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Sunday June 24, 2012

Excelling the stress-free way

ASSESSMENT is a vital component of education as it informs teachers, parents and the learners themselves about their progress
in the learning curve, besides helping teachers and school administrators assess the effectiveness of teaching methods and school
activities conducted to complement the teaching and learning process.
On Dec 17, 2010, the Cabinet agreed to introduce School-Based Assessment, or Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS), as part
of the Education Transformation Plan to realign the education system from one that focuses largely on academic excellence to a
more holistic assessment.
PBS emphasises assessment for learning and assessment of learning to ensure a more systematic mastery of knowledge.
PBS assesses each child holistically, taking into account the learners overall well-being (including the intellectual, emotional,
spiritual and physical aspects) in tandem with the National Education Philosophy, as well as the Standard Curriculum for Primary
Schools (KSSR).
PBS was introduced last year in all government and government-aided primary schools, and this year in all government and
government-aided secondary schools. Thus Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) in 2016 and Penilaian Menengah Rendah
(PMR) 2014 will be revamped to accommodate the transformation.
What is PBS?
PBS is a holistic form of assessment which assesses the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, encompassing the
intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects. PBS embraces both academic and non-academic fields.
Teachers are given due recognition and have the autonomy to conduct formative assessment during the learning process and also
summative assessment at the conclusion of a learning unit or any other suitable time during the school year at their own discretion,
taking into account their pupils readiness.
There are four components in the PBS; namely, Central Assessment; School Assessment; Assessment of Physical, Sports and Cocurricular Activities and Psychometric Assessment.
Central assessment involves one or more tasks set by the Examinations Syndicate but administered and graded by teachers based
on scoring rubrics provided by the central body.
School assessment is set, administered, graded and reported by the school based on the requirements of the curriculum.
Learners participation and involvement in sports and co-curricular activities are recorded and reported in Assessment of Physical,
Sports and Co-curricular Activities. Thus co-curricular activities also have a bearing on a pupils overall achievement.
Psychometric assessment is another non-academic component that measures pupils innate and acquired abilities.
Why PBS?
The objectives of the PBS are:
To enhance the meaningfulness of assessment where the focus is more on pupils development and growth in learning rather than
merely on their achievements in the form of scores or grades;
To reduce the over-reliance and over-dependence on data (grades and scores) obtained through central examinations in getting
information about pupils in the school system;
To empower the school and teachers to conduct quality assessment of and for learning, involving their own pupils. Therefore
school assessment will be given its due recognition and acknowledgement, and a significant place in the overall assessment
system; and,
To ensure the performance of pupils is comparable to accepted world standards in various areas of knowledge, skills, and
competence, with the introduction of Standard-Referenced assessment in PBS.
What subjects are assessed through PBS?
PBS is used to assess all subjects taught in primary and lower secondary schools.
How do teachers implement PBS?
Teachers conduct formative assessment during the learning process and also summative assessment, which is normally carried
out at the conclusion of a learning unit or at the end of a semester or at the end of the year.
This does not mean that teachers have to create test papers or handouts as instruments every time they wish to assess a pupils
achievement. Teachers may carry out creative activities that are fun, to gather information about their pupils learning progress.
Homework, quizzes, question and answer sessions and even observations are all examples of activities which teachers could use
as instruments to assess pupils development and growth.
The only difference now is that teachers have to record pupils learning progress systematically.

In order to help teachers record and report pupils progress, the Examinations Syndicate has developed the PBS Management
System (SPPBS) which is web-based. SPPBS is also available in the standalone version for schools which do not have access to
the Internet.
How is PBS different?
PBS concurs with the Standard Referenced Assessment in which pupils achievements are measured against a Performance
Standard (Standard Prestasi) which is developed by the Examinations Syndicate and mapped from the standard curriculum.
Performance Standard explains the performance or mastery of a pupil in a particular field he undertakes within a learning period
based on an identified benchmark.
Standard Referenced Assessment allows teachers as well as parents to trace and measure each pupils progress based on his
performance measured against a set of performance indicators.
Thus, a learners achievement is no longer measured by comparing his grades/scores with those of his peers. In this manner, a
learner only competes with himself.
Therefore a learners achievement is no longer gauged by his position in class. Instead his achievement is ranked with reference to
bands One to Six; One being the lowest and Six the highest.
What are bands?
Learners achievements are reported with reference to Bands rather than Grades A,B,C etc, or raw scores, eg. 85%.
Band One shows that a learner tahu or knows. For example, in Mathematics, a Year One learner is able to recognise numbers
1,2,3 ...
Band Two reflects tahu dan faham or knows and understands, which in Mathematics refers to the ability to understand the value of
numbers; for example, eight is less than nine, four is more than three etc.
Band Three records that a learner tahu, faham dan boleh buat, which shows that he is able to apply knowledge acquired. In
Mathematics, Band Three shows that a learner can add, subtract, divide and multiply.
A learner who has attained Band Three is considered to have acquired the basic skills pertaining to the subject.
A learner who attains Band Four (tahu, faham dan boleh buat dengan beradap) shows the ability to solve an elementary
mathematical operation using the correct protocol.
A Band Five (tahu, faham dan boleh buat dengan beradap) reflects the learners ability to solve problems. For example, if a spring
chicken costs RM5, how many chickens can Ali buy with RM10?
Finally, a learner who is awarded a Band Six demonstrates the ability to make a value judgement and is creative or innovative in
solving mathematical problems. For example, the blue shirt costs RM30 but it is on offer at 50% discount, thus it is better value
compared to the same quality shirt on sale at RM20 nett.
Band Three is equal to a passing grade. Thus pupils who fail to achieve Band Three will be supported through remedial work to
help them achieve a minimum Band Three.
PBS makes it possible for teachers to provide immediate feedback to pupils at each stage of the learning curve. The feedback
based on the Performance Standard will enable teachers and pupils to identify their strengths and weaknesses during the learning
Thus, early detection of pupils inability to master a skill should enable the teachers to formulate remedial tasks to help them
improve their learning and achievement accordingly.
Again, it is wise to remember that pupils are assessed against a set of performance indicators and not compared to the
achievements of their peers.
Hence PBS enables learners to advance at their own pace in a less stressful learning environment.
Would PBS further burden teachers?
The main focus of PBS is assessment for and of learning. Assessment should be integrated in the learning process and be used to
enhance pupils mastery of learning. If managed and implemented wisely, teachers would find PBS beneficial and less
To ensure the smooth sailing of PBS, two applications PBS Management System or SPPBS (Sistem Pengurusan Pentaksiran
Berasakan Sekolah) and PAJSK (Pentaksiran Aktiviti Jasmani, Sukan dan Kokurikulum) were developed to ensure teachers are
not further burdened with clerical duties.
The applications store data pertaining to learners achievement which can be easily retrieved to report learners strengths and
areas where more help is needed to parents and other interested parties.
What about teacher bias?
Teacher bias is largely reduced through quality assurance which ensures the reliability and validity of assessment outcomes.

Teachers are required to file evidence of pupils work as proof that the learner has attained the necessary skills to merit the bands
they are awarded. In this context, quality assurance for PBS implementation is maintained through the process of mentoring,
monitoring, moderation and detection at various levels.
Mentoring is the process of assisting, facilitating and guiding teachers to carry out PBS according to the correct procedures and
principles of PBS.
Monitoring ensures that the correct procedures have been adhered to ensure the reliability and credibility of the assessment
Standardisation ensures uniformity of scores with reference to the Performance Standards based on the rubrics of an assignment.
Detection is the process that evaluates the strength, weaknesses and effectiveness of assessment tools.
Is the PBS a new invention?
No, it is not. Question and answer sessions, quizzes, homework and class work are all tools of assessment that have been
employed by teachers to gauge their learners understanding. Teaching and learning is more fun and meaningful when assessment
is cleverly designed and conducted.
PBS is being introduced as part of the National Transformation Programme to produce world-class human capital. It is one of the
measures taken by the Malaysian Education Ministry to enhance pupils mastery of learning through the national assessment
system and it is in-line with the Educational Transformation Plan.
The assessment transformation introduced by the Education Ministry via the PBS presents the idea that central examinations like
the UPSR and PMR are no longer the sole form of evaluation in measuring pupils achievement.
Through the PBS, the ministry aims to help pupils realise their potential in both academic as well as non-academic fields within a
learning environment that is more stress-free.
In a nutshell, PBS is an arduous endeavour that demands total commitment from teachers and school administrators to help each
child reach their full potential.