ACTRC Researcher Presents on Formative Assessment at International Conference

On 22 September 2016, ACTRC Research Officer, Louie Cagasan, represented the Formative Assessment Project team in the international conference on Research and Innovation in Classroom Assessment: International Perspectives organised by Learning Sciences Institute Australia, Australian Catholic University.

This year’s conference theme, Research and Innovation Education Practices that Support Quality Classroom Assessment, provided an opportunity to make the presentation, entitled A picture of formative assessment in the Philippines, to an international audience. The presentation featured data on formative assessment in the Philippines that imply implementation may be context- and culture-dependent. It appears that concepts and frameworks of assessment for learning are generally based on western assumptions, and taking an “angat-patong approach” (Enriquez, 1994) or uncritical adoption of frameworks and concepts, may not be appropriate for Philippine classrooms. 


Cagasan cited two factors that need to be considered in doing formative assessment: class size and power distance (Hofstede, 1986). Philippine classrooms have on average 40 students, though actual numbers vary greatly. Teacher-student interactions mainly follow a pattern in which the teacher initiates the discussion and directs the flow of the class, and students are expected to follow (large power distance). This pattern is at odds with the implicit assumptions of assessment for learning – that class size is manageable (30 students at most) and that teachers and students can “freely” interact.

Four levels of formative assessment practice in the Philippines were highlighted in the presentation. As in the discussion at the research forum held on 6 September 2016, the concept of “next steps” was of interest to the international audience. The important question for Philippines education is how we can help the teacher move to a higher level, and consequently enhance student learning. These results from ACTRC\’s formative assessment study move us one step closer to these goals.

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