School-based assessment: prospects and realities in Asian contexts

School-based assessment: prospects and realities in Asian contexts

School-based assessment (SBA) and the prospects and realities in Asian contexts was the subject of a Cambridge Horizons seminar held in Malaysia on 3 June 2013.

SBA is a particularly hot topic in Asia, with a cultural inheritance which places great importance on examinations and pressure on teachers and students to get good outcomes.

Around 150 education experts from across Asia attended the seminar, which was opened by Ybhg Tan Sri Abd Ghafar bin Mahmud, Director General at Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. The seminar delegates – policy-makers, academics, assessment professionals and school leaders – brought a wide range of experience and perspectives. 

Commenting on the seminar, Ramya Vivekandan Rodrigues who works in UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education as a programme specialist, said: “We are very interested to learn how different countries in Asia Pacific address the issue of school-based assessment.

“Today’s seminar had a really interesting format. Cambridge brought a couple of experts from two very different contexts, sharing the experiences of school-based assessment in Hong Kong and Queensland in Australia.

“Hosting this seminar in Malaysia made it also very interesting as the Ministry of Education here has been undertaking a major reform around school-based assessment. Having the benefits of participants from other countries in the region also enriches the discussion.”

Keynote speeches were made by Professor Kerry Kennedy, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Human Development at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and Professor Val Klenowski, from the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Professor Kennedy’s presentation 'High Stakes School-Based Assessment and Cultural Values: Beyond Issues of Validity' explored current thinking about school-based assessment, its various purposes, and highlighted the experience of Hong Kong in using SBA in its Diploma. He concluded that to succeed, SBA had to “win the hearts and minds of students, teachers and the community”.

After the keynote speeches, Hajah Norzila Mohd Yusof from Malaysia’s Ministry of Education shared with the audience developments in the use of school-based assessment in Malaysia.

Click here to see photos of the event.

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