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TASK 1: Higher Order Thinking Skills. If you want to change student learning, change assessment.

Many scholars believe that the teaching of higher order thinking skills is vital for purposeful schooling. Based on the quote above, evaluate the claim that higher order thinking skills can be developed in students by changing assessment. In at least two of your arguments, you are expected to make some comparison to assessment practices in the Malaysian educational institution in your country.

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Introduction Toffler is often quoted for his claim that the greatest challenge in the 21 st century is

not learning, but to unlearn and relearn. The term change management has long a place in the context of continuous improvement. As society changes, educators find themselves faced with the task of creating schools that will serve their students well, even if they are uncertain about the nature of the society that their students will face in the future. It became clear that schooling was an important key to social mobility, and that achievement in school was the basis for entry into the workplace. Tests and exams took on major importance in deciding which students would have access to higher education. Many jurisdictions instituted standardized testing programs alongside classroom assessment to ensure fair, accurate, and consistent opportunities for students.

According to Wilhelm and Chen Pei (2008), since the mid 1970s, a number of Asian countries have been concerned with economic reforms which in turn have brought about various improvements in the education system. Teachers will be given empowerment in assessing their students. Nonetheless, the empowerment also comes with the requirements of sufficient knowledge and skills in using various informal methods of testing and psychometric testing such as diagnostic general ability, and aptitude test (Teacher Education Department, Ministry of Education, 2007). Formal and informal assessment of learning has always been part of educational institutions. With the advent of universal schooling at the turn of the 21st century, children were expected to attend school to learn basic skills. Assessment was the mechanism for making decisions about future programs, and for providing information to parents about their childrens learning.

Valid assessment of higher order thinking skills requires that students be unfamiliar with the questions or tasks they are asked to answer or perform and that they have sufficient prior knowledge to enable them to use their higher order thinking skills in answering questions or performing tasks. Over long periods of time, individuals develop higher order skills (intellectual abilities) that apply to the solutions of a broad spectrum of complex problems. Classroom teachers recognize the importance of having students develop higher order skills yet often do not assess their students progress. Several performance -based models are available to assist them in teaching and assessing these skills.

Higher order thinking skills include critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking. They are activated when individuals encounter unfamiliar problems, uncertainties, questions, or dilemmas. Successful applications of the skills result in explanations, decisions, performances, and products that are valid within the context of available knowledge and experience and that promote continued growth in these and other intellectual skills. Higher order thinking skills are grounded in lower order skills such as discriminations, simple application and analysis, and cognitive strategies and are linked to prior knowledge of subject matter content.

Two of the most important educational goals are to promote retention and to promote transfer (which, when it occurs, indicates meaningful learning) retention requires that students remember what they have learned, whereas transfer requires students not only to remember but also to make sense of and be able to use what they have learned. (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, p. 63)

Appropriate teaching strategies and learning environments facilitate their growth as do student persistence, self-monitoring, and open-minded, flexible attitudes. This definition is consistent with current theories related to how higher order thinking skills are learned and developed. Although different theoreticians and researchers use different frameworks to describe higher order skills and how they are acquired, all frameworks are in general agreement concerning the conditions under which they prosper.

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Assessment

Assessment is an important component in the teaching and learning process as it provides teachers with information that is important for decision-making in the classroom. Stiggins and Conklin (1992) emphasized that about one-third to one-half of teachers times in the classroom is spent on assessment related activities. Teachers constantly make decisions concerning students learning and development, as well as the suitability and effectiveness of classroom instruction (Linn & Miller, 2005). Information generated from assessment provides teachers with an insight into the meanings constructed or assigned by students to ideas or concepts taught in the classroom. Webb (1994) explains that this aspect of assessment allows the teacher to gauge whether the idea or concept taught was conveyed

successfully to the students. Black and Wiliam (1998) synthesized over 250 studies linking assessment and learning, and found that the intentional use of assessment in the classroom to promote learning improved student achievement. Most of us are familiar with tests because at some point in our lives we are required to sit for tests. In school, tests are given to measure our academic aptitude and evaluate whether we have gained any understanding from our learning. In the workplace, tests are conducted to select persons for specific jobs, for promotion and to encourage re-learning. Physicians, lawyers, insurance consultants, realestate agents, engineers, civil servants and many other professionals are required to take tests to demonstrate their competence in specific areas and in some cases to be licensed to practice their profession or trade. Increasing the amount of time on assessment, however, does not necessarily enhance learning. Rather, when teachers use classroom assessment to become aware of the knowledge, skills, and beliefs that their students bring to a learning task, use this knowledge as a starting point for new instruction, and monitor students changing perceptions as instruction proceeds, classroom assessment promotes learning.

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Assessment Changes

During the past 50 years, massive cultural, social, economic, political, environmental, and technological changes have meant that every facet of schooling has been subjected to investigation and rethinking, including classroom assessment. Throughout most of the 21st century, classroom assessment was considered a mechanism for providing an index of learning, and it followed a predictable pattern: teachers taught, tested the students knowledge of the material, made judgments about students achievement based on the testing, and then moved on to the next unit of work. Assessment information is valuable in indicating which of the learning outcomes have been successfully achieved and which instructional objectives students had the most difficulty with. Assessment results are valuable in providing clues to the effectiveness of the teaching strategy implemented and teaching materials used. It also indicates whether students had the required prior knowledge to grasp the concepts and principles discussed. Assessment data may also provide insight into why some teachers are more successful in teaching a particular group of students while others are less successful. More recently, however, this approach to assessment has come into question as societal expectations for schooling have changed, cognitive science has provided new insights into the nature of learning, and the traditional role of assessment in motivating student learning has been challenged.

In the last two decades, major changes have occurred in assessment practices in many parts of the world. Brown, Bull and Pendlebury (1997) identified the following trends in educational assessment; (1) Written examinations are gradually being replaced by more continuous assessment and coursework. (2) There is a move towards more student involvement and choice in assessment. (3) Group assessment is becoming more popular in an effort to emphasize collaborative learning among students and to reduce excessive competition. (4)Subject areas and courses state more explicitly about the expectations in assessment. Students are clearer about the kinds of performance required of them when they are assessed. This is unlike earlier practice where assessment was so secretive that students had to figure out for themselves what was required of them. (5)An understanding of the process is now seen as equally important to knowledge of facts. This is in line with the general shift from product-based assessment towards process-based assessment. (6) Studentfocused learning outcomes have begun to replace teacher oriented objectives. The focus is more on what the students will learn rather than what the teacher plans to teach.

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Assessment Changes change the Learning Process

Motivation is essential for the hard work of learning. The higher the motivation, the more time and energy a student is willing to devote to any given task. Even when a student finds the content interesting and the activity enjoyable, learning requires sustained concentration and effort. Past views of motivation were heavily influenced by the behaviourist psychology of the 1960s and 1970s, in which a schedule of rewards and punishments led to either reinforcing or extinguishing a particular behaviour. It was believed that assessment and grading motivated students to work hard and to learn. It is now understood that the relationship between grades and motivation is neither simple nor predictable. Grades have been found to be motivating for some students, and demotivating for others. Students who generally do well are often motivated by the likelihood of success and praise that accompanies doing well. Students who typically do not do well may choose to avoid the likelihood of a failure by devaluing the assessment process and even school. According to cognitive research, people are motivated to learn by success and competence. When students feel ownership and have choice in their learning, they are more likely to invest time and energy in it. Assessment can be a motivator, not through reward and punishment, but by stimulating students intrinsic interest.

Classes consist of students with different needs, backgrounds, and skills. Each students learning is unique. The contexts of classrooms, schools, and communities vary. As well, the societal pressure for more complex learning for all students necessitates that teachers find ways to create a wide range of learning options and paths, so that all students have the opportunity to learn as much as they can, as deeply as they can, and as efficiently as they can. Assessment practices lead to differentiated learning when teachers use them to gather evidence to support every students learning, every day in every class. In order to meet the wide range of abilities, motivations, and learning styles of their students, teachers need to differentiate the extent of independence with which students work, and the types and complexity of the learning. Curriculum guides and programs of study provide the learning outcomes that teachers use to tailor assessment and instruction to help students learn and make sense of their learning. The learning needs of some students are so significant, however, that they may require individualized learning plans in which the curricular learning outcomes have been adjusted. Teachers of these students can access support from professionals and resource materials specific to the students particular learning needs. Classroom assessment involves complex processes requiring teachers professional judgement. Teachers decide how to assess, what to assess, and when to assess. They also interpret students learning according to reference points for success, such as curricular learning outcomes. The inferences about students learning that teachers make need to be credible, fair, free from bias, and connected to their intended purposes. Assessment is fundamentally a measurement process, subject to the principles of measurement. Measurement, as it is used here, is defined in the broadest sense of determining the degree of something.

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Assessment Changes change the Learning Process in Malaysia.

When learning is the goal, teachers and students collaborate and use ongoing assessment and pertinent feedback to move learning forward. When classroom assessment is frequent and varied, teachers can learn a great deal about their students. They can gain an understanding of students existing beliefs and knowledge, and can identify incomplete understandings, false beliefs, and nave interpretations of concepts that may influence or distort learning. Teachers can observe and probe students thinking over time, and can identify links between prior knowledge and new learning.

Learning is also enhanced when students are encouraged to think about their own learning, to review their experiences of learning (What made sense and what didnt? How does this fit with what I already know, or think I know?), and to apply what they have learned to their future learning. Assessment provides the feedback loop for this process. When students (and teachers) become comfortable with a continuous cycle of feedback and adjustment, learning becomes more efficient and students begin to internalize the process of standing outside their own learning and considering it against a range of criteria, not just the teachers judgment about quality or accuracy.

Attending to the purposes of assessment, and putting the emphasis on assessment for learning and assessment as learning, directs differentiating instruction for all students. When teachers have considerable expertise in tailoring pedagogical practice, they are in a good position to address the needs of groups and individuals. They can plan some learning contexts that are the same for all students, some for groups of students, and some for individuals. They can draw on a wide range of resources, activities, and strategies to engage students in their own learning, scaffold their learning along the way, and provide experiences that give students lots of practice and support.

In the context of Malaysia, studies which focus on the concerns of the teachers on school-based assessment need to be carried out. Much which was conducted mainly focussed on school-based oral assessment (Hamzah and Sinnasamy, 2009; Gurnam, 2009 & 2007; Azleena, 2007). A doctoral candidate had conducting a research on the Malaysian teachers readiness towards school-based assessment scheme in selected Malaysian teacher training institutes (Shanusi, 2007) and the result seems going positive. Thus, the conduct of the present study is seen as timely as it could provide relevant information on school-based assessment in Malaysian public schools. The School-Based Assessment, introduced by the Education Ministry in 2011, is reported to be showing encouraging results and according to Director of the Malaysian Examination Board Dr Nai'mah Ishak, in a short span of 2 years, teachers and parents have noted positive changes in the children.

The Malaysian government has proposed to implement school-based assessment in public schools in the attempt to replace the current public examinations. The public examination system in Malaysia shows that at the end of Form 5 students take the Malaysian

Certificate of Education or Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), which is an end of school certificate, equivalent to a GCSE. English papers are marked and graded according to British GCSE level grades and students are awarded this along with their SPM grade. Students, who pass the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM), can then study further in Form 6, and take the Malaysian High School Certificate (STPM) or Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination, which is equivalent to British A levels or the American High School Certificate. The STPM qualification takes two years to complete (Lower Form 6 and Upper Form 6) and is recognised internationally. It is also possible for students to complete a matriculation certificate after secondary school, in either a one- or two-year programme, although this certificate is not recognised internationally, only at Malaysian Universities. The matriculation programme is less demanding than the STPM programme. Students can also take pre-university courses such as the British A-level programme, the Canadian matriculation programme, or other national equivalent programmes at private colleges. However, as school-based assessment currently in full swing, relatively little is known about the concerns of the teachers who would directly be involved in the implementation system.

The School Based Assessment which replaced the exam-oriented teaching methodology has moulded students to be more confident and outspoken. ( Dr Nai'mah, NTV7 , June 2013)

As school-based assessment is a fairly new innovation in the Malaysian education system which is also a directive from the Ministry of Education, there is a possibility that some teachers may have concerns which deserve due attention from the Ministry. As posited by Wilhelm and Chen Pei (2008),

... ELT curricular reform efforts in Asia are impressive but have taken, for the most part, a top-down approach. Long-lasting change will depend upon the beliefs, responses, and efforts put forth by participants as they strive to meet the challenges of change.

Their claim is further supported by Hamzah and Sinnasamy (2009) who quoted Tan Sri Dr Murad Mohammad Nor, the former Education Director General as claiming, ...The most important part in the implementation of any plan, is the teachers. However good the plan, it will be of no use if the teachers do not implement it well.

Black and William (1998) emphasized that formative assessment would provide teachers with additional information to complement their observations of their students. Consequently, it would enable teachers to make necessary improvements or changes in their teaching approach to reduce the gaps between students. In addition, to ensure the success of assessment for learning, Hargreaves (2005) suggested that teachers needed to be more creative and innovative in conducting formative assessments.

The new system incorporated "language arts" in the Bahasa Malaysia and English syllabus where students are taught songs, story-telling, poetry recital and acting in an effort to develop an all round students. The programme assesses students based on different evidence markers and is based on a certain grade or "band", starting from Band One to Band Six. The teachers are given guidelines to assest their students according to their performances academically as well as in co-curricular activities, and their innate and acquired abilities. Badariah also pointed out, the board has received feedback from parents who are happy that their children are striking a balance in their academics and co-curricular activities. Assessment for learning helps teachers to identify students achievement level. Teachers would be able to evaluate students immediately as students demonstrate their knowledge and skills during the assessment process. According to the Assessment Reform Group (2002), assessment for learning provides teachers with the opportunity to evaluate how much the students have learned and how effective were the teaching methods. As such, teachers should possess as much knowledge as possible especially pertaining to the concept and the implementation policy. According to Shepard (2002), teachers should be able to integrate assessment and teaching to make the teaching process more interesting and to enhance the students learning outcome. A teacher who is knowledgeable about the assessment would internalize a belief in the system. He or she would subsequently display a positive attitude and would be willing to implement the concept.

TASK 2: Table of Specification

Prepare a table of specification for a test paper based on a subject area or course of studies of your choice. The test should consist of 3 short essay items that require students to answer in not more than 200 words and 2 long essay items (higher order thinking skills) that require students to answer between 500 to 600 words.

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What is Table of Specification?

Classroom tests provide teachers with essential information used to make decisions about instruction and student grades. A table of specification (TOS) can be used to help teachers frame the decision making process of test construction and improve the validity of teachers evaluations based on tests constructed for classroom use. A Table of Specification (TOS), sometimes called a test blueprint, is a table that helps teachers align objectives, instruction, and assessment (e.g., Notar, Zuelke, Wilson, & Yunker, 2004). This strategy can be used for a variety of assessment methods but is most commonly associated with constructing traditional summative tests. When constructing a test, teachers need to be concerned that the test measures an adequate sampling of the class content at the cognitive level that the material was taught. The TOS can help teachers map the amount of class time spent on each objective with the cognitive level at which each objective was taught thereby helping teachers to identify the types of items they need to include on their tests. There are many approaches to developing and using a TOS advocated by measurement experts (e.g., Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, & Wittrock, 2001, Gronlund, 2006; Reynolds, Livingston, & Wilson, 2006).

The approach to the TOS is intended to help classroom teachers develop summative assessments that are well aligned to the subject matter studied and the cognitive processes used during instruction. However, for this strategy to be helpful in your teaching practice, you need to make it your own and consider how you can adapt the underlying strategy to your own instructional needs. There are different versions of these tables or blueprints (e.g., Linn & Gronlund, 2000; Mehrens & Lehman, 1973; Nortar et al., 2004), and the one presented here is one that we have found most useful in our own teaching. This tool can be simplified or complicated to best meet your needs in developing classroom tests. The cornerstone of classroom assessment practices is the validity of the judgments about students learning and knowledge (Wolming & Wilkstrom, 2010). A TOS is one tool that teachers can use to support their professional judgment when creating or selecting test for use with their students. The TOS can be used in conjunction with lesson and unit planning to help teacher make clear the connections between planning, instruction, and assessment.

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Table of Specification

Table of Specification CURRICULUMN ORGANIZERS READING AND REVIEWING DOMAINS READING READING CATEGORIES RETRIEVE INFORMATION RECOGNISE MEANING INTERPRET TEXT ANALYSE TEXT LITERACY PROSE PEOTRY INFORMATIONAL MULTYGENRE WEIGHTING

WRITING AND REPRESENTING

WRITING

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Table of Specification

TASK 3: Test Paper

Prepare a test paper based on the table of spesification (Task 2) using an appropriate format. The test paper should consist of the following: a) Both short and long essay questions should be of higher order thinking skills b) Allocation of marks and time for each section in the test paper c) Instructions to candidates on how to address the question paper d) A comprehensive marking scheme and rubric.

PART A INSTRUCTIONS: 1. THERE ARE THREE (3) QUESTIONS IN THIS PART. 2. ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.

Question 1 The Jungle of Hope by Keris Mas is one of the novels studied in the literature component in English Language. Give a detailed account of lessons that you have learnt from a character in the novel you have studied. Support your answer with close reference to the text. [10 marks]

Question 2 In your opinion, how does the saying money is the root of all evil apply in the The Pearl by John Steinback novel that you have studied? Briefly discuss this, making reference to the text. [10 marks]

Question 3 From the novel The Curse by Lee Su Ann, write about a memorable event and how the event affects one of the characters in the story. Support your answer with close reference to the text.

[10 marks]

[TOTAL: 30 MARKS]

PART B INSTRUCTIONS: 1. THERE ARE TWO (2) QUESTIONS IN THIS PART. 2. ANSWER ONE QUESTION.

Question 1

The recent discovery of the melting polar icecaps has further fuelled the debate on global warming. Is it really due to the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air? An alternative school of thought has claimed that it actually has more to do with the ocean and the amount of salt in the water.

Most major rivers worldwide have been used to further develop our lifestyles. This has lead to a large amount of the freshwater to be used up before it gets to the ocean. Perhaps it may not be to the extreme in certain regions, but there is a lot less fresh water getting to the ocean today than decades ago.

As a cloud competes with other clouds for space it causes more storms, hurricanes and turbulence in the seas as well as winds. Therefore more evaporation takes place, causing more insolating clouds and warmer climate which may also cause the ice caps to melt. This seems to be a very vicious cycle that brings more water into the delicate system adding to the problem of global warming.

Based on the passage above, write a summary on the link between freshwater and global warming. [TOTAL: 20 MARKS]

Question 2
HOMEWORK may sound like a simple, unassuming word but it carries deep and burdensome undertones. The nature of homework indicates that we need to study a subject or topic to gain the necessary knowledge for an answer. If you have attended university, it will mean that you would have done homework for approximately 14 years of your life. One would assume that with more than a decade of practice, we would be highly skilled in carrying out the process needed to complete homework. These skills are necessary in the future. Just ask anybody who works or is a parent does homework ever end? There is literally no excuse when we say, I dont know to our bosses. With the Internet, the world is literally at our feet. We can get information that nobody else before this generation could. It is not a crime not to know everything, but it is unforgivable if we just leave it at that. When doing homework, we can also get assistance of textbooks and notes. When faced with a particular difficult problem, we can head to the library, ask our tutor or e-mail former students for help. If we can apply that system of research in school, why cant we do that as an adult when facing a difficult problem? We can also have the option of calling someone when searching for an answer. Although we have to spent hours on the phone, but that is the effort we have to put in to generate results. In the process of completing the homework, we also have to improve our social skills. Parents automatically do the necessary homework when it comes to their children. If their child suddenly falls ill at home, they will usually take him or her to the doctor. But once they are at home, they will log on to the Internet to check if what the doctor says tally with the symptoms. They also want to know what other mothers who face the same problem would do. Malaysians do not lack resource; we just need the right motivation. Most of the time, when we are inefficient, it indicates that we are just not that interested.

Based on the passage given, write a summary on the importance of homework and ways which can help us to complete our homework.

[TOTAL: 20 MARKS]

QUESTION PAPER ENDS HERE

Referencess Wilhelm, Kim Hughes, and Chen, Betty Pei, (2008) University Teachers And Students Perceptions Of ELT Methodologies And Their Effectiveness. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, 18 (2). pp. 79-102. ISSN 1675-8021.

Linn, R.L. & Miller, M.D. (2005). Measurement and Assessment in Teaching (9th edition). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Salmiah Jabar (2013). Acceptance towards School Based Assessment Among Agricultural Integrated Living Skills Teachers: Challanges in Implementing a Holistic Assessment. Journal of Technical Education and Training, Vol 5, no. 1 (2013)
http://penerbit.uthm.edu.my/ojs/index.php/JTET/article/view/692/449

Faizah A. Majid (2011). School-based Assessment in Malaysian Schools: The Concerns of the English Teachers. Journal of US-China Education Review, Vol.8, No.10, 2011. ISSN1548-6613

ALPS.

Active

Learning

Practice

for

Schools:

Teaching

for

Understanding.

http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/tfu/index.cfm

Positive

Change

School

Based

Assessment

Gains

Positive

Feedback.

http://www.ntv7.com.my/7edition/local-en/