Plenary Lecture

The Place of Diagnostic Testing in Preparing Students for 21st Century University Education

Professor T. Subahan Mohd Meerah
Head, Centre for Educational Evaluation
Faculty of Education
The National University of Malaysia

Abstract: University education is not only meant for brightest 10% top of the country students, but open to all that can meet the basic criteria of entrance qualifications. Selection of students into the Malaysian public universities is guided by a quota requirement so as to ensure a representative sample of students based on racial composition of the national population, has access to university education. Thus, those are somewhat deprived of quality education because of this schools locations including marginalized children in the remote areas and handicapped children have a fair chance of gaining access to higher education. As result, the students are not only diverse in composition but also more diverse in terms of their preparation for university education. More and more students are entering universities now than a decade ago. This paper reports on some works to overcome students’ deficiencies preparation for university education in the sciences and engineering. The traditional standardized examination results do not provide what student needs were nor their strength and their weakness to face university education. This paper describes the development of diagnostic tests to identify their needs. One of the areas that have been embarked is the development of diagnostic tests such as mathematic and research skills diagnostic tests, prior knowledge tests for university education in various disciplines. The model emphasizes the need for the development of a system in self-diagnostic in tests and interventions programmes, but informally as student is left to decide whether they need to follow self-diagnose interventions programmes or not. The universities have yet to develop a system of a formalized remedial programmes like those practiced in some universities in the USA, even though some research projects have begun which is presented in this paper.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: T. Subahan Mohd Meerah is a professor in Curriculum and Evaluation at the Faculty of Education, the National University of Malaysia. He has successfully produced over 40 PhD graduates in his field. He has published over 100 papers in journals and proceedings at the national and international level in his area. He has been a consultant in various agencies including World Wide Fund Malaysia, Malaysian Astronomy Agency and Malaysian Examination Syndicate, Ministry of Education and has collaborative research with numbers of universities in Indonesia. He is a member of Chairman Committee Sub Education Programme IYA for National Space Agency. He is known as an expert and lead resource person in many programs such as in the development of module for inculcating science interests in Space Science for the National Astronaut Program in 2006 and also in the technical committee of Instrument Development for a study on ‘Public Understanding of Environment’ National Level, collaboration between WWF, Ministry of Education, University Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia & Department of Environment in 2004 and present. Prof. Datuk Dr. T. Subahan also experienced as a Chief of Writing Module for SPACE Science Education Programme in Conjunction with the Launching for the 1st Malaysian Astronaut to ISS. He is a person who is recognized by the Faculty of Education, The National University of Malaysia as Lead Scholar in research. Currently, he is Head of the Centre for Educational Evaluation at the Faculty of Education, the National University of Malaysia.