Expert team to evaluate Malaysian students' skills in English

LONDON - THE Education Ministry has commissioned a study by expert in language assessment, Cambridge English, to evaluate the proficiency of Year One to Form Six students in English in order that further improvements can be made to the teaching and learning process based on its findings.

The initial results of the study under the Malaysia Cambridge Baseline Project will be released by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his working visit here. The deputy prime minister and education minister arrived here yesterday for his three-day visit.

Deputy Education director-general (policy and education development) Datuk Dr Amin Senin said here yesterday this was the first time such a comprehensive review of English language proficiency among students was being conducted.

He said the findings of the study, which commenced last year, would enable the ministry to set realistic and achievable targets for the future of teaching and learning of English.

"This significant study will measure the English language proficiency of students and establish an evidence-based baseline. We want to know where our students stand in English language proficiency based on the evidence gleaned during the study. We cannot be undertaking adjustments based merely on a prevailing perception of students' command of the language.

"The study will also review current assessment practices by analysing examinations, test specifications and exam results at the end of primary school, lower secondary and upper secondary levels ending at Form Six.

"Recommendations by Cambridge English will be taken into consideration and adjustments to teaching and learning practices will be undertaken from this year after the proposals are reviewed by the ministry.

"Some countries have already adopted the Common European Framework Reference by Cambridge English and customised it to the needs of their countries."

Muhyiddin, during his working visit, will also join the largest gathering of education ministers in the world at the 11th Education World Forum 2014 (EWF 2014). He will speak on the decade ahead for education in Malaysia during a plenary ministerial session at the forum. EWF, held for the first time in 2004, is an internationally recognised ministerial forum and will be attended this year by 97 ministers from 100 countries at two venues here -- Westminster Conference Centre and Excel Exhibition and Conference Centre here.

Muhyiddin will also be visiting Imperial College for a courtesy meeting with its Provost, Professor James Stirling, as well as witness the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the college and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia to launch the UTM Centre for Low-Carbon Transport.

He is also scheduled to have dinner with the United Kingdom and Eire Council executive council 2013/2014 and a breakfast meeting with members of Kelab Umno United Kingdom.

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