Unit 8:How Does MALS Compare With SEEQ?

Welcome to Unit 8

In the previous Unit you learned how one way that had been used globally in schools to measure the quality of education was to ask students for their opinion of the education they were receiving and the performance of the teacher. The Student Evaluation of Education Quality (SEEQ) is a perception test in which students give a rating/score against a number of criteria/indicators organised into a series of categories/dimensions. The SEEQ has 9 dimensions and when all of the students scores are combined a score can be calculated for each of the dimensions such as Learning, Organisation, Assignments. The overall rating of quality is then a combination of scores for all 9 dimensions.

It should be fairly obvious at this stage that these results can be used summatively or formatively in quality assessment. From a summative viewpoint individual teachers, or faculties, or colleges can be compared for example with higher scores suggesting better quality. From a formative viewpoint the scores can be used at ANY level to give feedback to teachers or colleges to then create improvement plans, and this is how ANY such measuring tool should be used.

This should now raise some questions in our minds:

  1. Can the SEEQ be used to measure quality of a whole education system or a single school?
  2. Are the categories etc appropriate?
  3. Is the process appropriate?
  4. Can such a process be used at primary level as well as tertiary level like the SEEQ?

First try to answer these questions and jot down a few notes, then look at another similar tool, the Myself As a Learner Score (MALS)

Before we give you any background to MALS take a look at the version we used in Nepal.



Take a good look at the questionnaire and think about:

  1. How does it differ from SEEQ?
  2. What do you think it is measuring?
  3. How could it be used?

As usual, take a few notes of your views.

MALS was developed by the late Professor Bob Burden, University of Exeter, UK. He published the “Assessing Children’s Perception of Themselves ………” in the School Psychology International Journal, (4), 291 in 1998 and then a long report was published of some of his application of MALS.

In a subsequent article Bob wrote entitled “Ability Alone Is Not Enough: How we think about ourselves matters too”, he made the following points:

  • It is a myth that success in school depends on one’s IQ.
  • Countless studies have shown that measured IQ contributes only 40% to academic success.
  • Sociologists assert that socio-economic factors play a significant role.
  • But, psychologists now assert that children’s motivation is the key.
  • Despite this, it is still unrecognised in many schools that successful learning is as much about the child’s motivation as it is about their innate ability.

Messy isn’t it!

We have probably all got examples of people who were “useless” at school but who somehow did well in final examinations or were extremely successful in later life because they had a strong belief in themselves or had clear and focused goals. This leads us to the concept of self perception and if you want to read more on this search the web for the research of the American psychologist, Carol Dweck. She showed that a student’s view of whether they could perform a task is predetermined OR is open to change/flexible, strongly influences how they cope “when the going gets tough”. Dweck’s research also relates to Martin Seligman’s research on Learned Helplessness and Learned Optimism. In other words, we LEARN to be helpless (I can’t do this) or to be optimistic (I will do this). If you want to explore this topic more try Googling Attribution Theory which is an approach to student motivation we will explore in the Education Psychology Module.

In 2012 we discussed the use of MALS in Nepal with Professor Burden which he was very enthusiastic about. He freely gave us his questionnaire and instructions in return for our translating everything into Nepali language/script for him which we gladly did. This was then added to his growing library of places around the world using MALS which has widened even further since then. Sadly Bob passed away in 2014 and Nepal’s Ministry of Education is a lesser place for not engaging with us to pilot some of Bob’s work to help Nepali primary children.
But we at Nepal Schools Aid acknowledge all of Professor Burden’s contribution to our own knowledge and programmes.
Dr Brian Metters, January, 2016

Please click here to download Ability Alone Is Not Enough: How we think about ourselves matters too”

Comparison of MALS & SEEQ

Now go back to the notes you took about SEEQ and MALS earlier in this Unit. Here are some of our own views:

  1. SEEQ is measuring a student’s perception of their teachers and their learning environment.
  2. MALS is measuring a student’s perception of themselves within their learning environment.
  3. BOTH can be used with primary children above 8 years of age provided careful administration instructions are given.
  4. BOTH have been shown to have high validity and reliability in a range of studies and application around the world.
  5. Perception tests could be a viable tool to measure issues related to Quality Education, PROVIDED the Dimensions and Indicators chosen for the questionnaire relate EXACTLY to the framework of Quality Education used within the school or system.
  6. BOTH tools will provide leading indicators for Quality Education available far in advance of waiting for final outcomes of exam results.
  7. The outputs from BOTH tools can be used to improve the quality of education in any school or education system provided the tools are specifically designed for the country system and Quality Education Framework being used.



Finally, take a look again at the Nepal Quality Education Framework introduced in Unit 5. Three sections, Inputs, Child Needs, Outcomes.
If a modified SEEQ and a modified MALS were to be used in Nepal with our researched framework:

  1. Which section or items could be measured by each?
  2. What changes might have to be made to SEEQ and/or MALS?
  3. What contribution could this make to measuring and developing quality education?


Now click here to go to unit 9, The Nepal QEPT