Context matters! Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment methodology adapted to spark success in Malaysia

published 13 September 2023 updated 18 October 2023

The teachers and facilitators engaged in the Teacher-Led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project in Malaysia have now participated in four workshop sessions, two tutorials and two network events. The continued progression of the project has led to the development of promising formative assessment practice among participants as facilitators continue to ensure that the circles stimulate deliberation and reflection.

The facilitators participating in the project in Malaysia were guided by the national researcher, Dr Zuwati Hassim, during workshop’s one and two as well as throughout network event one. Dr Hassim stepped back after this, empowering the facilitators by giving them the freedom to experiment with different facilitation methods to engage teachers within their assigned circles after the third workshop. “The step-in and step-out role of the researcher in the learning circle is necessary to promote understanding and to set a clear direction towards formative assessment practice” explains Dr Hassim. The ‘step-in’ referred to by Malaysia’s national researcher occurs when the researcher sees the need to intervene and to give feedback to either the facilitators or the participants during the workshop and the network event session. Whereas on the other hand, ‘step-out’ is used to avoid overdependence of the participants on the researcher.

Teachers and facilitators in Malaysia have been very committed to achieving and promoting promising formative assessment practices. This was evidenced by teachers’ learning circle attendance and reflective practice as well as reports of trailing new formative assessment practice within their classrooms and extending their practice with other teachers within and outside their circles. For example, Teacher Haninah from Circle A indicated in her reflective journal that:

“I need to be more specific on the formative assessment [practice] that is effective to help pupils’ learning so that it is more meaningful and helpful for the pupils. Besides, it also should be able to enhance my teaching and provide reflection so that I can improve myself in using the suitable strategy of pedagogy as well as assessment. I also need to have colleague consultation in order to ensure that I am on the right track and having discussion would help to foster my understanding and improve on the assessment I currently practised.”

In addition to this, learning circle participants in Malaysia also found that a collaborative network is useful for their knowledge development. For example, Teacher Dave (from Circle B) asserted that he:

“Learned different strategies from other participants… [where he found] some ideas are interesting and could be used as the reference where he “also learned more about formative assessment.”

Considering most of the workshop sessions in Malaysia are conducted via an online platform, the willingness to learn is commendable. Teacher Heman (from Circle C) shared his reflection that:

“The virtual meet up had not only given me an opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences on the formative assessment at my school, but it also had been the greatest platform to learn new tools, strategies and techniques shared by many other experienced teachers. The two hours spent in this meeting will surely be useful for years, for me to test and use in my school for the benefits of my students.”

See photos from the most recent workshops as well as network events in Malaysia here. Want to find out more about the T3LFA project in Malaysia or even learn about the work that is taking place across our six other project countries? Take a look at the Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment page.