Conference Papers

Teachers’ Conceptions and Practices of Formative Assessment in Science in Malaysian Primary School

This study set out to qualitatively explore teachers’ conceptions and practices of effective formative assessment in primary school science subject according to three categories of Malaysian primary schools: non-transformation, transformation, and trust schools. The schools were structured accordingly in order to support the implementation of the new curriculum in 2011. Using a phenomenographic approach, the study looked at the ways in which teachers’ conceptions on formative assessment could promote student learning of the science subject. Twenty-five (25) teachers and five (5) school administrators were interviewed to explore and understand their conception on formative assessment. Prior to the interviews, twenty-three (23) lessons were observed in order to get a complete view of how teachers used formative assessment in the classroom. Five (5) policymakers were also interviewed to understand the conceptions and practices of formative assessment from the policy perspective. Thematic analysis using both deductive and inductive approaches was used to identify, analyse and report the emerging themes from the data. Initial findings show that individual teachers perceived formative assessment differently based on the category of schools and the training they have received, both of which have directly influenced their formative assessment practices. This study contributes to knowledge in the field of formative assessment in the Malaysian context. It also shows how formative assessment could promote learning – an argument which has hardly been explored in previous studies. Furthermore, it argues that phenomenography as a methodology design is still underused in exploring conceptions and practices of formative assessment.

Jainal, J. (2019) 'Teachers’ Conceptions and Practices of Formative Assessment in Science in Malaysian Primary School', paper presented to The 15th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 27–28 June, viewed 10 August 2020, <>