2017 Bangkok Workshop

Topic: Assessment in Outcome-Based Education (OBE): Best Pratices at UTHM, Malaysia



Alina Shamsuddin

Associate Professor
Deputy Dean (Teaching, Learning & Academic Training)
Centre for Academic Development & Training / Faculty of Technology Management & Business

CM Chan

Chee-Ming Chan

Associate Professor
Deputy Dean (Academic & Research)
Centre for Graduate Studies / Faculty of Engineering Technology

Outcome-based education (OBE) is arguably the most prevalent teaching and learning system adopted worldwide these days. The philosophy underlying OBE is essentially to gauge a student’s performance in a progressive manner, and to pace learning to best suit the learner for effective learning. The clear outcomes outlined at the beginning of a course enable learners to anticipate the level of knowledge and skills expected of them. With no specified teaching style, the delivery of learning materials are subjected to a variety of delivery approaches deemed appropriate for the subject matter and diversity of learners. In addition, the student-centred learning model ensures active students’ participation in class to cultivate a sense of responsibility towards their own learning. This would result in deep learning to create a good mastery of the related fundamentals bridged with practical implications. In OBE, emphasis is placed on activities and opportunities introduced to guide students towards achievement of the specific goals predetermined for the course. The tool to measure students’ attainment of the learning objectives is assessment, which is aligned with the tasks assigned throughout the duration of a course. Individual performance can be accurately measured based on the pre-set yardstick, independent of the work and achievement of other students in the same course. This is perhaps the most unique feature of OBE assessment, i.e. avoiding reference to the ‘norm’ derived from a normal curve of the sampled students to determine individual performance. The activities and tasks can be conducted individually or in groups, depending on the scope, nature and criteria of the assigned work. Assessment is continuous and carried out at specified intervals, though it can be categorised as formative or summative where the final examination encompassing all topics covered in the course would be the terminal assessed instalment. Feedbacks to students for each task assessed is important to help each student to identify his/her strengths and weaknesses, ensuring progress of their learning as per the learning plan. It follows that the instructor bears the responsibility to plan, develop and administer assessment of the students’ work accordingly. These specific criteria and outcomes would act as an integral part of the assessment exercise against inconsistency or unfairness, safeguarding the transparency of assessment and adherence to standards. In short, ‘real’ assessment is made irrespective of who assesses, and who is being assessed. This lecture aims to demonstrate essence of the online Student Assessment System developed in-house at UniversitiTun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), which embodies the basis and philosophy of OBE as described above: Our journey towards full implementation of OBE at UTHM.

Keywords: outcome-based education, learning outcomes, learning activities, assessment, feedbacks