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Poh, S. H., & Gopinathan, S. (1999). The changing assessment scene in Singapore. In S. P. Loo (Ed.), Proceeds of the MERA-ERA Joint conference 1999: Educational Challenges in the New Millennium (pp. 71-79). Malacca, Malaysia.
The present assessment system in Singapore schools was built to deliver an efficiency-driven education system. The students were required to study and take tests and examinations, especially paper and pencil type concentrated mainly on the cognitive characteristics. This type of an assessment system has served Singapore well in that the students have exhibited enviable content mastery. Singapore’s education reforms now give priority to an ability driven system with new curricular designed to promote critical and creative thinking and the extended use if IT. The universities are also changing procedures for student selection. The expanded views of abilities and skills following developments in cognition and metacognition and multiple intelligences suggest that assessments should be more broad-based, relevant to real life situations, be both process- and product-oriented to provide a more varied and rich portrayal of students’ learning. Alternative assessments in the form of performance assessment, assignments, presentations, project work, portfolios, openbook and resource-based tests are to be introduced in Singapore schools to allow for a greater range of skills like critical and creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, collaborative and cooperative work and effective communication to be demonstrated. Future assessments may reflect more real-life situations, requiring students to solve problems, think critically and creatively, and make decisions more skillfully. This paper will examine the rationale for change, what changes are being proposed and issues involved in changing deeply entrenched assessment system.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the MERA-ERA Joint Conference held at Malacca, Malaysia from 1-3 December 1999
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