Assessment as Learning (AaL)
Finally, let us consider assessment as learning. AaL is part of assessment for learning and both approaches are formative. From teachers’ feedback to the students, they (the students) become more responsible for their learning. The students must, however, be guided by teachers. According to Berry (2008), AaL leaves the onus for learning on students and “encourages and demands deep learning on the part of the students” (Berry, 2008, p. 34).
Berry (2008) highlights the fact that “students are their own assessors and they personally monitor and critically review what they are learning. With this monitoring and critical review, they make adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes to what they understand” (Berry, 2008, p. 34).
The definition of the word ‘assessment’ may have shifted from that of cooperation to competition. There is a need to revisit the original meaning of the word and devise assessment tasks that would promote student learning. The Latin word ‘assidere’ was all about assessment for learning where there was a good sense of students working together and sharing their ideas. Teachers would sit beside students and give one to one assistance where necessary. This is assessment for learning at its best where learning is improved.
In this approach the focus is on the process of learning and teachers’ role in the classroom become very significant in ensuring that learning takes place. Assessment for Learning (AfL) should be continuous and formative.
The Wikipedia puts an explanation of Standard based assessment this way.
"In an educational setting, standards-based assessment is assessment that relies on the evaluation of student understanding with respect to agreed-upon standards, also known as "outcomes". The standards set the criteria for the successful demonstration of the understanding of a concept or skill".
Standard based Assessment consist of three components.
1. Assessment of Learning (AoL)
Berry (2008, p. 32) points out that “assessment of learning is mostly used for making summative judgment of students’ performances.” In addition, the author stresses that AoL is used to compare student’s performance against goals and standards or each other (Berry, 2008). In other words, AoL takes place at the end of the course and is mainly concentrating on the product of learning.
In PNG context, the national examinations in grades 8, 10 and 12 are classical examples of AoL.
The results of the examinations are used to select students to the next level of education based on their performances. The grade 8 students receive Basic Education Certificate, grade 10 students receive Lower Secondary School Certificate and grade 12 students receive Upper Secondary School Certificate. The certificates are awarded to students to confirm that they have completed the nationally prescribed subjects in the appropriate grades. In other words the national examinations in PNG have two main functions: for certification and for selection to the next level of education
Many schools and education systems still place significant priority on measuring learning outcomes with scores, grades and marks. But this focus and emphasis often misses a bigger picture, and doesn’t take into account the process of learning. Assessment for Learning (i.e. formative, classroom, school-based assessments) focuses on information and feedback for the students to help progress and reach their learning goals, rather than evaluating student achievement. In addition, it allows teachers to use this information to improve the quality and effectiveness of their teaching. According to Stewart Monckton, Research Fellow at the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), ‘the key aspect of AfL is that it places meaningful and timely assessment and feedback at the heart of everyday classroom teaching.’ Doug McCurry, Senior Research Fellow at ACER concurs, ‘I know of no other approach to teaching and learning that offers such potential improvements in learning.’
Papua New Guinea is doing away with the Outcome Based Education (OBE) and now implementing the Standard Based Education (SBC).
Structure of School System
The Government has embarked on free and compulsory education
in 2015 and the level of resources will need to complement the school
structure to enhance the standards of education and to keep the
children in school. The Standard Based Education structure is called 2-6-6- Structure as outlined below.
Below is the list of Resources recommended for Standard Based Education (SBC) for Elementary in Papua New Guinea.
1. English Syllabus
2. Language Syllabus
3. Mathematics Syllabus
4. Culture & Community Syllabus
5. English Teachers Guide scripted lessons for Elementary Prep.
6. English Teacher Guide scripted lessons for Elementary 1
7. English Teacher Guide Scripted lessons for Elementary 2
8. Language Teacher Guide for Elementary Prep
9. Language Teacher Guide for Elementary 1
10. Language Teacher Guide for Elementary 2
11. Mathematics Teacher Guide Scripted Lessons for Elementary Prep
12. Mathematics Teacher Guide Scripted Lessons for Elementary 1
13. Mathematics Teacher Guide Scripted Lessons for Elementary 2
14. Culture & Community Teacher Guide for Elementary Prep
15. Culture & Community Teacher Guide for Elementary 1
16. Culture & Community Teacher Guide for Elementary 2
17. Shell Book Grade 1- Animal Stories 1
18. Shell Book Grade 1 – Animal Stories 2
19. Shell Book Grade 1 – Animals Stories 3
20. Shell Book Grade 1 – Animals Stories 4
21. Shell Book Grade 1 – English only: Animals Stories 1
22. Shell Book Grade 1 – Nature Stories
23. Shell Book Grade 1 – English only: Animals Stories 2
24. Shell Book Grade 1 – English only: Animals Stories 3
25. Shell Book Grade 1 – English only: Stories
26. Shell Book Grade 2 – Animals Stories
27. Shell Book Grade 2 – Nature Stories
28. Shell Book Grade 2 – Stories from PNG
29. Shell Book Grade 2 – Stories from PNG 2
30. Shell Book Grade 2 – Traditional Stories
31. Creative Phonics Trainers Manual
32. Creative Phonics Teachers Manual
33. English Syllabus and Teacher Guide In-Service Training Manual
34. Mathematics syllabus and Teacher Guide In-Service Training Manual
35. Culture & Community Syllabus and Teacher Guide Training Manual
36. Language Syllabus and Teacher Guide Training Manual
The Department of Education (DOE) is now embarking on improving the standards of education from 2015 onwards. This means that standards in the school curriculum, teacher preparation and professional development,
examinations, inspections, school governance and restructuring of the school system and structures are
some of the many components of education which will be improved by a Standards-Based Curriculum
(SBC). The department will be outlining here SBC issues and developments twice a week to make the public and teachers aware of the changes. Various means will be used to improve the awareness of the SBC to be implemented in 2015, including
• Minister for Education and
Secretary for Education
speeches and presentations;
• DOE officers giving presentations to schools and
• Presentation of SBCdocuments
to schools and other
• In-service training of all
elementary and junior primary
school teachers (Grades 3 and 4)
To improve education standards, the department of education is introducing a standard based curriculum in schools from 2015.
This is the third in a series of media releases to raise awareness of the curriculum changes it explains.
- The introduction of English as a compulsory subject in elementary schools.
- The use of phonics to teach English
- the differences between new and old curricular
English in Elementary Schools
Almost all of our children are learning English as a second language, so English syllabus will build from the language they speak at home, children need to develop knowledge of English at an early age as English is the medium of instruction in the education system in PNG.
English has been the medium of instruction for many years but the fluency of most teachers is not good enough and the often use Tok Pisin and local languages to explain English words or statements. The department of Education is encouraging elementary teachers to upgrade their teaching qualifications to a diploma level so that they can use English to the expected standards.
The result of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) in Papua New Guinea showed that children are not learning basic reading and writing skills. EGRA recommended the use of scripted lessons the teaching of phonics and greater student access to reading materials.
Scripted lessons are lessons that are written out for teachers to use on each day of the school year. The lessons are in numbered steps and for each step the teachers are given the information they need and some activities such as songs, games, and stories. Teachers can build the lessons using their own skills and creativity. The daily scripted activity will improve the standard of English teaching and reduce teachers planning workload.
English will now be taught as a subject in the elementary classes (EP, EP1 and EP2) in schools starting in 2015. This is a government directive through the task force report and the intention is to raise standards in literacy. It is important for students to learn English as a subject with Phonograms (sounds), syllables, vowels, nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, and formation of letter shapes, use of punctuations and writing sentences and stories creatively.
The aims of the Elementary Syllabus are to:
- Introduce English as a subject
- Use English as a medium of instruction
- Prepare children for learning in English at primary school
- Build on the language and literacy skills learnt in the language syllabus
- Enable children to communicate in basic English in the classroom
- Teach children to read, understand and write in simple English sentences
- Encourage enjoyment of and interest in learning English
The new syllabus uses phonics to teach English. Phonics is one of the important skills children need to learn to read and write. Children are taught to sounds and make sounds. They learn that words can be broken down into sounds and that those words can be written to read and build words.
Some common words cannot be broken down. To be able to read simple sentences, children need to be able to some of the words by sight such as the “I”, “you” and “go”. These are called sight words.
Phonics allows children purposely to master reading skills at an early age, by developing sound awareness, word identification, fluency and vocabulary and text comprehension.
Research has revealed that children who used phonics early were not only able to speak, read and write efficiently in English they also performed academically well in most if not all of their subjects right from the beginning.
Phonics also helps teachers. English is a complicated language. It has 26 letters and 42 sounds (phonemes) and over 120 different ways to write those sounds (graphemes). For example, /f/ can be written as f, ff, ph and gh, as in ‘fish’, coffee ‘Phillip’ and rough.
Songs and stories with Phonics
Each elementary school week will have a theme accompanied by three songs supplied. The songs are on a micro-SD card that teachers can play on mobile phones or boom boxes. The ‘songs’ words and related activities will be written out in the lessons. It may be too soon for the children to sing alone, but letting them listen to sounds in English is important. Sound stories let the children become familiar with English sounds as they read them. They contain the songs learnt in that week.
Teaching sounds in Phonics
To teach the sounds in words, teachers will add ‘sound dots’ under sounds of words that they can write down for children to copy. For example ‘cat’ will have three sound dots: c.a.t. ‘Fish’ will also have three dots, because the ‘sh’ is one sound: f-i-sh. The children will learn to blend the sounds together into a word as the teacher says the sound and the words.
With a few more sounds, children will be able to read and write simple phrases like “ the cat and the dog sat on the mat”. Besides the words they will sound out, the children will also learn common sight words. Real stories will then be introduced.
Difference between the old and new elementary curricula
Under the previous curriculum, three subjects – language, cultural mathematics and culture and community – were taught in elementary schools. English was taught as part of language. It will know be taught as a separate subject and there will know be 4 subjects.
- Culture and Community
Due to the increase from three subjects to four and the raise standards in literacy and numeracy elementary classes will finish their daily lessons at 2pm instead of 12pm.
THE Department of Education will introduce the new Standards-Based Education (SBE) curriculum in 2015 replacing the much-criticised Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), Education Minister Nick Kuman says.
In his official report to Parliament, Kuman said in preparation for the SBE, the department would conduct awareness and provide in-service training to all teachers at the elementary and lower primary levels from Grades 3-5.
Kuman said the officers from the Curriculum Development Division had been working tirelessly over the last six months to develop the SBE curriculum.
He said in 2011 the National Executive Council had directed the department to review the OBE and a task force took to the task immediately.
One of the main causes of the OBE being a failure was due to the concept was conceived by outside experiences and was difficult to use and manage the system at the national and sub national level, Kuman said.
In addition there were inadequate planning and resources to support the full implementation of OBE. The majority of the teachers did not fully understand the conceptual framework of OBE.
To address the situation, the government, Education Department and the stakeholders will now work together to ensure that mistakes of the past are not repeated when implementing the new curriculum, he said.
“The government needs to continue to invest heavily over the coming years to ensure that the curriculum is fully developed with appropriate teaching materials, teacher training and sufficient amount of awareness are raised with all stakeholders,” he said.
Kuman said the education system of PNG was comprised of about 13,000 institutions enrolling 1.9 million students with 48 teachers in the basic and post-basic education.
He said the growth and participation in all levels of the education sector had been remarkable since 2000. The gender equity in access to education had been achieved since 2007 and there was an emerging evident of improvement in the gender parity.
The national government has been able to use recent economic growth to increase investment in education.
Although improvements can be seen in the system, a further increase in investment will be required to achieve education development goals.
Beginning in 2012, the Peter O’Neill-led government’s tuition fee free (TFF) policy has provided education access to all children in PNG and there has been a 40 % growth enrolment since 2012, Kuman said.
i. Clarity of focus through learning statements (content standard and bench marks)
Everything teachers plan for teaching and assessing should be clearly focused on what students should be able to know and do. These expectations are expressed in the content standards, students’ performance standards and bench marks.
ii. High expectations of all students
The principle of high expectation is about insisting that work be at a very high standard before it is accepted as completed and achieved. Opportunities should be provided for students to work towards reaching the set standards.
iii. Equal opportunities for all students
In a standards based curriculum, the national content standards are designed for all students throughout the country regardless of the context. These standards are clearly outlined in the syllabus. It is up to individual schools, classes and teachers to plan how these standards can be achieved. A national assessment and monitoring tool will be used to assess, monitor and evaluate the success of the students’ attainment or achievements for the set national and content standards.
iii. Expanded opportunities to learn
The SBC will target the empowerment of rural, urban, average and intellectual population. It allows flexibility to accommodate both able and disadvantaged to discover their potential in order to pursue their interest through the learning standards set in the curriculum. It establishes clarity about the standards we expect our young people to achieve so that they can compete confidently with the best of their peers globally. Learning is progressive.