Teachers urged to try formative assessment

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds


TEACHERS should try to incorporate formative assessment strategies into their teachings as it can help draw out the full potential of their students.

Katok Secondary School Teacher Lim Ai Giok said this during the Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) 18th International Conference on Education 2015 yesterday.

Lim said more students prefer formative assessment but teachers still prefer summative assessment when it comes to the classroom settings.

Formative assessment monitors student learning to provide feedback that can help improve teaching and learning while summative assessment hopes to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit through midterm examinations, final year projects and the likes.

“Formative assessment is designed in such a way that it helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work. It also helps the teacher recognise where students are struggling,” said Lim.

A case study was carried out on Year 10 science students of a co-educational secondary school from the Brunei-Muara District as part of the Master of Education programme Lim was undertaking.

Three pure science teachers were also observed during their lessons with the students to identify both parties’ perceptions on formative assessment.

Lim found that 56 per cent of the 110 students surveyed preferred formative types of assessment over the summative form.

“Students find summative assessments to be stressful as they hate tests and examinations,” she said.

From the findings collected, the students prefer project based assignments in which they are allowed to discuss with other classmates so they can help remember and understand better,” she said, noting that students tend to learn better and faster when having fun.

Lim added that all three teachers would give short praises such as ‘very good’ but failed to provide additional comments or effective feedback.

“Comments on written work tend to be short with comments like ‘keep it up’ and ‘try harder’ instead of letting the students know how to improve on their work,” she said.

She went on to say that despite workshops and courses being conducted among teachers, some still prefer summative forms of assessment because it is easier to analyse.

Concluding her presentation yesterday, Lim urged teachers to further understand the purpose of formative assessment and productive feedback and to develop skills on how to conduct effective formative assessment that is essential for promoting students’ learning.

“Even a thumbs up or thumbs down indication is a form of formative assessment that can help encourage a student,” said the teacher.

The Brunei Times