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The milieu of oral english assessment in Malaysia: processes and challenges
thesisposted on 2017-02-28, 00:00 authored by Mohamad, Azleena
In line with the current global trend, the School Based Oral English Assessment (SBOEA) is implemented as a means to decentralise assessment and provide students the opportunity to be assessed in their familiar environment by those closest to them: their teachers. The aim of the SBOEA is to assess students’ ability to communicate in the English Language in everyday life and teachers as the immediate implementers play an important role in ensuring that this aim is achieved. Teachers’ conduct of the SBOEA is guided through the use of a manual produced by the Malaysian Examination Syndicate (MES). The study for this thesis explores the way teachers conduct the SBOEA in their classrooms in Malaysia. It looks at three areas: the stages and processes involved in implementing the school based oral assessment, the factors that influence their practices and the challenges they face in their oral assessment practices. To explore these areas, this study employed a qualitative case study that encompassed the use of semi-structured interviews and classroom observations on ten English Language teachers. This study reveals that teachers undergo four main stages in the implementation of the SBOEA: planning, implementation, scoring and recording, and reassessment. At each stage, a number of processes are identified leading to the complete cycle of the assessment implementation. This study discovers that teachers approach the processes variedly due to the influence of two main factors: teacher factors and external factors. Their struggle to balance their practices with what is prescribed in the SBOEA manual and the identified factors have led to several challenges. These challenges are identified as teacher assessment competency, the validity and reliability of the SBOEA, fairness and accountability and the impact of the SBOEA. Understanding teachers’ school based oral assessment practices within the factors and challenges highlighted in this study can contribute to better implementation approach to the school based oral assessment by addressing the challenges teachers face and acknowledging the stages and processes they undertake to conduct the assessment in the classrooms.