The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

A Needs Assessment Study to Improve the Quality of the Thailand National Test





Abstract

This study uses needs assessment research to assess stakeholders’ needs for improving the quality of the Thailand National Test (NT) and its implementation. Related literature was reviewed. To validate the quality of surveys, three experts in the field of educational assessment verified the surveys using questionnaires (Item- Objective Congruence Index) to ensure the content and construct validity. Three types of online surveys with 5-level Likert rating scale questions and open-ended questions were sent to different groups of stakeholders’ representatives (staff from the Bureau of Educational Testing (BET) at the Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Educational Service Areas (ESA) and schools). Surveys were conducted to collect opinions about the current state of and expectations about the NT’s quality and its implementation. SPSS was used to analyze mean and standard deviation of the results. The modified priority needs index (PNI Modified) formula was utilized to prioritize needs and areas to be improved for enhancing NT effectiveness. Content analysis of results from open-ended questions and a focus group interview indicated factors affecting quality of the NT and strategies for making improvements. Results reveal that of the six domains assessed using the PNI Modified formula, the three domains of the NT with the highest identified improvement needs were the test writers domain (PNI modified = 0.22), the test development domain (PNI modified = 0.16), and the scoring domain (PNI modified = 0.08).

Introduction
Continuous changes in society, science and
technology, and economics are inevitable. Some
competencies necessary for the workforce today may not
have as much significance in the future. We need to evolve
our capacity to survive in today’s fast-growing world.
Education is crucial to prepare productive future citizen.
People generally agree that a good education can change
someone’s life because education strengthens people
A b s t r a c t
throung providing knowledge and skills, and influences
how they see the world. Therefore, many countries
prioritize providing high quality education for their
citizens with a goal to prepare them to be ready for and
competitive in the future. There are various elements
of education systems, and the quality of curriculum,
instruction, and assessment, and the link between them,
are significant to a successful system.
In Thailand, the Basic Education Core Curriculum was announced in the year 2008, and the curricula in
some subject areas such as science and mathematics were
revised in the year 2017. The curricula are provided
for implementation with appropriate framework and
guidance to all educational service area offices, local
offices and basic education institutions under jurisdiction
of various agencies. The goal is to provide all Thai
children and youths with high quality education on
important knowledge and skills which will be necessary
for students’ futures in the constantly changing society
and to prepare them for continuous lifelong self-improvement
(The Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E. 2551 [A.D.
2008]). Teachers must design their instructions to be
consistent with the curriculum to make certain that
students will achieve what need to know.
The cycle of teaching and assessment is common.
Good assessment requires a variety of measurement tools
and techniques such as the classical test with different
types of questions from multiple-choices question to
essay-type questions, project-based assignments, portfolios,
and focus groups discussions. Effective assessments that
correspond to curriculum and instructions can give
considerable benefits for test takers and test users – mainly
students, policy makers, teachers and parents.
There are three functions of educational tests:
1) monitoring at a system level, 2) monitoring at the
individual level, and 3) assessment for individual decisions
(Wiegers, 2011). Tests are commonly and widely used
to evaluate students’ learning outcomes. A significant
goal of testing is to give useful information for
students about their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Well-constructed tests will provide valid and useful data
that helps stakeholders to recognize actual students’
abilities (how well students know what they are
expected to know), students’ learning progress, and their
needed areas for improvement or for additional support.
A famous example is the No Child Left Behind Act of
2001 in the United States, which required that students
receive diagnostic reports to allow teachers to address
specific diagnostic needs.
In addition, assessment is one vital part of
educational quality assurance, as data from assessment
reveals how successful the education administration is
at accomplishing its goals and objectives. It reflects the
success of teachers’ instruction and effectiveness of
educational administration and management at the
school level, the ESA level, and the OBEC level. The
information can help policy makers, ESA directors, and
school directors to be aware of their strength and
weakness, which can help influence better quality
decisions about individuals, new policies, new programs,
assignment of educational staff, allocation of budgets,
teachers’ professional development, and other
considerations that affect educational quality. In
summary, the ultimate goal of educational assessment is
to improve educational quality.
However, “not all tests are well developed, nor are
all testing practices wise or beneficial, but there is
extensive evidence documenting the usefulness of
well-constructed, well interpreted tests” (American
Education Research Association [AERA], National
Council on Measurement in Education [NCME], &
American Psychological Association [APA], 2014, p.1).
High quality tests provide useful information to improve
the quality of education, but inaccurate data from poor
tests can cause misunderstanding and misdoing, which
can negatively affect the quality of education.
The NT is one of important national standardized
tests in Thailand, which is used to test third graders’ three
domains of competencies (Literacy, Numeracy, and Reasoning
Abilities). Educators believe that these domains are students’
basic skills and elements for higher thinking skills (Office
of Basic Education Commission [OBEC], 2013).
Furthermore, they are necessary abilities for students at
a young age to be capable of learning advanced knowledge
in the future. The Ministry of Education expects that the
NT results can assist decision makers (i.e., OBEC, ESA
and schools) to make more effective and more relevant
decisions for improvement of Thai education quality.
However, some stakeholders such as teachers have
expressed concerns about the accuracy of NT results and
have commented about the quality of the NT in various
areas, such as test writers, test administration, and scoring.
From literature reviews, most research studies about the
NT were conducted to explore strategies to improve students’
NT scores and to use NT’s findings to promote educational
staff like teachers (Apiwongngarm, n.d.; Danaitamonut,
2013). However, there are no research-based studies
about the NT’s quality issues. As a result, this research
study was conducted to explore the NT stakeholders’
needs to improve the quality of the NT in Thailand.
The study purposes are to identify components of the NT
and study the current state of the test both in terms of
quality and test implementation. Moreover, the
researchers aim to identify stakeholder priority
improvement needs for the success of the NT, and to
suggest strategies for the improvement of the NT based
on the results of the study.

Key words: National Test, Needs Assessment, Standardized Test, Standard of Testing
     
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