School Based Assessment (SBA) is introduced as part of the National Transformation Programme to produce world-class human capital. It is one of the measures taken by the Malaysian Education Ministry to enhance pupils’ mastery of learning through the national assessment system and it is in-line with the Educational Transformation Plan. It was introduced last year. Thus UPSR in 2016 and PMR 2014 will be revamped to accommodate the transformation. School Based assessment emphasizes ‘assessment for learning’ and ‘assessment of learning’ to ensure a more systematic mastery of knowledge.
Implementation of SBA
Teachers conduct formative assessment during the learning process and also summative assessment. However, this does not mean that teachers have to create test papers or handouts as instruments every time they wish to assess a pupil’s achievement. Teachers can carry out creative activities that are fun, to gather information about their pupils’ learning progress.
Homework, quizzes, question and answer sessions and even observations are all examples of activities which teachers could use as instruments to assess pupils’ development and growth. The difference now is that teachers have to record pupils’ learning progress systematically.
Students’ achievements are measured against a Performance Standard which is developed by the Examinations Syndicate and mapped from the standard curriculum. Performance Standard explains the performance or mastery of a pupil in a particular field he undertakes within a learning period based on an identified benchmark. Standard Referenced Assessment allows teachers as well as parents to find out and measure each pupil’s progress based on his performance measured against a set of performance indicators.
Thus, a student’s achievement is no longer measured by comparing his grades with those of his peers/classmates. In this case, a learner is supposed to only compete with himself, whereby, his achievement is no longer gauged by his position in class. Instead his achievement is ranked with reference to bands.
It should be remembered that SBA is not a new invention. Question and answer sessions, class tasks and homework are all tools of assessment that can be employed by teachers to gauge their learners’ understanding. Teaching and learning becomes meaningful when assessment is designed and conducted well.

Assessment FOR Learning

Assessment FOR learning is different from what historically has been referred to as formative assessment. If formative assessment is about more frequent, assessment FOR learning is about continuous. If formative assessment is about providing teachers with evidence, assessment FOR learning is about informing students about themselves. If formative assessment tells users who is and is not meeting state standards, assessment FOR learning tells them what progress each student is making toward meeting each standard while the learning is happening—when there’s still time to be helpful.

In the perfect assessment system, one would seek to balance these assessment purposes. The foundation would be a continuous array of assessments FOR learning used to help students learn more—to lead them up the scaffolding. In addition, periodic early warning formative assessments would help teachers see student progress in terms of standards mastered, revealing to them as to who needs additional help. And finally, once-a-year accountability tests (summative assessments) would serve to verify the ultimate level of student success.

Today SBA is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Therefore all teachers should possess a good understanding of SBA as a good knowledge of it would lead to the implementation of best practices at different stages in SBA. The main goal of classroom assessment is to obtain valid, reliable, and useful information concerning student achievement.

This requires determining what is to be measured and then defining it precisely so that tasks that require the intended knowledge, skills and understanding while minimizing the influence of irrelevant skills can be constructed. A good planning of the test makes expected learning outcomes explicit to students and parents and shows the types of performances that are valued.

Teachers should prepare a tentative list of instructionally relevant learning outcomes. Then, list beneath each general instructional objective a representative sample of specific learning outcomes that describe the terminal performance students are expected to demonstrate. It is advisable to begin each general objective with a verb (e.g., knows, applies, interprets, etc). Begin each specific learning outcome with an action verb that specifies observable performance (e.g., identifies, describes, explains, etc). Teachers should state instructional objectives in terms of learning process and review the list for completeness, appropriateness, soundness and feasibility. It is suggested that teachers should develop a table of specifications to identify both the content areas and the instructional objectives to be measured. The test and assessment specifications should be used as a guide.

Range of tasks:
In a large classroom, teachers can create or provide different tasks for different levels. For example, we might have two sets of comprehension questions for a text. Set A for all students and set B for stronger ones. Similarly we can give different students different homework.
Here are some samples of instruments/ tasks that teachers can set according to the band descriptors for–Band 3 (Form Two)

Performance Standard B3
Use knowledge acquired through listening, speaking, reading and writing
Descriptor B3 DL1
Giving compliments and responding appropriately.
Evidence B3 DL1 E1
Able to compliment someone and respond appropriately to the compliment

Sample Instrument/Task set:
Prepare (Prepare= action verb that specifies an observable performance) a short dialogue on how you would compliment someone in various situations. Teacher can provide situations such as: Your mother prepared a delicious dish. Compliment her/ Your friend wore a beautiful dress. Compliment her. Teacher prepares a dialogue box.

Performance Standard :B3
Use knowledge acquired through listening, speaking, reading and writing
Descriptor :B3 DL2
Listening to and understand messages and descriptions
Evidence B3 DL2 E1
Able to identify main ideas and supporting details.
B3 DL2 E1
Able to answer comprehension questions orally.

Sample Instruments/Tasks set:
Listen to an interview in a radio talk show. As you listen, write down the details to be passed to your friend who is interested to go to the concert. Identify important details such as the date of concert, the venue, the price of the ticket. Convey the message to your classmates. Teacher prepares a worksheet with a table to be filled by the students.

Performance Standard Use knowledge acquired through listening, speaking, reading and writing
Descriptor B3 DT1
Writing descriptions
Evidence Able to write a description on a topic of interest:
• using adjectives/adverbs
• in at least 3 paragraphs
• in about 120 words

Sample Instruments/Tasks set:
You have an interesting pastime. You collect first day cover albums- Describe about your hobby using the notes below)/ You and your family explored the “National Park” recently. Describe your holidays using the notes provided below. You may also add other relevant information using suitable adjectives. Your essay must not be less than 120 words and in at least 3 paragraphs. Teacher provides some notes for the writing task.