribution of workload, adequate maintenance of the SBA
management system, awareness of currents updates and modification of the SBA
implementation, students active involvement and teachers positive attitudes towards the
SBA are essential.
4.1 Recommendations and Conclusions
On the grounds of construct validity, school-based coursework assessment can provide
students with a meaningful and authentic learning experience. School-based coursework
assessment, if carried out effectively, can support assessment for learning though some
degree of tradeoff between validity and reliability of assessment, and reconceptualisation of
reliability may have to be recognized. For school-based coursework assessment to be
introduced on a wider scale in Singapore, it has to be situated in national examinations as
assessment practices in the classrooms here are driven by high stakes examinations. The key

challenges to reckon with are the dual roles of the teacher as facilitator and assessor, mindset
of stakeholders and teachers assessment competency. Measures to deal with these challenges
include keeping formative and summative assessment separate in the examination of a
subject, improve communications with stakeholders about the rationale and value of schoolbased assessment and professional development to raise the assessment competency of

The introduction of school-based coursework assessment in high stakes national

examinations has been a valuable learning journey for Singapore. It is hoped that in the
longer term, with continuing professional discourse and training of teachers, and greater
appreciation of the merits and validity of school-based coursework assessment, Singapore can
evolve towards a more balanced assessment system.

This study explored the voices of teachers towards the implementation of the SBA. This
study also is limited in its scope as it to only have respondents from three secondary schools.
There is indeed room for further research by including a larger participant size from schools
in various states in the country. Although, examination plays a role in determining students
future, the School-Based Assessment is implemented to prevent students from becoming
examination machines. As each implementation receives positive and negative feedbacks, the
SBA has also been receiving numerous applauses and criticisms. The Governments aim is to
produce human capitals who acquire holistic knowledge. Therefore, the education system is
transformed in order to achieve this aim. Teachers play a vital role in ensuring the success of
implementing this new assessment. With adequate knowledge, and positive perceptions and
attitudes they will be able to face the challenges to carry out SBA successfully.

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