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LETTER | Assessment reforms in primary schools: Parental roles

LETTER | The assessment policy in the Malaysian classroom has recently undergone several changes.

Although for a long time the system was characterised by an exam-oriented culture, it has now shifted to a more authentic means of assessment that is ongoing and developmental and that measures students’ abilities more accurately.

Penilaian Bilik Darjah or classroom assessment has become one of the main assessment components to gauge students’ performance.

As parents are children’s first teachers, they play a huge role in their children’s learning. Here are a few ways parents can support children with the new assessment system:

Education from the outset

Classroom assessment is not only about what children can do, it is also about how children do it. That is why parental involvement is essential.

Education has always been believed to begin at home. Parents are role models to their children. They need to set a good example and demonstrate the behaviour they want to see in children.

Children can learn good manners from watching their parents. Helping people, respecting others, taking turns, saying ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’, being honest, focused and diligent are among the good behaviours parents can exhibit and teach their children.

As children grow, they'll practice the skills they've learned, even at school.

The change of mindset

Parents must also change their beliefs for assessment reform to be successful. Parents need to understand that the new assessment is aimed at reporting the learning development of students in a more unbiased way - since students are assessed according to their abilities.

Grades and marks are no longer the focus; rather what students know and can do matters the most and is therefore, acknowledged.

When parents believe that Band 6 is equivalent to grade A, the highest band a child should achieve, they will be more disappointed when their children achieve low bands such as 1 or 2.

Regardless of whether their children get a high grade, parents should celebrate their children's success.


As part of the classroom assessment, project-based learning will be performed by children. Some activities demand parents’ high involvement. For instance, making videos, taking photos, preparing meals, inventing an object using recycled items and others.

Children also need help in formal academic subjects such as science¸ language, and mathematics. Thus, parents must guide, assist and monitor their children’s learning.

Parents also have a responsibility to show interest in the activities that their children are engaging in and to demonstrate how exciting and rewarding learning can be.

A significant role in the development of a child's learning is played by parents, as children learn primarily from their parents.

Providing children with support at home and school will help them develop social, cognitive, emotional and behavioural skills.

An early start to education, mindset change and engagement in children’s learning are necessary to help children experience the new assessment positively.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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