Encouraging Independence and Interdependence in Assessment: Moving Towards Assessment for Learning in Heritage Language Classrooms in Singapore


Assessment for learning (AfL) can be viewed as a set of practices that enhance student learning. AfL is applicable in many varied contexts, yet the necessary situation-specific enactment (reflecting, for example, the learner’s age, subject matter and resources available) can impede critical examination and thoughtful dissemination. This study explored the extent by which teachers in Malay heritage language classrooms understood, believed and practiced AfL. The three principles underpinning AfL were originally formulated by a large multi-university team working with over 40 schools in England, and can be summarised as: making learning explicit, promoting learner autonomy, and focusing on learning rather than grades. The research reported in this paper involved Malay Language teachers from multiple secondary schools across Singapore. The study involved a survey completed by 121 teachers to indicate the extent of their belief and practice of AfL, 8 classroom observations and 20 in-depth interviews with teachers who have different AfL profiles. It was found that while Malay Language teachers were keen to develop their AfL understanding, they did not associate changes that they had to implement in their classroom assessment practices with the principles underpinning AfL. Also, teachers' attempts to carry out independent self-assessment and interdependent peer assessment were successful only to a certain extent due to the reluctance of students to switch their focus on learning, rather than task performance. It is suggested that the application of AfL principles can make assessment reform in heritage language classrooms more coherent and practices meaningful for teachers.

Author Information
Roszalina Binte Rawi, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2019
Stream: Assessment Theories & Methodologies

This paper is part of the ACE2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon