Assessment for Learning Reform in Singapore – Quality, Sustainable or Threshold?

  • Kelvin Tan
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 14)


The education system in Singapore has been transformed since its independence from colonial British rule in 1965. Reforms have occurred in three distinct phases: the survival phase from 1959 to 1978; the efficiency phase from 1979 to 1996; and the ability-driven phase from 1997 to the present. This chapter concentrates on assessment reform in Singapore in the third phase, and examines its impact on the nature and quality of students’ learning, with particular reference to assessment for learning initiatives in schools. It argues that assessment reform in Singapore tends to emphasize and perpetuate structural efficiency at the expense of the quality of learning. It suggests that the notion of a threshold level of reform (Trafford & Leshem, 2009) could be a useful way of framing assessment reform in order to achieve a sustainable level of transformation.


Formative Assessment Assessment Practice Sustainable Assessment Assessment Task Summative Assessment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Policy and Leadership Studies DepartmentNational Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore

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