Monday, October 27, 2008

Learning Assessment in Kyrgyzstan

From October 3, 2008 until November 27, I am posted as Learning Assessment Consultant for the Second Education Project (SEP) of Kyrgyz' Ministry of Education and Science funded by a grant from ADB. The SEP basically aims to modernize curricula, learning assessment and textbook development for Grades 1-11. This is my second posting here, I have been posted last 2007 to work for Grades 1-4, this year, we are working for Grades 5-9. The remaining years of the project are devoted for Grades 10 and 11.

As Learning Assessment Consultant, I am responsible in developing a capacity building program for teachers on formative and summative evaluation. As an International Consultant, I am working with two national consultants, Olga Aksenova and Galina Sahorava, both are teachers in Bishkek City.

It is rather a very challenging to work for this project because, I always need a translator/interpreter even when I meet with my national consultants. I prepare learning and training materials in English, then they have to be translated into Russian and then to Kyrgyz language. Meetings and lectures take more time because of the translation and interpretation.

In this project, we translated assessment as "Ochenibanye" and evaluation as "Ochenka" . At first, both terms are translated interchangeably as Ochenka or Ochenibanye. However, to make it clearer, we have to decide the acceptable Russian translation.

Learning Assessment in Kyrgyzstan is fully influenced by the former Soviet Union, since Kyrgyzstan has been part of the former USSR until it became independent in 1991.

At the Ministry of Education and Science, there is the National Testing Unit (NTU) that oversees testing activities of school education here. However, most of its activities are focused on standardization of entrance tests and examinations for higher education or university. The NTU staff are well-trained and I was surprised to know that they have been doing item-banking for the past 5 years. Their tests for higher education uses an MCQ and they score this through a scanning machine. The NTU revealed that the technology was acquired through the assistance of DANIDA in 1996. However, it has not been updated yet very recently.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association

On August 6-7, 2008, another milestone of Philippine Education happened. On these days held the First National Conference on Educational Measurement and Evaluation (NCEME) at CSB Hotel in Manila with the theme "Developing a Culture of Assessment in Learning Institutions. This conference was attended by more than 300 participants from all over the Philippines. This event was key noted by the well-known "guru" Dr. Milagros D. Ibe, a Professor Emeritus of UP Diliman and presently the Graduate School Dean of Miriam College.

In this conference, papers on educational measurement and evaluation were presented and discussed. As this conference was organized primarily to re-unite all graduates of the Master of Science in Educational Measurement and Evaluation (MSEME) of De La Salle University, most of the paper presenters and workshop facilitators were graduates of MSEME.

One of the highlights of this conference is the organization of the Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association (PEMEA). This organization was organized with the following purposes:

1. Promote standards in various areas of education through appropriate and proper assessment.
2. Provide technical assistance to educational institutions and process of attaining standards.
3. Enhance and maintain the proper practice of measurement and evaluation in both local and international level.
4. Enrich the theory, practice and research in evaluation and measurement in the Philippines.

Membership to this organization is open to all who are:

1. practitioners in the field of measurement, testing, assessment and evaluation,
2. scholars, researchers, and teachers that have direct and indirect experience in measurement and evaluation.
3. students that are engaged in educational measurement and evaluation.

An election was held for the first 11 Members of the Board of Trustees. There were 18 nominees.

The Founding Executive Officers of PEMEA are:

Chairman and President : Richard DLC. Gonzales, Ph.D. , UST Graduate School
Vice President : Neil O. Parinas, Ph.D. cand., DLS - College of Saint Benilde
Executive Secretary : Lina A. Miclat, Ph.D., DLS - College of Saint Benilde
Treasurer : Marife M. Mamauag, Ph.D. cand., DLS - College of Saint Benilde
External Relations Officer : Belen M. Chu, M.Sc., Philippine Academy of Sakya

The Members of the Board of Trustees of PEMEA are:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Student Assessment Unit in Nepal

I was posted as the Classroom Assessment and Examination Consultant for the Secondary Education Support Project (SESP) in Nepal from November 6, 2007, to May 6, 2008. I worked with the Department of Education, particularly with other four central agencies, namely: Office of Controller of Examinations (OCE), National Center for Educational Development (NCED), Curriculum Development Center and Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB).

One of the major accomplishments of this assignment was the establishment of Student Assessment Units (SAU) in the four central agencies and eventually at the Regional Education Departments and in the District Education Offices.

The SAU is an organizational unit that is primarily responsible in defining, developing, prioritizing, administering and monitoring activities related to classroom assessment and examinations.

The SAU is committed to increasing student achieving by implementing higher standards through the assessment programs and activities. The SAU of the various agencies supports the administration of the following:

a) District Level Examinations for Grade 8
b) School Leaving Certification Examination (SLC Exams) for Grades 10 and 12
c) School-Based Assessment (SBA)
d) Teacher-training Evaluation

Continuous Assessment System (CAS), Liberal Promotion Policy (LPP) and SBA are the pillars supporting SAU in various agencies and offices under the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Teachers are Superhumans"

In my work as a consultant/specialist for Classroom Assessment and Examination Reforms in various countries adhering to diverse educational philosophies and curriculum, I realized that teachers are "superhumans" everywhere in the world.

I say they are superhumans (or let me say supermen and superwomen) because they can take on several tasks at the same time. They are the key persons in implementing curricular reforms, they are managers of a team (the class they handle or school they oversee), they are entertainers and performers to students who can only learn with funny persons in front of them, and sometimes they are referees to "fighting" students and also perform police powers and even conductors in school vehicles.

As teachers, they are not only mentors, lecturers, professors, and guidance counselors. They are also artists, scientists, linguists, mathematicians, historians, orators, sociologists, psychologists, activists, and motivators. They also serve as representatives of society and government organizations. They are also expected to be role models to students and politicians as well as social workers and community developers.

On top of these so many roles, they teach students to the best they can. They are required to give tests and examinations and evaluate student work, reports, and projects. They are expected to keep track of what their students have learned and how many of their targeted learning outcomes were achieved. They are mandated to establish the credibility of their assessment procedures as well as the validity of their instruments. Hence, teachers do not only teach, but they must also perform assessment activities to determine the achievement, strengths, and weaknesses of their students.

With these in mind, I come to believe that teachers are really
superhumans. Hence, I am writing this blog on the assessment and evaluation of learning to share my experiences with teachers, researchers, and educationists.

I hope that through this blog, all teachers and researchers will achieve their vision, mission, and goals of providing the highest standards of classroom assessment and examinations.