Leaders of learning: Teachers in Malaysia use learning circles to introduce innovative formative assessment practice

published 15 March 2024 updated 2 May 2024

Since March 2023, with the support of the National Union of the Teaching Profession Malaysia (NUTP), 30 primary school teachers have transformed learning in classrooms from Penang to Kuala Lumpur through leading the development of formative assessment practices in their schools.

In suburban Kuala Lumpur, the T3LFA project has allowed a primary school teacher to identify that using formative assessment practices, such as exit tickets and class polls, empowers students to become partners in learning through valuing their reflections on the days teaching.

The importance of viewing students as partners in learning by creating joy in the classroom was reiterated by another teacher in Penang. By using learning games such as Magic Dice, where words are stuck to a large foam dice for students to pass around, roll and read aloud, the teacher reported that excitement was created in their classroom increasing attendance because of active engagement.

Not only has the project resulted in the identification of exciting promising formative assessment practices by teachers, but it has also stimulated reflections on implementation. Teachers have noted it is important to use formative assessment: a) frequently so that students become familiar with the process, b) in variation to match the different skills of those present in the classroom and c) flexibly to continue to meet students’ needs by changing strategies where an approach has limited success.

Teachers from Malaysia had the opportunity to share their promising formative assessment practices as well as reflections on their implementation with peers from South Korea during an Asia-Pacific Cross Regional Learning Event in November 2023 and during an Education International webinar on lessons and learning from the event in February 2024.

Clearly, the activities planned as part of the T3LFA project developed creativity among teacher participants by allowing them to develop autonomous practice. The project’s national researcher, Dr Zuwati Hasim, has been engaging with the Education Office at the Curriculum Development Division to promote the sustainability of the project so that more teachers across Malaysia have access to the empowering professional development programme.

Work must continue alongside NUTP beyond the project’s final networking event for participants in Malaysia in April 2024. All teachers must be supported to develop practice that leads learners to succeed regardless of their background.

Want to see photos from and read more about the project in Malaysia or keep up to date with the project’s next phase? Visit the T3LFA project page on the EI website.