On February 7, 2020, Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE) hosted a Policy Roundtable on ‘Moving from Summative to Formative Assessments in Punjab’. As the current Punjab government policy regarding Punjab Education Commission is now in the process of revision and reform, select academics, experts and practitioners gathered at LUMS to review the existing stock of knowledge and information on the assessment experience in Pakistan, aimed towards conceptualising challenges and appropriate solutions in the redesign and implementation of the newly introduced Assessment Policy Framework in Punjab.
The participating organisations included LUMS, CERP, RISE, Punjab Education Commission (PEC), Punjab Education Sector Programme (PESP), Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE), Idara–e–Taleem–o–Agahi (ITA), Akhuwat, Ghazali Education Trust, Teach for Pakistan (TFP), Beaconhouse School System, The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF), AKU-IED, and DFID.
The session moderated by Dr. Faisal Bari (Associate Professor, LUMS SOE and Member, Punjab Education Commission) and Abbas Rashid (Executive Director, Society for the Advancement of Education), focused on concrete steps and actions required as well as the financial, human and organisational resources needed to move the current Punjab Assessment Policy Framework (APF) from a concept to a functioning and robust assessment system. While talking about formative assessments, Prof. Lant Pritchett, (Research Director RISE) said, "Assessment is a necessary tool but it has to be integrated."
The policy roundtable also focused on the lessons learnt from Pakistan’s experience with existing assessments as well as insights from global efforts towards development of effective assessment systems. The session engaged academics and practitioners from private and public education providers to share their experiences on how assessments are administered in their respective organisations, the challenges encountered in implementing various assessment techniques and any changes envisioned in their current practices for a shift towards a more effective assessment system.
While discussing the challenges encountered in scaling up effective assessment practices, Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Associate Dean and Assistant Professor SOE said, "We understand what works but scaling the system is where the challenge lies. How can scale be achieved without compromising quality?"
The discussion provided insights to a working group of students from the first cohort of the SOE MPhil Education Leadership and Management (ELM) to devise a two to five year implementation plan for introducing and scaling up effective formative assessment practices in public schools in line with the PEC-envisioned APF document, and as part of their semester-long Practicum residency program.