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Friday, February 14, 2020

CEFR Parallel Assessments in PT3, UPSR and SPM

Last year (2019), PT3 students received grading on their English language proficiency using CEFR standards. Many parents were confused because they did not know about the adoption of CEFR in Malaysia. They also did not understand the grading under CEFR.

What is CEFR and Adoption of CEFR in Malaysia

CEFR is the Common European Framework for Languages. It is an international standard for describing language ability and is used in many countries. CEFR is widely accepted by many countries as an international framework for language teaching, learning and assessment.

Malaysia adopted CEFR under the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013 - 2025) and Roadmap for English Language Education Reform (2015 - 2025).

With a common framework ie the CEFR,  teachers or learners, employers and educational institutions can see and compare the level of English qualifications of one learner with another. A learner who receives the same grade under the CEFR is similarly qualified irrespective of which school or country they are from.

Implementation of CEFR- aligned curriculum for Malaysian schools
The CEFR-aligned curriculum for both SK and SJK is implemented in stages, beginning with Years l and 2 in 2018. Under this new curriculum, Listening and Speaking are treated as separate skills instead of combined as in the past, and all five language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Language Arts) are developed based on the CEFR. Phonics is covered separately.

The CEFR-aligned curriculum for Malaysian secondary schools is implemented in stages, beginning with Forms 1 and 2 in 2018. Under this new curriculum, Listening and Speaking are treated as separate skills instead of combined as in the past, and all four language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) are developed based on the CEFR proficiency levels. Grammar (taught in Language Awareness lessons) and vocabulary are integrated in lessons focusing on the four skills as well as Literature in Action.

CEFR Grading

CEFR describes language ability on a six point scale, from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered the language.

Pre-A1, A1, A2 = Basic User
B1, B2 = Independent User
C1, C2 = Proficient User

Go to this link to view the CEFR Global Scale with details of each level and what it means.

Parallel Assessments in PT3, UPSR and SPM

The first parallel assessment of Common European Framework of Reference For Language (CEFR) was implemented at the Form Three Assessment (PT3) examination level for the English Language paper in 2019. (Note that students need not sit for an extra exam paper. They are merely assessed twice for the same English paper they sat for.)

Parallel assessment of the English Language paper would be implemented for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in 2021 and Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) in 2022.

"Although the highest grade was C2, equivalent to the proficiency of an English native speaker, PT3 questions were set at B1 level. SPM, would start with the new CEFR format in 2021 with the hope that students would have acquired at least the B1 level. UPSR would follow suit in 2022 with A2 set as the highest grade."  (Ref: First CEFR assessment via PT3 english paper)

Using CEFR aligned books

Parents and educators should use CEFR aligned books as teaching material to guide students and prepare them for their examinations. When buying specific English Language Teaching books, parents and teachers should look out for “CEFR-aligned curriculum”.


This post was brought to you by Oxford Fajar Malaysia. Oxford Fajar has a range of ELT (English Language Teaching) books that are CEFR aligned. Oxford Fajar is a subsidiary of Oxford University Press, the world's leading authority on the English Language. Every year more than 33 million students use Oxford materials to learn English.  


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Friday, February 07, 2020

Preparing your child with 21st century learning (PAK-21)

Parents, have you noticed that the kids are doing more projects at school nowadays? This is because schools are now embracing 21st Century Learning.

What is 21st century learning (PAK21) in Malaysian schools context?

21st Century Learning, or Pembelajaran Abad ke-21 (PAK21), refers to the MOE’s initiative which champions a student-centred learning process that is steered by five elements of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and values and ethics (4C1V).  PAK21, which was formulated in the second wave of Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, has been ongoing for three years.

Five Elements of Communication (4C1V)
  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Creativity
  5. Values and ethics

As parents we need to understand this initiative so that we can guide and support our children

Teachers are bringing appropriate 21st century (PAK-21) activities to the classroom. Activities that are designed with the 4Cs in mind, take into account that students are practicing communication and collaboration with their peers and teachers in school, and through that they are tasked to think critically.

As an example in Year 6, Science, Chapter 5; the child is learning about ‘The Importance of Keeping a Balanced Ecosystem’. The activity suggestion below acts as a guide to teachers and is taken from Oxford Fajar’s Zoom series.

Oxford Fajar’s Zoom series, both student and teacher edition

Source: Page 39, Zoom Sains Tahun 6 SK 19/20 Panduan Guru

How can we help our kids embrace 21st Century Learning (PAK-21)?

21st Century Learning encourages students to be digitally savvy, be globally aware and engaged as 21st century citizens.
Below are some ways we can help our kids embrace 21st Century Learning.

1. Exposure. One of the ways we can help our children become more globally aware is to talk to them about things that are happening around the world. Read the papers or online news together with them and discuss.

2. Safety. Another very important aspect about 21st Century Learning is the digital aspect. As kids become more digitally savvy,  parents need to educate kids about how to be a responsible digital citizen. As a responsible digital citizen, one must know how to use technology appropriately and operate online safely and knowledgeably. 

3. Culture - As internet opens up borders worldwide, we must teach our kids to be more culturally aware by being more knowledgeable about other cultures and languages. The best time to do this is during the primary school years.

4. Support - As parents we should be aware about what kinds of activities the school is doing to expose the kids to 21st Century Learning. We can help the children by guiding them at home with the given projects and activities. The keyword is guiding and supporting and not doing it for them. 

5. Co-curricular Activities - We can also help our children embrace 21st Century Learning by choosing after school activities or extra co-curricular activities that support 21st Century Learning, eg, Coding programs, Public Speaking, Digital art or other activities that encourage team work, communication, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking.

Parents and schools working together will help our children transition into 21st Century Learning smoothly. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Education Going Digital - Are you keeping up?

We are currently seeing a digital transformation in education. Just like every other aspect of life that is going digital, education is also being digitalized.

When classrooms go digital, students receive so much more exposure in the form of e-textbooks with multimedia content such as videos, audios, interactive presentations or quizzes and hyperlinks that lead you to more information on the subject being studied.

Are we keeping up with digitalization in education?

Digital products and companion websites offer students additional access to content on the go

Recognizing a need to incorporate print and digital resources, Oxford Fajar has in its key print series provided additional ready-to-use learning and teaching resources as a value-add in their product offering.

The resources such as videos and website links help students deepen their understanding of certain topics, additional exercises, and audio files for listening components in English and Malay language. These resources are developed to complement Oxford Fajar titles and are tailored closely to each specific title. Students will find this beneficial as all its contents are aligned to the latest syllabuses.

This provides students the tools to take guided control of their learning.

Look out for CW logo (Companion Website Logo) in your Oxford Fajar print books and explore the companion resources.

Other than print books, Oxford Fajar also has interactive ebooks and apps which allow students to study on the go.

Below are some of the digital products being offered by Oxford Fajar.

Fully Worked Solutions ebook for SPM, STPM and Matriculation students - includes step-by-step workings and examples to introduce concepts, build understanding and help students explore subjects like mathematics and science in a more fun and interactive way.

Memory Booster Plus app - effective digital study cards for SPM students for quick revision on the go

Have you tried using digital resources before? Oxford Fajar is offering 50% off on Memory Booster App on Google Play Store starting today! Additionally, all  Mumsgather followers get a 50% discount with the discount code MUMSGATHER50 on Oxford Fajar’s e-learning site. First come first serve limited to the first 100 buyers. Key in the discount code upon checkout when purchasing Oxford Fajar's Digital Solution Books. This discount code is valid till 31 March 2020.

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