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English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820


There have been complaints about the education system in Malaysia being overly exam-oriented that it has forced many students into rote learning and memorizing just to score. This is said to have greatly reduced students creativity and ability to understand and analyze things (Darshan and Ong, 2003). One of the ways to lessen the formal examination emphasis is the introduction of school-based oral assessment for all levels of secondary and primary schools. This was announced by the then Director-General of Education, Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat, after the closing ceremony of the National Assessment Seminar, organised by the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate, held in May 2003. Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat said that the decision was part of the Education Ministrys initiative to make the education system less examoriented by focusing on school-based assessments (Gomez, 2003). The Director-General of Education, Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat, when announcing the decision to move towards school-based oral assessment, stressed that teachers will have to give more specific feedback regarding each students ability. In this way students will know how to improve. The ministry felt that this approach would improve teaching and learning tremendously (Gomez, 2003).

This paper is part of a report after an extensive survey done nationwide. This paper will only focus on the four research questions as given below. It focused on the ESL teachers opinions, their problems and their needs in regard to the implementation of school-based assessment of Oral English Test.

This paper will discuss the findings on the following research questions:

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

1. What are the education officers and specialists views about the implementation of School-Based Assessment of ESL in Malaysian Secondary Schools? 2. What are the ESL teachers opinions about the implementation of School-Based Oral English Test? 3. What are the problems that the ESL teachers face in the implementation of School-Based Oral English Test? 4. What do the ESL teachers need to solve the problems that they face in the implementation of School-Based Oral English Test?

This research provides beneficial information for the researcher(s) to start another research on the implementation of school-based assessment program into the Malaysian School Curriculum. TESL lecturers gain invaluable insights regarding the implementation of school-based assessments in Malaysian Secondary Schools. Furthermore, school-based assessment is relatively new in the Malaysian Education System. There is an inclination towards full implementation of school -based assessment. Thus, the teachers need further training to gain exposure about school-based assessment. The findings from this research provide information about ESL teachers opinions about the current school-based assessment of Oral English. The findings also reveal the problems they faced. This information helps policy-makers in education to plan for school-based assessment of ESL in Malaysian Secondary Schools.

This research employed a survey method using questionnaires and unstructured interviews. A questionnaire was sent to ESL teachers in all secondary schools throughout the country to answer research questions one, two, three and four as stated above. A total of one thousand one hundred

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

and seventy ESL teachers from all over the country, excluding the Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan (no permission letter was obtained from Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan to conduct this research) responded to the questionnaire. The interviews were conducted with one university lecturer and two education officers from the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate to provide a background scenario and find out the purpose for the implementation of school based assessment system in Malaysian schools.

1. A set of questionnaires was distributed to ESL teachers from all national type secondary schools throughout the country except Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan. 2. Two interview sessions were conducted with one university lecturer and two education officers from the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate. 3. The data collected from the questionnaire were analysed through the SPSS program. 4. The data collected from the interviews were analysed manually. 5. Writing a descriptive report of the research findings.

A descriptive analysis of the data is prepared for this research report. The questionnaire was analysed for its frequencies through the SPSS programmed. The interviews were analysed manually for its descriptions.
RESULTS Interview

To answer research question one (What are the education officers and specialists views about the implementation of school-based assessment of ESL in Malaysian secondary

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

schools?) one university lecturer and two education officers from the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate were interviewed. The university lecturers Associate Professor Dr. Bhasah bin Abu Bakar, who specialises in testing and evaluation, had worked with the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate before he joined the university as a lecturer. He was attached to the Test Development Unit at the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate, and was one of the research group members who went to Queensland, Australia to study the school-based assessment practice in the country. The two education officers were Dr. Wan Ilias bin Wan Salleh and Encik Mohmmad Najib bin Mohd Ali. According to Dr. Bhasah, School-Based Assessment has existed for the past twenty years. For example, as in the subject known as Kemahiran Hidup (Living Skills); one component of the examination is the project work. The project is assessed by the school teachers. Therefore, this is a school-based assessment. Other subjects are also tested in similar ways whereby there is one component assessed by the class teachers themselves. The other subjects are Geography, History and Science for the PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah) examination. Here, the students are required either to carry out a project or make portfolios. As for the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) examination, there are certain subjects, each of which has a school-based assessment component. In Bahasa Malaysia and the English Language papers, the oral assessment is school-based. In the Science subjects; Physics, Chemistry, Biology, there is a component known as PEKA where students carry out practical work and project work. There has been some controversy about course work. What is actually meant by coursework? Some say it is task oriented. The Ministry of Education provides the questions or tasks to be carried out by students. The particular task is undertaken by students under close supervision of the teachers. In the United States of America, the scenario is slightly different. The tasks and the questions are set by the teachers themselves. The task is based on the curriculum. The

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

curriculum given is rather sketchy based on themes. The teachers may use different approaches and it is up to the teachers to decide. In Malaysia, we have to follow one book which is called Buku Panduan Guru (Teachers Handbook). In the United Kingdom, project work is mainly assigned for technical subjects. According to the education officers from the Malaysian Examination Syndicate, they were in the process of doing a road map at the moment. Some groups are in Sarawak discussing the matter. The Malaysian Examinations Syndicate is trying to introduce GAT (General Ability Test). This is still under discussion. The GAT is going to be introduced to instill creative and critical thinking amongst students. Students apply their knowledge to answer the questions. A school-based assessment which is going to be known as National Assessment Examination is being planned. School-based assessment takes only twenty percent of the total marks thus far. Only twenty percent from the total marks allocated for school-based assessment and even then the question of reliability arises. The question of reliability arises due to the fact that all schools want a high achievement level and it is found that some teachers may have been very lenient in awarding marks. The History project supervision in one of the schools in East Malaysia revealed that all the assignments submitted by the students were similar and almost everyone was given grade A. In the beginning of the implementation there was a monitoring process but due to the large number of schools, the Malaysian Examination Syndicate has to concentrate on other areas. The Malaysian Examination Syndicate has suggested that schools carry out their own monitoring system. It seems that this has not been successful because there is no allocation to pay for the teachers expenses. At the moment, there are R.O.s (Resident Officers) elected by the district office to monitor at district level. The purpose of the school-based assessment is mainly to train students in certain skills, such as reporting, investigating and so on. The Malaysian Examinations Syndicate has

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

conducted three workshops regarding assessment at national level. Parents, teachers, NGOs and members from professional bodies were invited to respond to the survey. Most of them suggested at least forty percent for school-based assessment and up to sixty percent for centralized examination. The workshops also revealed that the participants do not want standardized examinations such as the UPSR (Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah) and PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah) to be abolished. These workshops were under the name of Aspirasi Pentaksiran Kebangsaan (National Assessment Aspiration). These workshops were held in 2006. As for the definition of school-based assessment, Encik Najib says that it has to have a certain standard of reliability. The students perform the actual task. For example; they sing a song or present a speech during school functions. These performances and presentations are assessed. Everyone carries out the same task and there is a standard scale to rate as in the ones we have at the moment. Our intention now is to create a standard scale to rate communication skill. A student in Form 5 may have communication skills at level 4, whereas a student in Form 4 may have communication skills at level 5. Therefore, we need a test description. In terms of high validity, the reliability has to be increased by multiple testing. Parents and students should know the standard level required. Students should be told before given the task. The students then can set the learning band. Then, we measure growth. Lets say a child from band D can work towards band C. In this case, we need to have a readiness test to determine the students level. In Victoria, Australia, thirty percent of the total marks come from school-based assessment. Queensland, Australia takes one hundred percent from school-based assessment. Each school has its own set task. The central body will monitor these tasks. If the school is near the mining area, the curriculum will be based more on mining, the schools near the sea or reef will focus on fisheries and so on. There will always be one standard paper called the Core Skill Test. For university entrance, marks from the Core Skill Test and the school based assessment are taken.

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

Here, in Malaysia, there is a problem of awareness acceptance. Teachers do not know the purpose of school based assessment. They feel that it is an additional burden to their workload. To overcome this problem, the Malaysian Examination Syndicate is trying to provide exposure to teachers. In Australia, there is one manual for teachers to use the internet. Teachers send items and students can download via the internet. The Malaysian Examinations Syndicate is also trying to have an identification and management system whereby teachers can collaborate with each other to build items. In Melbourne, The Teachers Association has a multiplier effect. In Malaysia, it has been difficult to reach all teachers. Therefore we could not achieve this kind of multiplier effect.
SURVEY Research Question Two

To answer research question two (What are ESL teachers opinions about the implementation of School-Based Oral English Test?), the respondents (teachers) responses to question numbers 28 to 46 and 48 in the questionnaire (see appendix) were analysed. The total number of valid respondents for questions 28- 32 is one thousand one hundred and sixty five. The analysis is shown in Table One. For question 28, as the figures in Table One shows, teachers revealed that seventy two percent of the students actually read aloud instead of performing normal speaking activities. About sixty eight point two percent of the students memorize the scripts for the School-Based Oral English Test with understanding as shown by the responses for question 29. In the School-Based Oral English Test, students need to do simulations and role-plays. The students need to be familiar with the characters that they act out to be able to perform well. It is discovered that only about sixty six percent of the students are actually familiar with the characters whose role they are trying to portray. This is known according to the responses for question number 30. For question 31, a total

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

of one thousand one hundred and thirty of one thousand one hundred and fifty one (ninety eight point two percent) respondents test their own classes as shown in Table One.
Table 1 Question 28 to 32 in the Questionnaire ESL Teachers Opinions about School-Based Oral English Test
Question No. & Descriptions 28) Do your students read aloud instead of speaking? 29) Do your students memorize the scripts for the School-Based Oral English Test with understanding? 30) Are your students familiar with the character they have to act out in the School-Based Oral English Test? 31) Do you test your own class? Yes 842 798 772 % 72.0 68.2 66.0 No 323 367 393 21 % 27.6 31.4 33.6 1.8

1130 98.2

The analysis for question 33 is shown in Table 2. The total number of respondents for question 33 is one thousand one hundred and forty three. When students do not perform well in the oral test, seventy five point nine percent teachers or eight hundred and eighty eight teachers out of a total of one thousand one hundred and forty three respondents said that they would allow the students to be re-assessed. Only seventy three respondents which make only six point four percent of the total number would fail these students who do not perform well. That leaves about fifteen point six percent respondents who would pass such students with a minimal mark.
Table 2 Question 33 in the Questionnaire
What do you do when students do not perform well? Responses Fail them Pass them with a minimal mark Allow them to be re-assessed Frequency 73 182 888 Percent 6.4 15.6 75.9

The analysis for questions 34 and 35 is shown in Table 3. For question 34, when asked if they strictly follow the specified models for assessment, it can be seen that about 50% said

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

yes and the other half said no. For question 35, eighty three point six percent of the teachers usually simplify the questions for their students leaving about fifteen point six percent who do not simplify them.
Table 3 Questions 34 & 35 in the Questionnaire
Question No. & Descriptions 34) Do you strictly follow the specified models for assessment? 35) Do you simplify the questions? Yes 581 978 % 49.7 83.6 No 584 182 % 49.9 15.6

For question 36, when asked to give reasons if they had responded yes to question 35 (if they simplify the questions) the main reason given by the teachers is that The questions are simplified to help weak students to understand and speak. This is to encourage students to speak and to boost their confidence. For question 37 (How do you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge before conducting the test?) the responses show that teachers usually equip themselves by attending the briefing conducted by the Panel Head on how the test should be carried out, gathering information from the English Panel or even from other school English teachers and by reading, analyzing and recording suitable articles or text for the students. For question 38, when asked if the respondents are satisfied with the items related in the scoring band, seventy six percent are satisfied whilst twenty three point two percent are not. For question 39, there are almost an equal number of respondents who feel that the time allocated to conduct the School-Based Oral test is suitable and otherwise. Fifty four point five percent felt that it is suitable whilst the rest which forms almost the other half of the respondents (forty five percent) felt that the time allocated is not suitable. For Question 40, as to the preparation of questions for the oral tests sixty one point eight percent extract from books, magazines or newspapers and thirty four percent create the questions by themselves. For question 41, about forty one point seven percent respondents still continue to conduct the

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

oral test after they have keyed in the marks for the schoolbased oral assessment whilst fifty seven point nine percent do not. For Question 42, sixty three point six percent of the respondents preferred the previous standardized oral assessment as compared to the current practice or format. Only thirty five percent showed preference to the present day practice. For question 43, the respondents who preferred standardized oral assessment were required to give reasons for their choice. Here are some of the common reasons amongst the teachers: i. The students are not very serious in the present oral test as they know that they can repeat whereas for the standardized one, its only once in a lifetime chance, so they have to strive hard to do well. This method is fairer and more accurate. The present school-based Oral English Test encourages rotelearning only. The score is more reliable and valid because it is tested by teacher from other school. The standardized version is more objective. Students understanding is evaluated and students do not memorize blindly. The present format takes a lot of time and truancy is one factor that delays the process of assessment, especially for the weak students who absent themselves from school knowing that their turns for assessment are not on the particular days. Since teachers have re-assessment the good students who are not satisfied with their marks seek for re-assessment and this takes up much of the teachers time. The validity of SBOA can be questioned. Some teachers just key in the marks without actually conducting the assessment

ii. iii. iv. v.


For Question 44, a total of one thousand one hundred and sixty three of one thousand one hundred and seventy respondents responded to the question. Seventy four point

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

three percent did not agree to the statement School-based oral assessment should be continued. This shows that they prefer not to continue with the school-based assessment. For Question 45, the analysis is shown in Table 4. Most of the respondents that comprise of fifty nine point five percent preferred only thirty percent school-based with a seventy percent standardized exam combination. Fifteen point seven percent think that a fifty percent school-based with a fifty percent standardized exam combination would be good. Only a minority, think that a hundred percent of the examination should be standardized exam. The total number of respondents was one thousand one hundred and fifty six.
Table 4 Question 45 in the Questionnaire
Weightage 30% School-Based 70% Standardised Exam 50% School-Based 50% Standardised Exam 100% School-Based 100% Standardised Exam 70% School-Based 30% Standardised Exam Frequency 696 184 34 176 66 Percent 59.5 15.7 2.9 15 5.6

For Question 46, when asked if the School-Based Oral English assessment mechanisms are sufficient to monitor and understand the students rate of progress, about sixty point three percent of the respondents said yes. Respondents responses to question 48 in the questionnaire also answer Research Question 1. The common responses when asked, What is your opinion about the present SchoolBased Oral English Test? are as follows: i. Needs to be improved and is a burden to teachers. Teachers should be given incentives to conduct the oral test. ii. Again it burdens the teachers with paper works and framed them in inflexible and insufficient time

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

iii. iv.

v. vi.

to complete the test. It is unreasonable and add to problems associated with students who are problematic in managing task. It is a waste of time. You cannot fail anyone, so no matter how bad they are, they still pass! It is very beneficial to the candidates as they are given ample time to prepare, are assessed by examiners they are familiar with and are allowed to be reassessed if both parties are not satisfied with their scores Present SBOA should be abolished. Replace it with the standardized Oral English test There is no proper monitoring system that ensures students are actually tested and given the chance to perform

Research Question Three To answer Research Question 3 (What are the problems that ESL teachers face in the implementation of SchoolBased Oral English Test?) questions 22, 23 and 47 from the questionnaire are analysed. It is clear that teachers are not too concerned if parents complain about the assessment activities. Seventy five percent (eight hundred and seventy seven out of one thousand one hundred and sixty nine respondents) said no to the question Are you concerned that parents might complain about the assessment activities that you do? For question 23, (If your answer to the above question is yes please specify) the main responses are as follows: i. Not all parents are not exposed to this type of assessment ii. Parents might not be able to understand how marks are being awarded iii. Some parents have very high expectations toward their childrens achievement, but in reality the students are not able to achieve up to the standard that they want


English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

Table 5 Question 22 in the Questionnaire

Question No. & Descriptions Yes % 25.0 No 877 % 75.0

Are you concerned that parents might complain about 292 the assessment activities that you do?

For Question 47, (My problems in carrying out School-Based Oral English Test is/are), Table 6 shows the analyses. The total number of respondents is one thousand one hundred and sixty four for Question 47, seventy three percent felt that one of the problems is that the number of students in each class is too large. Sixty one point six percent felt that that the time allocated to carry out the assessments is insufficient; however, the time allocated to key in the marks did not pose a problem. The majority, that is, about seventy five point two percent did not think it was a problem to key in the marks within the specified time. The scoring is also not a problem for the majority of the respondents.
Table 6 Question 47 in the Questionnaire
Question No. & Descriptions a) Number of students in one class is too large b) Time allocated to complete the assessment c) To key in the marks in the specified time d) No scoring method given Yes 854 721 284 124 % 73 61.6 24.3 10.6 No 310 443 880 % 26.0 37.9 75.2

1040 88.9

Research Question Four To answer Research Question 4 (What do ESL teachers need to solve the problems that they face in the implementation of School-Based Oral English Test?) questions 20, 21, 49 and 52 from the questionnaire are analyzed. For Question 20 (You need training on) Table 7 shows the analysis. Eighty eight point five percent do not need any training when it comes to keying in the marks. However, many of them needed training on how to give adequate guidance to students. About sixty four point three percent needed guidance in this area. Another fourteen respondents out one thousand one hundred and sixty nine respondents had other needs such as:

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How to teach low motivated students and really poor/ weak students ii. How to be creative and innovative in the learning and teaching process
Table 7 Question 20 in the Questionnaire
Question No. & Descriptions a) how to key in the marks b) how to give adequate guidance to students c) how to award marks d) how to set questions Yes 134 752 415 504 % 11.5 64.3 35.5 43.1 No 417 754 665 % 35.6 64.4 56.8

1035 88.5

For Question 21, (You need assistance in) Table 8 shows the analyses. Seventy point eight percent needed guidance on designing sample assessment questions and answers for their students. A few (fourteen) respondents said that they required assistance in the area of designing remedial activities for weak students, keeping up with different levels of competency in class, implementing the test in the class with the limited time to complete the main task and they wanted to know the current marking scheme for SPM and to know if their marking standard is quite similar to the SPM markers marking.
Table 8 Question 21 in the Questionnaire
Question No. & Descriptions Yes % 70.8 22.7 No 341 903 % 29.1 77.2

a) Designing sample assessment questions and an828 swers for their students. b) Implementing the test in the class 266

For Question 49 (What are your needs in regard to the conduct of School-Based Oral English Test?) respondents responses that give an overview about their main needs as shown in Table 9.


English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

Table 9 Question 49 in the Questionnaire

Descriptions Allocation of time. More time is needed to conduct the test Standardization. Standardized materials and specific scoring system Conducted by an outsider. Materials. Materials for students and teachers Simplified evaluation form Frequency 16 11 4 6 2 Percent 19.5 13.4 4.8 7.3 2.4

For Question 52 (What other matters or problems pertaining to School-Based Assessment in English Language that you would like to tell us?) 1109 of 1170 respondents responded. Salient responses were tabulated and similar responses were grouped together. The analysis is shown as in Table 10.
Table 10 Question 52 in the Questionnaire
No. Descriptions 1 2 Formative and diagnostic tests should be enough in School-Based Assessment in English Language in a students life. The others are unnecessary. The assessment of our students proficiency in English should not be based entirely on School Based Assessment but certain percentage must come from Standardized Examination (like before) to bring more credibility to the test itself On one hand, giving students free reign to choose their topic or material for assessment may motivate them, on the other hand, assessment may not be objective -Time constraint Incorporation of the assessment in lessons cause problems in finishing the syllabus on time Some teachers are bias and carry out assessment for the sake of the exam. Some grade them (students) without assessing There is not extra allowance to the teachers. There should be. The students not interested in this kind of assessment and sometimes they would not entering the class or school to avoid this thing Some administrations (my previous principal) think that it is a waste of time and teachers are blamed for not giving much writing exercises in class (because of the assessment) The questions must be standardized so that the results are authentic

4 5 6 7 8

9 90

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10 11 13

Teacher have to chase after the students who always absent, or if present never been prepared for the test and keep on postponing Most are copied from existing workbooks and most teachers are untrained in question designing- need for constructive workshops My feelings are that it is an assessment not taken very seriously and teachers panic when the area supervisor calls the school and informs when he/she will be visiting. Only then, the files appear etc. Please, please have the old system. It was a system of QUALITY -Teachers who are of questionable proficiency -Discrepancy of marks awarded for a rural vs urban students. Interference from JPN, KPM When assessing students, do not simply pass them if they do not deserve to pass even after being given many attempts! Should be done at least once or twice a year not three or four times It is not an exam subject paper hence students pay less attention Oral lessons are actually incorporated in our daily lessons so why we still need to conduct oral evaluation separately A student who speaks only a yes or no can also pass SBOA as there should be no failures! What an irony. Bring back the traditional method of oral testing, i.e. The interviews style Poor quality control on each school use different set of assessment Create more CD/VCD that can create the students interest Sometime the teacher do not have the time to conduct Teachers have to do other clerical work and when it come to English Teacher, the number of periods they have to teach are maximize (25 periods per week) No problem! To me it is a good way to see the students progression. Good students will try to improve and compete with others to get high marks. Students-They are either stubborn and lazy or just plain ignorant. They know what is expected of them but they just couldnt care less whether the ULBS is on or not. Most are copied from existing workbooks and most teachers come untrained in questions designing-need for constructive workshops. My feelings are that it is an assessment not taken very seriously and teachers panic when the area supervisor calls the school and inform when he/she will be visiting. Only then, the files appear etc. Please have the old system. It was a system of quality. Definitely, this is an externally heavy burden for teachers. By looking at the files of forms we have to fill up, teachers are going to endure quite a tough time. Appear from that, students disciplinary problems is another setback for the implementation of ULBS.

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

25 26

27 28



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30 31 32 33 34

The head of the English panel is the chief internal assessor and in day schools his/ her teaching load is equivalent to any other teacher in the panel. Not transparent. Some teachers dont conduct it seriously or dont even conduct it at all. School-based Assessment is not practical. Besides, there is no transparency. Some teachers dont carry it out seriously. The assumption is that all candidates have reached a certain level of proficiency and the scoring band does not allow this weakness to be indicated. Marks given are out of pity for students, bending the rules to cater for students would not teach students to be a responsible person. Add the assessments as 10% of the overall 100% mark for English subject. Even the hardcore students would turn up for SPM? PMR because it is formal. Then students would take the PIBG/ULBS more seriously. We should go back to the previous standard Oral English Test Teachers are told to ensure all students speak and improve themselves every time SBOA is done. This is impossible to be done in such a time constrain. The students are merely memorizing their scripts. To appoint district examiner (teachers from other school) to give briefing so that students understand its importance, take it seriously and be more prepared. 1) 2) 3) 4) Probability of copying/ cheating/ getting family members to do the work. These way not be uniformity in scoring- some teachers are more lenient than others. How would you compare a students performance in one school/ state with another? National averages?

35 36 37 38



I strongly believe that students should be responsible of their own learning and that it must come from within. They must be aware of the importance of the subject as a whole not merely to pass a writing examination. Therefore, schoolbased assessment would keep them on track if it is implemented accordingly. The MUET speaking test is a good example of an oral test. It can be used for SPM too if the tasks given are simplified to suit students of Form 5 level. The level of assessment may differ from one school to another. Reduce the amount of paper work involved for teachers concerned. The School-based assessment should not be conducted by the students own English teachers. Rural students do not serious and they dont see the reason to focus the language attitude problem. Bias grading by teachers who are not concern with their students performance but only think of the school performance (Exam oriented thinking)

41 42 43

44 45


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The present school-based oral test takes up too much time. It affects our lessons. Theres the possibility that some teachers mark too leniently. Theres the compassion factor and thus the test is not valid. Employ more foreign teachers whose 1st language is English. Please give/send us (school) the feedback of your findings. Thank you. It should be abolished. Big difference in mark given by different teachers. It all depends on the background of the school population; for example, if they are strongly influenced by mother tongue and their parents are indifferent about the importance of English language. Hopefully after the survey, the School Based Assessment is revised and better materials are produced to anger authenticity all the test. 1. 2. Nobody in school including teachers take it seriously. When in rush everything is done without proper method, just doing it to key in the marks. Less accountability many teachers also cheat to up lift their school grades, which is not fair.

47 48 49 50

51 52


School should have a moderator (chief) to assist the teachers throughout the assessment. The moderator and subject teachers to paid incentive/allowance for the assessment I suggest that you give if a try in a school and get first-hand knowledge. I feel that different schools and teachers will have different problems. One of my problems is to get the students esp. the weak ones to even give it a try. We are not equipped with specific guidebook as reference. 1. 2. 3. 1) SBAE is not included (printed) in the SPM certificate. Our system of Education is very exam- oriented. Teachers are already over- burden with a whole lot of other work. The curriculum is over- congested and ridiculous to cover in such a short period of academic year.


55 56

57 58

The objectives, concepts of school-based assessment are not clear. Whatever message an ideas given will always end up in a basket. So why bother giving ideas. The ministry has their own ideas on doing things. We teachers will always end up implementation the unending programs. I hope your finding is a success. Thanks. Candidates are just regurgitating what they have memorized. So there are no grammatical slips. Minimize the amount of administrative work (paper work) such as keying is the marks and typing of the certification. Since remote rural school like ours have difficulty in expressing more about what they (students) know, the marking scheme should be modified to suit the students needs. The assessment is too subjective and can be influenced by the students attitude. 93

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The assessment is usually unauthentic students usually are not able to see the value of them doing the assessment, as they are not able to relate the tasks given to the real world application. Be updated with the latest format. Weak or lazy students refuse to write even a single word. Paradigm shift among the administration & parents is general. Not only focused on end result only. More perspective and alternative assessment activities. - Different approach materials required in order facing different level of students. (Mixed ability) - Due to time constraint, teachers sometimes feel being burdened. TQ. Different teachers award marks to students differently. Some teachers tend to be too lenient. Sometimes the weaker students get better grades than the good ones. The standardised oral English test should be carried out. The constant changing of methods of carrying out the test. First it was to be done formally. Then we were asked to carry out the ULBS informally, through the students participation in the classroom. When this method does not seem to be feasible, some teachers resort back to the standardized oral English test where everything is very clear out. It is undoubtedly a good effort. It is just we would feel that it is a bit taxing because we are pressed for time to concentrate on oral assessment but at the same time we need to help students to improve their reading and writing skills. The bigger chunk of the assessment is on the reading and writing skill. Perhaps we should revert to the previous method of oral assessment. Well we need more English teachers who can actually speak in English If the score is added to the SPM English 1119 than there might be case of teachers according marks to students who dont deserve it, as to increase the pointing rate of the school or incompetent / English Teachers who herely do not know how to award marks accordingly. There might be case of marks just the given withough actually carrying out the Oral Test. No problem, the system is good enough for Malaysian students. I want to learn how to appreciate something given to me, rather than complaining about it. It depends on the teachers; if they work hard enough they can succeed. Time constraints. For students who always participate in class, theyre will be no such problem in having marks, however for those who does not show any participation in activities conducted by teacher in class (weak students) it is hard to give them marks. - This type of assessment requires a lot of time and management skill especially when it is carried out in the average and weaker classes. - Generally most Malaysian students rarely speak in English. So it is very difficult for them to express their opinions or conserve in this language. Too many repetitive models.






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English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820


Students in rural area especially my school is 100% Malays and the medium of language is BM. The students just refuse to understand and use the English language other than during Engliah lesson despite efforts for activities and projects. To them English still cakap orang putih. How can we break this barrier. Different teachers have different evaluation, so the result will not standardised and there will be teachers who just take it for granted; They will fill up all necessary forms without doing serious evaluation just to finish their works. In my school, it does not happen, hopefully but the assessment is open to Fraud. Teachers can just put marks right? Sometimes they are not to be blamed. Why? Its not their job to hunt students who play truant, or show their faces only when the exam comes. The assessment of our students proficiency in English should not be based entirely on school. Based Assessment but certain percentage must come from Standardized Examination (like before) to bring more credibility to the test itself. The test can be made better if the relevant people modify and make it more meaningful for the students. My suggestion is make it more like MUET where the students can express without memorisation - Language in context is always more meaningful and vibrant. In rural areas, English is hardly used outside the school, so it is really difficult to ask students to speak in English Some students refuse to even take the test. During the previous test, students would be attentive and prepared to face the test. The scoring method is in doubt. Since the same teacher is teaching and assessing his or her own student favouritism is unavoidable. Please formulate a special module for weak students especially in rural school. Sometimes, I feel lost while assessing Orang Asli students who are very poor in English language. The standard of obtaining a 1A and 2A should be raised at the SPM 1119. Every TKM, Dick and Harry seem to get on 1A but not competent at all. We realize this fact when they came to tower 6 with 1A ULBS (SBAEL) should be carried out in a more formal way-specify time, place and instrument. To ensure that this test is carried out effectively it would be good if paper work can be reduced. Alternatively, the no. of assessment be reduce so that more attention (quality control) can be given to students My English is weak but I have to take the obligation to teach English. Certificates are given separately- it shows that the SBOA does not given any effect to 1119paper in SPM. Therefore, many students do not bother about SBOA. Teachers have to hunt for them, to be evaluated





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English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

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The programs need to key in the marks keep charging every year. Teachers have problem adjusting to the changing format of the mark sheet and certificate The old system of assessment was more effective. May involve movement of teachers. Students tend to read and memorized. Mother tongue interruption, fail to response correctly due to their poor understanding of the language Open to abuse. Teachers evaluation can be subjective as their standard of what acceptable vary. Although there is a scoring criteria, score differ greatly sometimes The school teachers have to print the oral certificate respectively. Is it possible for the oral marks to be printed in the SPM certificate Approaches/ activities that are stimulating, vibrant, interactive and authentic and provide real life experience should be used to enhance students spoken productions

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The School-Based Oral English Assessment (SBOEA) has been introduced in Malaysian secondary schools. However, the results of this research show that, ESL teachers were not happy with the implementation of SBOEA in their schools. The ESL teachers, who responded to the questionnaire in this research, voiced out so many problems that they had to face in regard to the implementation of SBOEA. The teachers had also voiced out complaints about time constraint, lack of training, lack of English teachers, too many classes to teach, too many students to handle, lack of materials, interference from the administrators, no proper ways to conduct the assessment, no cooperation from students, teachers and administrators, etc. It looks as though the teachers were taking advantage of this survey to pour out their feelings and dissatisfactions. There were also respondents who requested that some changes are made after the conduct of this research. Most of the needs that they wrote in the questionnaire were the basic ones like more ESL teachers are needed in schools, more training should be given to teachers, less clerical work for teachers, less teaching periods, smaller classes, etc.

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

There were some valuable and constructive needs voiced out, such as educating parents and students about school-based assessment (SBA), printing out the marks for SBA in the SPM certificates, having record books for SBA, training the school clerks to key-in the marks, etc. Some of the needs that the respondents voiced out that they do not understand about school-based assessment. For example they voiced out that assessment should not be incorporated into the teaching and learning process. This shows that they did not understand the objectives of SBA. Thus these ESL teachers should be given an exposure to SBA so that they know that teaching, learning and assessment are the core business of school-based assessment. Furthermore, these three aspects should be closely linked in classroom activities so that teachers can measure the backwash effect of assessment. ESL teachers should know that assessment does not only involve testing but also teaching, learning, testing, assessing students work, giving feedback and getting students responses. Apart from the example above, the respondents also voiced out that they wanted standardised materials to test students in school-based assessment. This also shows that they did not understand the objective of school-based assessment. In school-based assessment teachers should prepare their own materials to test their students. They should devise materials that are suitable for their students level of proficiency. Thus different schools may have different materials for testing. However it is not wrong for schools to cooperate with each other to come out with the same materials. Nonetheless they should make sure that the materials are suitable for their students. Otherwise they could not check on the backwash effect of their testing. There were a few respondents who wrote down their drastic needs. They want a change in the education system. These teachers may have encountered too many problems associated with the implementation of SBOEA. Thus a drastic change is needed. The Ministry of Education should not take this kind of needs lightly. There is truth in the needs that these respondents who are all ESL teachers in Malaysian

English Language Journal Vol 4, (2011) 75-98 ISSN 1823 6820

national secondary schools voiced out in this research. These teachers are directly involved in the teaching, learning and assessment processes in schools. They are the ones who have the primary source of knowledge and experience in regard to the implementation of school-based assessment.

As stated in the significance of this research, the findings can be used for policy-makers to plan for full implementation of ESL in Malaysian secondary schools. The insightful thoughts, views and opinions voiced out by ESL teachers in this research are an invaluable source of reference for the policy-makers to refer to. Training for teachers can also be planned based on the needs that they have voiced out in this research.
REFERENCES Darshan, S. and Ong, M.L. (2003, May 9). Mixed Reaction to New Exam Move. New Straits Times, pp. 3, 1-3. Gomez, G. (2003, May 7). Less exam-centred system. The Star, pp 3. Gomez, G. (2003, May 9). School-based assessment for all levels. The Star, pp. 12. Interview with Associate Professor Dr. Bhasah bin Abu Bakar, at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, 8th August 2006. Interview with Dr. Wan Ilias bin Wan Salleh and Encik Mohmmad Najib bin Mohd Ali, at the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate, Ministry of Education, Putrajaya, 18th August 2007.