Assessment for the 21st Century in Higher Education Institution: Way Forward

  • Sharifah Mazlina Syed Khuzzan
  • Mazura Mahdzir


Malaysia’s education system has been known as being vey exam oriented; written exams have always been our culture in assessing learners’ understanding, knowledge and skills. However, with the 21st century, not all can be assessed through examination since the results do not really reflect their competency especially in their employment skills (ie, social skills, critical thinking skills).  This ‘wrong signal’ given to the employers are said to be affecting the construction industry as most employers believed that the graduates were still far from reaching their expectations and demands. Therefore, by using content-based analysis, this paper will make a comparative study on various types of assessment used in HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) and tease out the similarities and differences in embedding each assessment in the classroom management. From the findings, it was found that the existing types of assessment contain some challenges in the process of implementing it towards learners. Due to this reason, it has been considered failed to fully measured the learners’ competency in soft skills. Looking into all issues, a conceptual framework related to holistic assessment is proposed, which aims to improve learners’ competency for better employability skills.


Abdulaziz Aljaloud, William Billingsley, Nicolas Gromik & Paul Wing Hing Kwan. (2015). Research trends in student response systems: A literature review. International Journal of Learning Technology, 4(10), 313-325. 

Akubuilo, F. (2012). Holistic Assessment of Student’s Learning Outcome. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(12), 56-60.
Amo, E., & Jareno, F. (2011). Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment as Active Learning Methods. Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes,18 ,41-47.
Atwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?. Elearning Papers, 2(1), 1-8.
Bonk, C.J., & Olson, T.M. (2002). Learning from Focus Groups: An Examination of Blended Learning. Journal of Distance Education, 17(3), 97-118.
Boud, D., & Falchikov, N. (Eds.). (2007). Rethinking assessment in higher education: Learning for the longer term. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Carless, D. (2015). Exploring learning-oriented assessment processes. Higher Education, 69(6), 963-976.
Carroll, J.M., & Borge, M. (2007) Articulating case-based learning outcomes and assessment. Int. J. Teaching and Case Studies, 1 (1/2), 33–49.
Castaneda, L., Dabbagh, N., & Torres-Kompen, R. (2017). Personal Learning Environments: Research-Based Practices, Frameworks and Challenges. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 6(1), 1-2.
Cauley, K.M., & McMillan, J.H. (2010). Formative Assessment Techniques to Support Student Motivation and Achievement. 83(1), 1-6.
Dillenbourg, P. (1999). What do you mean by collaborative leraning?. In P. Dillenbourg (Ed) Collaborative-learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches, 1-19.
Douglas, M., Wilson, J., & Ennis, S. (2012). Multiple-choice question tests: a convenient, flexible and effective learning tool? A case study. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49(2), 111-121.
Elisa Amo & Francisco Jareno. (2011). Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment as Active Learning Methods. Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes,18,41-47.
Espinosa, L.F. (2015). Effective Use of Performance-based Assessments to Identify English Knowledge and Skills of EFL Students in Ecuador. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(12), 2441-2447.
Felder, R.M., & Brent, R. (2010). Random Thoughts. Hard assessment of soft skills. Chemical Engineering Education, 44(1), 63-64.
Gaab, J., Sonderegger, L., Scherrer, S., & Ehlert, U. (2006). Psychoneuroendocrine effects of cognitive-behavioral stress management in a naturalistic setting—a randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology 31:428–438.
Gilles, J. L., Detroz, P., & Blais, J. G. (2011). An international online survey of the practices and perceptions of higher education professors with respect to the assessment of learning in the classroom. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(6), 719-733.
Gordon, N. A. (2010). Enabling Personalised Learning through Formative and Summative Assessment. In J. O'Donoghue (Ed.), Technology-Supported Environments for Personalized Learning: Methods and Case Studies, 268-284. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-884-0.ch015
Irenka, Suto., & Helen, Eccles. (2014). The Cambridge approach to 21st Century skills: definitions, development and dilemmas for assessment, 1-10.
Jarvela, S. (2006). Chapter 2
Personalised Learning?
New Insights into Fostering Learning Capacity. Personalising Education, 31-46.
Jilan, S., & Yuehong, S. (2011). Promoting Blended Learning Strategies Based on the Participatory Instructional Design Concept. Engineering Education and Management, LNEE 111, 543–547.
Jimaa, S. (2011). The impact of assessment on students learning. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 28, 718 – 721.
Kember, D., Ho , A., & Hong, C. (2010). Characterising a teaching and learning environment capable of motivating student learning. Learning Environ Res, 13, 43–57.
Maizatun Mustafa. (2011). A First Attempt At Problem-Based Learning (PBL): The Experience With First-Year Undergraduates. Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 7(13), 2305-2315,
McDonald, B. (2012). Portfolio assessment: direct from the classroom. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37, 335–347.
Morohashi, J., & Nyamkhuu, T. (2019). Challenges in integrating 21st century skills into education systems.
Muskin, J.A. (2015). Student Learning Assessment and the Curriculum: issues and implications for policy, design and implementation, 1-29.
M. Surat., N.A.G Abdullah., M.M. Tahir., M.F.I.M. Nor., & N.Utaberta. (2011). An Effective Teaching and Learning Approach for the Architectural Program with Reference to the Framework of Educational Psychology. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 227–234.
Ng, V., Koh, D., Mok, BY., Chia SE., & Lim, LP. (2003). Salivary biomarkers associated with academic assessment stress among dental undergraduates. J Dent Educ 67:1091–1094.
Parmjit Singh, Suthagar Narasuman, & Roslind Xaviour Thambusamy. (2012). Refining teaching and assessment methods in fulfilling the needs of employment: A Malaysian perspective. Future, 44,136-147.
Rawlusyk, P. (2016). Exploring Assessment Practices in Higher Education: A Focus on Learning-oriented Assessment. Northcentral University.
Pastitrik, P.J (2006). Using problem-based learning in a large classroom. Nurse Education in Practice, 6, 261–267.
Phelps., R. P. (2014). Synergies for better learning: An international perspective on evaluation and assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 21(4), 481-493.
Price, J.K., Pierson, E., and Light, D. (2011). Using Classroom Assessment to Promote 21st Century Learning in Emerging Market Countries. Paper presented at Global Learn Asia Pacific 2011, Melbourne Australia.
Premuzic, T.C., Arteche, A., Bremner, A.J., Greven.,C and Furnham, A. (2010): Soft skills in higher education: importance and improvement ratings as a function of individual differences and academic performance. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 30(2), 221-241.
Rajagopal, Kamakshi. (2011, July 10-12). Supporting Network Awareness: easing learners’ journeys or challenging them to see? Paper presented at the Proceedings of The PLE Conference, Southampton, UK: University of Southampton.
Rawlusyk, P.E. (2018). Assessment in Higher Education and Student Learning. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 21, 1-34
Riebe, L., & Jackson, D. (2014). The Use of Rubrics
in Benchmarking and Assessing Employability Skills. Journal of Management Education, 38(3) 319–344.
Sampson, D., Karagiannidis, C., & Kinshuk. (2002). Personalised Learning: Educational, Technological and Standardisation Perspective. Interactive Educational Multimedia, 4, 24-39.
Santos, C., Aresta, M., Pedro, L., & Moreira, A. (2011, July 10-12) .Learning beyond the curriculum: PLE and the development of soft-skills. Paper presented at the Proceedings of The PLE Conference 2011, 10th - 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK. University of Southampton.
Santally, M. I., & Senteni, A. (2013). Effectiveness of Personalised Learning Paths on Students Learning Experiences in an e‐Learning Environment. European Journal of Open, Distance and e‐Learning 16 (1).36-52.
Saroyan, A., & Snell, L.S. (1997).Variations in Lecturing Styles. Higher Education, 33(1), 85-104.
Schoofs, D., Hartmann, R., & Wolf, O. T. (2008). Neuroendocrine stress responses to an oral academic examination: No strong influence of sex, repeated participation and personality traits. Stress, 11(1), 52-61.
Scott-Webber, L. (2012). Institutions, educators, and designers: Wake up!: Current teaching and learning places along with teaching strategies are obsolete-teaching styles and learning spaces must change for 21st-century needs. Planning for Higher Education, 41(1), 265.
Shui-fong, L., Rebecca W. Cheng., & William Y. K. Ma. (2009). Teacher and student intrinsic motivation in project-based learning. Instr Sci, 37, 565–578.
Sile, C. (2006). The tutor’s approach in base groups (PBL). Higher Education, 51, 373–385.
Trevelyan, R., & Wilson, A. (2012). Using patchwork texts in assessment: Clarifying and categorising choices in their use. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 37(4), 487-498.
Taras, M. (2005). Assessment – summative and formative – some theoretical reflections. British Journal of Educational Studies, 53(4), 466-478.
Taras, M. (2010). Assessment for learning: assessing the theory and evidence. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 3015-3022.
Tynjak lak, P. (1999).Towards expert knowledge? A comparison between a constructivist and a traditional learning environment in the university. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 357-442.
Urha, M., Vukovic,G., Jereb, E., & Rok Pintar. (2015). The model for introduction of gamification into e-learning in higher education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,197, 388 – 397.
Van den Bergh, V., Mortelmans, D., Spooren, P., Petegem, P.V., Gijbels, D., & Vanthournout, G. (2006). New assessment modes within project-based education – the stakeholders. Studies in Educational Evaluation. 32, 345–368.
Verpoorten, D., Glahn,C., Kravcik, M., Ternier, S., &Specht, M. (2009). Personalisation of Learning in Virtual Learning Environments.
Warburton, S. (2009). Out of control – managing our digital reputations..
Yoong Suan, Quek Weng Kim (2013). Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025). Pre School to Post Secondary Education : Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia
How to Cite
SYED KHUZZAN, Sharifah Mazlina; MAHDZIR, Mazura. Assessment for the 21st Century in Higher Education Institution: Way Forward. International Journal of Advanced Research in Education and Society, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 35-46, june 2020. ISSN 2682-8138. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 apr. 2024.