Concept of IPAS Learning Design to Support the Implementation of Minimum Competency Assessment

Universitas Negeri Semarang/Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences/Professor Room/Concept of IPAS Learning Design to Support the Implementation of Minimum Competency Assessment
Prof. Dr. Ani Rusilowati, M.Pd.

Prof. Dr. Ani Rusilowati, M.Pd. is a professor in the field of Educational Evaluation at FMIPA UNNES. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics Education (IKIP Semarang), followed by Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Research and Educational Evaluation (UNY). Among the courses she teaches are Physics Learning Evaluation, Statistics, Research Methods in Education, and Evaluation and Supervision of Science Education. She specializes in educational research and evaluation. Among the books she has written are Development of Basic Science Reading Ability Tests Based on Cognitive Psychology and Educational Research: Theory and Applications. Email address: rusilowati[@]


The quality of education in Indonesia, particularly in literacy, including reading, science, and mathematics, is still unsatisfactory. This is evident from reports by several international organizations regarding the competitiveness of our human resources compared to other countries. Research conducted by the International Educational Achievement (IEA), the International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) consistently show that the literacy levels of Indonesian students in reading, science, and mathematics are consistently lower compared to other countries. TIMSS data from 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011 revealed that the science literacy scores of Indonesian students have never been among the top positions. In 2015, Indonesia ranked 44th out of 47 participants (Martin, 2016). Similarly, the PISA assessments from 2000 to 2018 consistently placed Indonesia at the bottom. In 2018, Indonesia ranked 72nd out of 77 countries in reading literacy and 70th out of 78 countries in science literacy (OECD, 2018).

The government has made efforts to improve students’ literacy skills in reading, science, and mathematics through the implementation of thematic, student-centered learning. However, the results are still unsatisfactory. The government policy of implementing a curriculum that emphasizes thematic/integrated learning aims to help students understand subjects in a holistic and integrated manner. However, the implementation of integrated learning in schools is not easy. Supporting factors such as teachers’ mindset and abilities, availability of textbooks, and other learning resources need to be prepared to ensure that curriculum changes have a positive impact on the quality of education. The government’s latest policy is the implementation of national assessments, including Minimum Competency Assessments (AKM), character surveys, and environmental surveys. The hope is that this policy will boost international literacy levels in reading, science, and mathematics. The AKM with literacy and numeracy assessments is aligned with the assessments conducted by TIMSS and PISA. Another policy is the implementation of a prototype curriculum, which includes integrating science (IPA) and social studies (IPS) into IPAS.

Competencies in literacy and numeracy can be developed through integrated learning, such as IPAS, combining science and social studies. The integration of science and social studies (referred to as IPAS) is one of the learning solutions to improve literacy and numeracy competencies. The design of integrated IPAS learning that incorporates literacy and numeracy needs to be developed. Environmental and social issues are universal contexts that can be used as test contexts for literacy, both at personal, regional, and global levels. Science and social studies content can be used as the content for literacy and numeracy assessments. The availability of this design can help the government in achieving teacher competencies in preparing students’ literacy and numeracy skills. This IPAS learning design can serve as a reference for teachers, especially in elementary schools, in planning lessons that enhance students’ literacy and numeracy competencies.

IPAS Learning Design Concept

Learning design is a systematic process based on educational theories, learning strategies, and specifications to promote quality learning experiences (Mustaro et al., 2017). The development of learning design is based on the selection of organized sequential components, information, data, and theoretical principles at each stage. The design product is tested in real-world situations during the development process (Gredler, 2001).

Learning design can also be used as a procedure to consistently and reliably develop educational and training curricula (Branch & Merrill, 2012). The development of learning design is a complex, creative, active, and iterative process (Gustafson & Branch, 2002) designed systematically to ensure the quality of learning implementation (Kurt, 2017).

Based on the opinions of experts, it can be concluded that learning design is defined as the creation of learning plans and tools that consider the needs of students, define learning objectives, design learning tasks/assessments, and plan teaching and learning activities to ensure quality learning. One learning design to improve literacy and numeracy competencies in Minimum Competency Assessments (AKM) is the IPAS learning design. This design focuses on integrating cross-disciplinary content, namely science (IPA) and social studies (IPS), with literacy and numeracy.

Supporting features of the integrated IPAS learning design include (1) mapping integrable content, (2) appropriate learning models, (3) syllabi, (4) lesson plans, (5) supportive teaching materials, (6) suitable learning media, and (7) instruments to measure literacy and numeracy. The development of these supporting features is adjusted to the characteristics of students and presented in a contextual manner to facilitate students in acquiring literacy and numeracy competencies.

The development of learning design can refer to the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) by Dick & Carrey (1996). The analysis phase is used to describe the actual learning problem that needs to be solved. This phase involves analyzing the environment and learning needs. Activities in the analysis phase include: (1) identifying the essential competencies for IPAS, (2) determining competence achievement indicators, (3) formulating learning objectives, (4) mapping integrated IPAS content with literacy and numeracy into themes and sub-themes, and (5) analyzing students’ learning needs.

The next phase is design, which involves determining alternative solutions to address the learning problem. Designing the specifications for an effective and efficient learning process is adjusted to the environment and students’ learning needs. A learning program designer needs to determine the appropriate solution from various alternatives available. Activities in this phase include designing the learning model and its supporting features, including syllabi, lesson plans, teaching materials, learning media, and evaluation tools. The product in this phase is a hypothetical product.

The development phase involves applying the design to address the encountered problem. Activities in this phase include (1) developing the IPAS learning model according to the design, (2) validating the product with experts, and (3) conducting product trials as formative evaluations. Content validation is done by academics, and readability tests are done by practitioners (teachers).

The implementation phase is the application of the product in teaching and learning, gathering data on the effectiveness and practicality of the product. The final phase is evaluation, which assesses the effectiveness and practicality of the developed product in improving students’ literacy and numeracy. The evaluation results can be used as a basis for determining whether the design can be implemented in the learning process. This phase involves summative evaluation activities.


IPAS is a combination of science (IPA) and social studies (IPS). IPAS is closely related to nature and human interactions. IPAS learning needs to provide relevant contexts related to the natural conditions and the students’ environment (Team, 2021). IPAS also plays an important role in developing literacy and numeracy competencies. Currently, literacy and numeracy are generally understood only in relation to the subjects of Indonesian language and Mathematics. Therefore, there is a need to develop IPAS that can be connected with literacy and numeracy. This way, students can better understand the content and context of IPAS subjects, strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills, and apply them in their daily lives.

Science or Sains is a collection of knowledge and ways to obtain and utilize that knowledge. Science has three inseparable components: products, scientific processes, and scientific attitudes. Therefore, learning science means learning about products, processes, and attitudes. Science as a product means that science is an organization of facts, concepts, procedures, principles, and laws of nature. Science as a process explains that scientific findings are obtained through the scientific process or scientific work. Science as an attitude means that a scientific attitude underlies the scientific process, which is useful in producing scientific products.

Social studies (IPS) is knowledge that examines events, facts, and concepts related to the social sciences. Through IPS learning, students are directed to become Indonesian citizens with broad social insights, democratic values, and responsibilities, as well as global citizens who value peace.

The integration of science (IPA) and social studies (IPS) forms the basis for developing more contextual literacy and numeracy content because IPA subjects receive support from the contextual conditions of society in daily life provided by IPS.


AKM (National Assessment of Student Competencies) is part of the national assessment conducted for students. The competencies measured through AKM are literacy and numeracy. The implementation of AKM started in 2021. AKM aims to deeply measure students’ competencies, not just the content. The national AKM is administered to students starting from grade 5, while AKM Kelas (Class AKM) is administered starting from grade 2. The components measured in AKM include content, context, and process. This is in line with the domains measured in international assessments such as TIMSS and PISA (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2020).

The national AKM is conducted for grades 5, 8, and 11. The components of the AKM instrument include cognitive content, context, and process. The literacy content includes informational texts and fictional texts. The numeracy content includes numbers, measurement and geometry, data and uncertainty, and algebra. The context indicates the life aspects or situations used for the content, such as personal, social-cultural, and scientific contexts. The cognitive process in literacy reading is divided into three levels: finding information, interpretation and integration, and evaluation and reflection. In numeracy, it is also divided into three levels: understanding, application, and reasoning.

Science Literacy

Science education is crucial in daily life. Science education prepares students to think and understand natural phenomena or events using scientific methods, similar to what scientists do (NRC, 1996). Science education also prepares students to be responsible citizens regarding events around them, such as global warming or other occurrences (Sahlan & Rusilowati, 2012). There are at least four main elements in science education: (1) building students’ knowledge of scientific concepts (cognitive), (2) developing students’ critical reasoning skills in scientific activities (psychomotor), (3) helping students understand the processes and how events occur, not just knowing the facts (how they know, not what they know), and (4) training students to collaborate and develop a scientific attitude (social and affective aspects) (Osborne, 2007).

Holbrook & Rannikmae (2007) propose three domains in science education: social domain, personal domain, and the nature of science domain. In the social domain, science education is expected to equip students with social values such as collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making. In the personal domain, students equip themselves for their future with intellectual abilities, intellectual attitudes, and communication skills. The last domain is the nature of science, which involves building science through the framework of scientific investigation, including scientific methods used by scientists. From the above explanations, it can be concluded that preparing students for the future in both personal and social dimensions is the essence of science learning in the classroom.

Science literacy is the ability of students to use scientific concepts and apply them in daily life, explain scientific phenomena, and describe them based on scientific evidence (OECD, 2007; Shwartz, Ruth & Hofstein, 2006; Bybee, McCrae & Luria, 2009). Science and social literacy are the goals of 21st-century science education curricula in various countries (Millar, 2006). Some topics or subjects developed are contextual and easily found in students’ daily lives, such as air quality, health, disasters, and others.

Important aspects of science and social literacy include (1) understanding scientific and social concepts and their applications in daily life, (2) the process of scientific and social inquiry, (3) understanding the nature of science and social studies, and (4) understanding the relationship between science, technology, and society (Chi Lau, 2009). Shwartz et al. (2006) added that science and social literacy vary for each individual. This is due to several factors such as age, experience, knowledge, and environment. Therefore, on this occasion, the developed literacy skills include four aspects: context, competency, knowledge, and attitudes towards science and social studies.

Science (and social) literacy is the ability to use scientific (and social) concepts and apply them in everyday life, explain scientific phenomena, and describe these phenomena based on scientific evidence (OECD, 2007; Bybee et al., 2009; Rusilowati, 2013).


Numeracy is one of the competencies measured in AKM. Numeracy demands the ability to reason using mathematics. Numeracy content includes numbers, measurement and geometry, data and uncertainty, as well as algebra. Context indicates the aspects of life or situations for the content used, including personal, sociocultural, and scientific aspects. In cognitive processes, literacy reading is differentiated into three levels: finding information, interpretation and integration, and evaluation and reflection. Similarly, in numeracy, there are also three levels: understanding, application, and reasoning.

Teaching IPAS

The implementation of IPAS learning is not different from other subjects. Lesson plans need to be prepared in advance to ensure that the learning aligns with the curriculum, syllabus, and learning objectives. Determining an appropriate teaching model is necessary to achieve the learning goals. Relevant teaching materials, instructional media, and assessments should be tailored to the characteristics of IPAS content.

One teaching model that can be used to teach IPAS in preparation for AKM is Reflection Discovery Learning. This model has syntax as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Syntax of Reflection Discovery Learning

1IntroductionConditioning of students
Presentation of competency achievement indicators
2 StimulationStudents observe teaching materials
Students pay attention to the teacher’s explanation
Students review the Worksheet (LK)
3Problem StatementEach student in the group makes a problem statement based on the experiment/activity to be conducted
4Data CollectionEach student in the group conducts the experiment/simulation, collects data, and answers questions in the Worksheet (LK)
5Data ProcessingStudents process/analyze the data
6Verification  Students provide evidence based on the data obtained
7GeneralizationStudents draw conclusions from the experiment/discussion
8CommunicationStudents present the results of the experiment/discussion
Students are encouraged to summarize the material they have learned
Students are guided to practice literacy and numeracy questions
9EvaluationStudents complete the evaluation given by the teacher
10ReflectionStudents are guided to reflect
11ClosingAssignment and planning for the next activities
End of the session

The teaching materials used are structured based on the curriculum mapping of Science (IPA) and Social Studies (IPS), the learning outcomes of Science and Social Studies, which can then be organized into IPAS themes. The IPAS themes may vary between different teachers, depending on their creativity. However, the learning outcomes are the same as required by the curriculum. The design of IPAS teaching materials can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Features of IPAS Teaching Materials

The description of each feature of IPAS Teaching Materials is as follows:

  • Let’s Read! – Contains Science (IPA) and Social Studies (IPS) teaching materials, connecting IPAS content and literacy.
  • Let’s Try! – Science (IPA) and Social Studies (IPS) experiment activities.
  • Let’s Count! – Connecting IPAS content with numeracy.
  • Let’s Practice! – IPAS literacy and numeracy practice questions.
  • Let’s Summarize! – Contains IPAS content summaries.
  • Let’s Assess! – Contains literacy and numeracy evaluation questions.
  • Let’s Reflect! – Activity to reflect on one’s feelings, learned concepts, and what they want to learn more about.


IPAS is one of the curriculum developments that integrate Science (IPA) and Social Studies (IPS) into one theme in the learning process. Science, which studies the natural world, is closely related to the community or environment, allowing for integrated teaching. With IPAS, it is expected that the literacy and numeracy contexts required in the national assessment (AKM) can be easily understood by students. The contexts can be used as stimuli in creating literacy and numeracy questions, including fictional, non-fictional, or combined texts. The goal is to improve students’ literacy and numeracy skills.

Hopefully, this article is beneficial, at least providing information about IPAS and AKM as part of the national assessment, so that we can equip students with knowledge about current government policies.


This article is the work of Prof. Dr. Ani Rusilowati, M.Pd., together with Prof. Dr. Juhadi, M.Si. (Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, UNNES) and Arif Widiyatmoko, S.Pd., M.Pd., Ph.D. (Department of Integrated Science Education, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, UNNES).



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