Solution: Holistic assessment (HA) is a process of using multiple sources to continually gather information on a child’s development, to provide feedback to support and guide learning throughout the education.
Goals and objectives: In 2009, the Singapore Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee made recommendations to realize a more holistic primary education and prepare youth for the future. HA aims to support student learning and development, and build their confidence and desire to learn.
Implementation: key strategies for implementing HA:
- developing a systemic implementation approach and plan
- building school leaders’ and teachers’ capacity
- providing resource support
- engaging stakeholders’ support
Ministry of Education implemented HA in three stages (see figure below), starting with prototyping in sixteen schools in 2010, and extending to all 190 primary schools by 2013.
HA focuses on achieving greater balance, quality and child-centricity in school assessment systems to increase student motivation and success in learning). Teachers use assessment information formatively to adjust instruction and provide students with feedback and targeted practice to move learning forward. Students clarify learning intentions, assess themselves and one another, set goals for improvement, and track and communicate their progress.
Schools adopt Child-Centric Holistic Reporting Systems (comprising Holistic Report Card, Pupil Progress Report and Development Portfolio) to give parents a fuller picture of their child’s holistic development. This enables greater student involvement in communicating their learning (e.g., through Parent-Child-Teacher Conferencing) and helps develop confident learners.
Achievements: Primary schools have ranked HA as one of the most beneficial MOE initiatives for each of the past four years (2011-2014).
Teachers generally indicated higher confidence in delivering quality classroom assessment after one year of implementing HA. More than 97% of teachers surveyed indicated that they were:
- able to provide effective feedback to support student learning
- more reflective about their teaching practices
- constantly making refinements to their teaching.
Students found learning more enjoyable and became more confident and motivated to learn. They were more aware of their strengths and areas for improvement as a result of feedback received from their teachers. They had more opportunities to set goals for their learning and communicate what they had learnt to their parents and teachers. Many teachers also reported that students were more engaged during lessons, participated more actively in class and took greater ownership of their learning.
Parents gave the “thumbs up” to HA implementation despite initial reservations. They became less anxious after seeing the positive effects of HA on their children. Parents appreciated the regular feedback provided on their child’s progress and performance as it helped them to better support their child’s learning and development.
Replication: There are plans to implement HA practices in the secondary schools. PERI-HA implementation has been shared with secondary schools, junior colleges, pre-schools and special education schools as well as with overseas delegates visiting Singapore schools (e.g., from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Fiji, Hong Kong, Kenya, Korea, Lesotho, Nigeria, Oman and Thailand). Many visitors have found PERI-HA interesting and indicated an interest in adapting HA practices to their own context.
Budget: Approximately US2.2 million (2010 figure)
Contact details: Ministry of Education