English language assessment in Malaysia: Teachers’ practices in test preparation
In the context of English language teaching, many studies that claimed to investigate teachers’ assessment practices were actually exploring their perceptions and belief with little reference to what they were practising in schools. The need to address such a limitation has prompted this study to examine the current formal assessment practices of English language teachers in lower secondary schools. Specifically, this paper reports how the teachers prepare the formal assessments. Extensive structured interviews were conducted with 72 teachers from 24 schools in Kuching division, Sarawak. Relevant documents such as test papers and assessment guidelines were also collected for further analysis. The findings from this study revealed that a majority of the teachers conducted formal assessments mainly due to the requirements of the school and ministry while following pre-determined steps in preparing a test. Furthermore, the findings also revealed teachers’ reliance on commercial reference books in constructing exam questions and sample answers. The outcome of the study provides an insight on the nature of English language teachers’ assessment practices in relation to the classroom teaching and learning at the secondary level.This could help inform the Ministry of Education in providing necessary support for the teachers particularly assessment practices in ESL context as well as in formulating a better assessment policy for schools.
Airasian, P. W. (2005). Classroom assessment: Concepts and applications (5th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Bailey, K. M. (2004). Learning about language assessment: Dilemmas, decisions and directions. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5(1), 7-68.
Cheng, L., Rogers, T., & Hu, H. (2004). ESL/EFL instructors' classroom assessment practices: Purposes, methods, and procedures. Language Testing, 21(3), 360-389.
Cizek, G., & Fitzgerald, S. (1996). Teachers' assessment practices: Preparation, isolation, and the kitchen sink. Educational Assessment, 3(2), 159-179.
Cumming, A. (2001). ESL/EFL instructors' practices for writing assessment: Specific purposes or general purposes? Language Testing, 18, 207-24.
Guskey, R. T., & Bailey, M. J. (2001) Developing grading and reporting systems for student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., and Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York, NY: David McKay Co.
Khemlani-David, M. (1992). Lessons learnt from vetting English examination papers. The English Teacher, 21. Retrieved from: http://www.melta.org.my/ ET/1992/main10.html
Leung, C. Y., & Andrews, S. (2012). The mediating role of textbooks in high-stakes assessment reform. ELT Journal, 66(3), 356-365.
Lee, J. W. (2009). How do teachers assess students in their English language classrooms? The Journal of Studies in Language, 25(1), 141-162.
Malone, M. E. (2013). The essentials of assessment literacy: Contrasts between testers and users. Language Testing, 30(3), 329-344.
Mertler, C. (2005). Secondary teachers' assessment literacy: Does classroom experience make a difference?. American Secondary Education, 33(2), 76-92.
Poskitt, J., & Mitchell, K. (2012). New Zealand teachers' overall teacher judgements (OTJs): Equivocal or unequivocal?. Assessment Matters, 4, 53-75.
Rea-Dickins, P. (2004). Understanding teachers as agents of assessment. Language Testing, 21(3), 249-258.
Smith, R. (2001). Formative evaluation and the scholarship of teaching and learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 88, 51-62.
Vengadasamy, R. (2002). Responding to student writing: Motivate, not criticise. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, 2(1), 191-219.
Yueming, J., Eslami, Z. R., & Burlbaw, L. M. (2006). ESL teachers' perceptions and factors influencing their use of classroom-based reading assessment. Bilingual Research Journal, 30(2), 407-430.
Copyright Transfer Statement for Journal
1) In signing this statement, the author(s) grant UNIMAS Publisher an exclusive license to publish their original research papers. The author(s) also grant UNIMAS Publisher permission to reproduce, recreate, translate, extract or summarize, and to distribute and display in any forms, formats, and media. The author(s) can reuse their papers in their future printed work without first requiring permission from UNIMAS Publisher, provided that the author(s) acknowledge and reference publication in the Journal.
2) For open access articles, the author(s) agree that their articles published under UNIMAS Publisher are distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, for non-commercial purposes, provided the original work of the author(s) is properly cited.
3) For subscription articles, the author(s) agree that UNIMAS Publisher holds copyright, or an exclusive license to publish. Readers or users may view, download, print, and copy the content, for academic purposes, subject to the following conditions of use: (a) any reuse of materials is subject to permission from UNIMAS Publisher; (b) archived materials may only be used for academic research; (c) archived materials may not be used for commercial purposes, which include but not limited to monetary compensation by means of sale, resale, license, transfer of copyright, loan, etc.; and (d) archived materials may not be re-published in any part, either in print or online.
4) The author(s) is/are responsible to ensure his or her or their submitted work is original and does not infringe any existing copyright, trademark, patent, statutory right, or propriety right of others. Corresponding author(s) has (have) obtained permission from all co-authors prior to submission to the journal. Upon submission of the manuscript, the author(s) agree that no similar work has been or will be submitted or published elsewhere in any language. If submitted manuscript includes materials from others, the authors have obtained the permission from the copyright owners.
5) In signing this statement, the author(s) declare(s) that the researches in which they have conducted are in compliance with the current laws of the respective country and UNIMAS Journal Publication Ethics Policy. Any experimentation or research involving human or the use of animal samples must obtain approval from Human or Animal Ethics Committee in their respective institutions. The author(s) agree and understand that UNIMAS Publisher is not responsible for any compensational claims or failure caused by the author(s) in fulfilling the above-mentioned requirements. The author(s) must accept the responsibility for releasing their materials upon request by Chief Editor or UNIMAS Publisher.
6) The author(s) should have participated sufficiently in the work and ensured the appropriateness of the content of the article. The author(s) should also agree that he or she has no commercial attachments (e.g. patent or license arrangement, equity interest, consultancies, etc.) that might pose any conflict of interest with the submitted manuscript. The author(s) also agree to make any relevant materials and data available upon request by the editor or UNIMAS Publisher.