Development of the Pacific’s first regional science assessment underway

Nadi
SPC

The Pacific Assessment for Lower Secondary (PALS) Science Capacity Building workshop not only focussed on the preparation of the PALS second pilot but also paved a pathway for the region’s first science assessment.

The Pacific Community (SPC) gathered representatives from across the region in Nadi, Fiji, in March 2024 with the aim of building capacity and reviewing the outcomes from the first PALS pilot.

SPC’s Educational Assessment Specialist, Dr Gemma Escott, explained that science subject experts from the Ministries of Education across the region collaborated to review the outcomes from the first PALS pilot to draft items for use in the second pilot in July 2024.

SPC

The four-day workshop also equipped participants with science assessment design skills.

The participants benefitted from this workshop by being a part of the process of drafting the new regional science assessment framework where there was none previously, and this strengthened their assessment development knowledge, and they have been provided with resources to share this with colleagues in their respective countries,” said Dr Escott.

Escott added that participants successfully created science items for the second pilot of the new lower secondary assessment items and tools, which will be tested later this year in Palau, Niue, Kiribati and Vanuatu.

The Republic of Marshall Islands’ Ministry of Education, Sports and Training/Public School System‘s Science Curriculum Specialist, Vladimir Golochino, stated that the workshop allowed him to delve deeper into assessment practices specific to science education.

By analysing data from various assessment methods, I can identify trends, strengths, and areas for improvement, and I can also now assess the impact of these tools on student learning outcomes,” said Golochino.

He further added that by being part of the workshop, he will contribute to educational advancement in the Pacific region, as “PALS serves as a compass, guiding educational practices toward student success and system-wide growth. Its impact extends beyond the classroom, shaping the future of Pacific education.”

Dr Escott explained that “SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) and ACER teams will utilise the items created to develop the assessment papers for the second pilot.”

We will also be establishing a Science Professional Learning Network for the participants in order to keep the collaboration going between the regional representatives,” Escott emphasised.

PALS is aligned with the “Student Outcomes and Wellbeing” component of the Pacific Regional Education Framework (PacREF). The framework is narrowly focussed, demand-responsive and built on the need to develop the region’s capacity to deliver high-quality education services.

EQAP will continue working with the Pacific region in strengthening their assessment skills through workshops, training and the delivery of micro-qualifications in assessment instrument development for the region.

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