Curriculum and Assessment Issues in the Asia-Pacific

In line with a worldwide shift from access to access along with quality learning, there is need to reinforce alignment between educational policies, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment systems. At the same time, however , improving the quality and importance of curriculum and assessment techniques remains a major concern in many nations.

Curriculum should be developed so as to meet the different needs associated with students. An ambitious curriculum delivered at a fast pace may impede the quality of learning among early grade students. When too much information is certainly provided at a fast pace, students may fall behind and may encounter even more difficulties when they progress to higher grades. In India, for instance, the curriculum may be considered too rigid and too content heavy. This might negatively affect student learning, especially as they transition from lower to higher grades. Vietnam, on the other hand, has observed improvements in test results as the curriculum is closely matched in order to its students’ ability to absorb new knowledge and is at the same time, tailored towards the needs of disadvantaged learners.

Second chance programmes, which focus on providing basic numeracy and literacy skills to kids who have dropped out of school, are found to be beneficial in countries such as Bangladesh (BRAC’s education programme) since the curriculum, class and schedule associated with such programmes accurately reflects the truth of the children and communities. Teachers are thus more easily able to develop friendly and supportive learning environments.

Delivering the curriculum in the mother tongue language also has positive effect on teaching and understanding processes. Bilingual programmes that include both mother tongue and a second language ought to be encouraged and sustained over the years in order to reduce learning disparities among students in the longer term. Experiences from different countries demonstrate that when students are taught in their local language, these people excel not only in their second language but also in other subjects in the curriculum.

In addition , offering appropriate reading and learning materials in the mother tongue and encouraging the culture of reading both in plus outside of school helps improve understanding significantly. Short-term reading programme within the Philippines, including age-appropriate reading as well as the training of teachers to better include reading as a curriculum priority, have got succeeded in enhancing children’s reading through skills. Similar success stories are found in South Asian countries like Nepal plus Pakistan, where their programme, Literacy Boost schools, has been used to enhance early grade reading skills through involvement of teachers as well as the community. As a result, many enrolled in the program performed better than their peers.

The curriculum should also respond to the needs of other disadvantaged plus marginalized groups including by being gender-sensitive and recognizing the rights of youngsters with disabilities to receive formal education and learning. For example , implementation of a curriculum that emphasizes gender equality, anti-violence plus reproductive health for 6th plus 7th grade students in Indian resulted in a positive change in students’ mindset towards prevailing social problems such as early marriage and domestic violence.

While improving the curriculum is essential, so too is certainly strengthening assessment. Indeed, assessment is crucial to help teachers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their student and identify further strategies to improve the learning of those who execute relatively poorly. The EFA GMR emphasizes classroom-based assessment as one practical approach to evaluate student performance. Classroom-based assessment enables teachers to provide fast feedback to groups or person students. Another useful approach would be to allow students to monitor their own learning. For instance , the Activity Based Learning Model in Tamil Nadu, India, proved that classroom based learning processes might have large impact. Providing opportunities for students to study at their own pace, without classroom ranking or evaluation, enhanced not only their motivation to study but also their self-esteem.    

Globally, there is expanding recognition that Global Citizenship Training (GCE), which includes transferable skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, plus conflict resolution, are all necessary to deal with issues of environmental sustainability plus peace-building. Many argue these abilities are as important as literacy and numeracy in preparing students for the future. The EFA GMR also highlights the importance of integrating such transferable skills into the curriculum by adapting to national or local contexts. Countries have shown great effort to show environmental sustainability and peace-building by integrating them either as an self-employed subject or into already existing subject matter. For instance, the Philippines, as a nation prone to environmental disasters, integrated tragedy risk reduction into the science plus social studies curriculum. This helps in order to equip children with knowledge means reduce vulnerability when disaster happens.

Ultimately, a great number of challenges to implementing effective curriculum plus assessment can be found in the Asia-Pacific. At the same time, a great number of positive examples demonstrate the truly great value of curriculum and assessment methods that support student learning plus contribute to the development of necessary transferable abilities across the region.

To find out more, please contact Satoko Yano [s.yano(at)] at the Education Plan and Reform Unit.

Written by Tserennadmid Nyamkhuu [t.nyamkhuu(at)]

Related Hyperlinks:

• EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/4

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