Students Reactions to School Based Oral Assessment:Bridging the Gap in Malaysia
Keywords: English as a Second Language (ESL), School-based Oral English Test (SBOET), Upper Secondary Schools, Malaysia
Gurnam Kaur Sidhu
Chan Yuen Fook
Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Sarjit Kaur Sidhu
School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Gurnam Kaur Sidhu (PhD) is Professor at the Faculty of Education, University Technology MARA, 40200 Shah Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA. Prior to this, she was attached to the National Institute of Educational Management and Leadership and at the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. With more than 30 years of experience in the field of education as a lecturer, practitioner and researcher, she is widely published including being the author of English Language Textbooks currently used in Malaysian schools. Her interests include TESL, Learner Autonomy, Educational Management and Life-Long Learning.
Chan Yuen Fook (PhD) is Professor and Research Coordinator of ACRULeT (Asian Centre for Research on University Learning and Teaching) at the Faculty of Education, University Technology MARA, 40200 Shah Alam, Selangor, MALAYSIA. Prior to this he was attached to the National Institute of Educational Management and Leadership, Ministry of Education, Malaysia. Dr. Chan has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and he has presented numerous papers at both national and international conferences. His written contributions have appeared in a number of journals and proceedings. His interests are in the field of Testing and Evaluation, Educational Administration, Management, ICT and Curriculum and Instruction.
Sarjit Kaur Sidhu (PhD) is Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics and Programme Chairperson of the English Language Studies Section at the School of Humanities in Universiti Sains Malaysia. Widely published, her areas of specialisation include Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), workplace literacies, postgraduate education, learner autonomy and policy research in higher education. Her recent co-edited books include Quality Assurance and University Rankings in Higher Education in the Asia Pacific: Challenges for Universities and Nations (USM Press and IPPTN, 2010), Globalisation and Internationalisation of Higher Education in Malaysia (USM Press and IPPTN, 2008) and a monograph on Contemporary Issues in the Global Higher Education Marketplace: Prospects and Challenges (IPPTN, 2010).
In 2002, the Malaysian School Based Oral English Test (SBOET) was implemented and this was viewed as an initial step towards formative language assessment in the ESL classroom. Since then, it has undergone several transformative changes. To date, there is scant empirical research that has looked at the SBOET from the perspective of the test takers. This paper presents the findings of a study that examined feedback from 2,684 upper secondary ESL students from 45 schools located in 10 states in Malaysia. This descriptive study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. The data collection process involved the use of questionnaires and focus group interviews. The findings of the study revealed that students were divided as to their opinions on the SBOET. While 55% of the students held positive opinions of the SBOET, the remaining 45% felt otherwise. Urban and rural school students were also divided in their knowledge and understanding of the SBOET. In addition, this study also explored issues regarding students readiness, confidence and commitment to formative oral assessment. This study has significant implications for the implementation of formative assessment in the Malaysian ESL classroom