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  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Assessment is the act of judging or deciding the amount, value, quality, or importance of something, or the judgment or decision that is made. The teacher and language learner need to identify goals, objectives, and expected results before beginning to plan a lesson or activity. In other words, it is essential to determine what the learner should know, understand, and be able to do. Van den Akker (2003) described assessment as essential component of the curriculum practice. Assessment is a process for obtaining information in curriculum operation in order to make decisions about student learning, curriculum and programs, and on education policy matters. Because of this, educators strongly suggest that assessment and curriculum integrated in the continuous cycle of curriculum planning, operation, implementation, and evaluation. For example, the attained curriculum both the experienced and the learned are determined by assessment procedures. Assessment procedures in formative ways could also help in the operation of the curriculum. Instructors make a number of decisions. These include managing instruction, assessing student competence, placing students to levels of education programs, assigning grades to students, guiding and counselling, selecting students for education opportunities, certifying competence and so on. All these can be possible when there are effective assessment procedures in the curriculum operation and practice. The purpose of assessment differs according to who is conducting or using the assessment. School administrators use assessment as benchmarks for instruction, placement, or exemption in course levels and certification. Teachers use assessments as diagnostic tools and feedback for guiding instruction, evidence of progress, and evaluation of teaching or curriculum. The purpose of the math assessment is to help us and you determine your level of preparedness for mathematics and math-related courses at Stony Brook University. It is important that your score accurately reflect your level of preparedness and ability, because you will be most successful at the university if you take courses best suited to you. In order to enrol in a mathematics course, or a course with a mathematics prerequisite, all new students must demonstrate the appropriate level of mathematics proficiency. This is done by taking a proctored mathematics exam or its equivalent (appropriate transfer credit, AP
  3. 3. scores, etc.) New students must take the proctored exam prior to their scheduled orientation. According to Wilhelm and Chen Pei (2008), since the mid1970s, a number of Asian countries have been concerned with economic reforms which in turn have brought about various improvements in the education system. Malaysia is of no exception. A new assessment system for Malaysian public schools will be implemented by the end of 2010 to replace the current centralized examination. According to the Malaysian Ministry of Education, the new assessment system promotes a combination of centralized and school based assessment. Malaysian Teacher Education Division (TED) is entrusted by the Ministry of Education to formulate policies and guidelines to prepare teachers for the new implementation of assessment. As emphasized in the innovation of the student assessment, continuous school-based assessment is administered at all grades and at levels. Additionally, students sit for common public examinations at the end of each level. LEVEL OF ASSESSMENT The attainment of learning outcomes as defined in the standards shall be the basis for the quality assurance of learning using formative assessments. They shall also be the focus of the summative assessments and shall be the basis for grading at the end of instruction. These levels shall be the outcomes reflected in the class record and shall be given corresponding percentage weights. Clearly, there are fundamental differences in the information needed across these three levels of assessment and in the users and uses of this information. The following table sums up these differences:
  4. 4. The classroom level  This helps students understand how best to approach learning  Helps students better understand their own learning  Helps teachers keep track of what comes next in learning for each student  Helps teachers figure out how to enhance student learning  Provides teachers with information they can give to students about what their classroom learning  Helps teachers evaluate student learning progress The programme level  Provides educators and teams of educators with information that enables them to examine and evaluate their own effectiveness as educators  Provides educators and teams of educators with information about the relative effectiveness of a variety of programmatic and instructional interventions designed to help students meet learning targets and master content standards The institutional level  Provides state departments of education, superintendents, principals, parents, and community stakeholders with information that can be used to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of leadership, instructional policy, resource allocation, and many more.
  5. 5. TYPE OF ASSESSMENT FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Formative Assessment is part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. In this sense, formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student understanding at a point when timely adjustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve targeted standards-based learning goals within a set time frame. Although formative assessment strategies appear in a variety of formats, there are some distinct ways to distinguish them from summative assessments.( Garrison and Ehringhaus, 2009) In example, at the end of the third week of the semester, you can informally ask students questions which might be on a future exam to see if they truly understand the material. An exciting and efficient way to survey students’ grasp of knowledge is through the use of clickers. Clickers are interactive devices which can be used to assess students’ current knowledge on specific content. For example, after polling students you see that a large number of students did not correctly answer a question or seem confused about some particular content. At this point in the course you may need to go back and review that material or present it in such a way to make it more understandable to the students. This formative assessment has allowed you to “rethink” and then “re-deliver” that material to ensure students are on track. It is good practice to incorporate this type of assessment to “test” students’ knowledge before expecting all of them to do well on an examination.
  6. 6. SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT Summative Assessments are given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. Many associate summative assessments only with standardized tests such as state assessments, but they are also used at and are an important part of district and classroom programs. Summative assessment at the district and classroom level is an accountability measure that is generally used as part of the grading process. (Garrison and Ehringhaus, 2009) Summative assessment is more product-oriented and assesses the final product, whereas formative assessment focuses on the process toward completing the product. Once the project is completed, no further revisions can be made. If, however, students are allowed to make revisions, the assessment becomes formative, where students can take advantage of the opportunity to improve.
  8. 8. BENEFITS OF ASSESSMENT Assessment should be viewed as a tool to measure the effectiveness of teaching and learning process. It also should not be interpreted as the objective of student’s learning experiences (Yong & Lim, 2008). It should serve as a mean to attain educational goals. MOE Malaysia believes that school-based assessment (SBA) has the characteristics that fulfill the above requirement. It is also the ideal assessment system to relieve students’ pressure while at the same time allowing teacher initiative in assessing their students (Brown, 2001). Well-designed assessment can encourage active learning especially when the assessment delivery is innovative and engaging. Peer and self-assessment for instance can foster number of skills such as reflection, critical thinking and self-awareness as well as giving students insight into the assessment process. The benefits of SBA based on the researchers teaching experience is that students themselves are evaluated based on school standards and school information. Students are not compared to students in other locations when school-based evaluation is used. Though NEAS regulates that SBA encompasses only a percentage of the total evaluations used in school, the bigger picture impact is how SBA itself transforms the classroom teaching and learning process that benefits the students most. Because SBA is completely educator written and can create evaluations based on their own students’ accomplishments. It is clearly shows what have learned during a specific grading period or school year. It is unlike standardized tests, which are researched and written by the state or by teachers in another school. Another important benefit laid down by the Hong Kong SBA Consultancy Team (2005) for using SBA in teaching language subject such as English. It includes providing stable and continuous pressure-free assessment, reducing the reliance on standardized examination, improving test item reliability, reflecting students ability, promoting leisure reading, fostering teaching, enforcing independent learning, facilitating learning autonomy and empowering teachers in the evaluation process.
  9. 9. In the case of Malaysia, students are given mid-year and end-year statewide tests for easy standardizations and school ranking practices. These tests assume that all school study the same material covering similar topics. While this should be true, the fact is that some schools do not get to cover every topic due to unexpected situations or students’ inability to complete a study in a particular area. School-based evaluations can be tailor made to include only what has been accomplished by the students and the scores will reflect what the students have actually learned, instead of what they were supposed to be learning. All of the above suggest that the change in the assessment system has further lead to a paradigm change in the teaching and learning process of all primary schools that deserve the attention of academicians, educators and researchers including stakeholders. Therefore, the role of teachers in this new assessment system is vital. Teachers have to have a variety of teaching approaches and assessment techniques that have a direct impact on the assessment outcomes (Chan, Sidhu & Yunus, 2006). CONCLUSION In conclusion, this report has achieved its purposed that describing about the nature and purpose of assessment. Assessments have two types of assessment which are formative assessment (assessment for learning) and summative assessment (assessment of learning). This is also tells about the benefits of assessment. The benefit is assessment should serve as a mean to attain educational goals. Other than that, students are not compared to students in other locations when school-based evaluation is used. Lastly, it includes providing stable and continuous pressure-free assessment.
  10. 10. REFERENCES  Cheung, D. (2001). School-based assessment in public examinations: Identifying the concerns of teachers. In Education Journal, Vol 29 (2). Winter 2001. P. 105-123.  Gavin T. L. Brown & John Hattie. The Benefits of Regular Standardized Assessment in Childhood Education. Retrieved December 1 2014, from the World Wide Web: ts_of_regular_standardized_a ssessment_in_childhood_education_Guiding_improved_instruction_and_lear ning  Hattie, J. A. and Brown, G. T. L. (2008). Technology or school-based assessment and assessment or learning: development principles rom New Zealand. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 36 (2),189–201  Catherine Garrison, D. C. (2009). Formative and Summative Assessments in the classroom. In D. C. Catherine Garrison, Effective Classroom Assessment: Linking Assessment with Instruction (pp. 1 - 3). New Hampshire: National Middle School Association and Measured Progress.  Center, F. D. (n.d.). Formative and Summative Assessment. Retrieved december 2, 2014, from azwestern: ces/downloads/formative%20and_summative_assessment.pdf  Chappuis, J. (2014). Formative Assessment and assessment for learning. In J. Chappuis, Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning (pp. 2 - 14). United Kingdom: Pearson Education, Limited.  Brookhart, S.M. (2001). Successful students’ formative and summative use of assessment information. Assessment in education 8,153-169