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EBS 262 GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND METHODS OF TEACHING IN BASIC SCHOOLS1( 1 REVIEWS )395 STUDENTS
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- EBS 262 GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND METHODS OF TEACHING IN BASIC SCHOOLS
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ANYETEI ANGELEYEBC 126- COMMUNICATION SKILLS
MICHAEL AGGREYEBC 126- COMMUNICATION SKILLS
ABAKAH MONICAEBS 278: INTEGRATED SOIL FERTILITY MANAGEMENT
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NYARKOH CHRISTIANEBC 126- COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Amanda Achana Pinjo 200043287
THE NATURE OF ASSESSMENT
This unit introduces you to some important concepts associated with ascertaining whether
objectives have been achieved or not. Basically, the unit takes you through the meanings of
assessment, test, measurement and evaluation in education.
Their functions are also discussed. You should understand the fine distinctions between these concepts and the purpose of each as you will have recourse to them later in this course and as a professional teacher.
1.Define the terms assessment, measurement, evaluation and test and determine the relationships between them.
2. Give practical examples of each of these terms.
3. explain the scales of measurement: Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, Ratio and provide practical examples
Definition of Concepts and Terms
Assessment: The process of obtaining information that is used for making decisions about students, curricula and programs, and educational policy. It includes the full range of procedures used to gain information about student learning. These procedures may be formal (pencil and paper tests) or informal (observations). Certain concepts and terms are associated with assessment. These are tests, measurement and evaluation.
Test: A task or series of tasks, which are used to measure specific traits or attributes in people. In educational settings, tests include paper and pencil instruments, which contain questions that students and pupils respond to. The responses provided to the questions help the test giver to obtain an estimate of the specific trait being measured. It answers the question, ‘How well does the individual perform?’ Two interpretations can be given to scores from tests. These are norm-referenced and criterion-referenced interpretations.
Norm-referenced interpretation: These describe test scores or performance in terms of a person’s position in a reference group that has been administered the assessment. The reference group is called the norm group. For example, a student’s performance may place him/her as the 15th out of 45. Or a student doing better than 90% of the class.
Criterion-referenced interpretation: These describe test scores or performance in terms of the kinds of tasks a person with a given score can do. The performance can be compared to a pre-established standard or criterion. For example, a student may be able to solve 8 problems out of 10 concerning fractions. A level of performance can be established at 6.
Measurement: The process of assigning numbers to the attributes or traits possessed by persons, events or a set of objects according to specific rules. Educational measurement is the assignment of numerals to such traits as achievement, aptitude, and performance. It is limited to the quantitative descriptions of students. It answers the question, ‘How much?’
Measurement involves three main steps. These are:
Scales of Measurement
Depending upon the traits/attributes/characteristics and the way they are measured, different kinds of data result representing different scales of measurement. For example, the number 4 can be interpreted in different ways depending on the source.
There are 4 types of measurement scales: Nominal, Ordinal, Interval, and Ratio
Nominal Scales: A nominal scale classifies persons or objects into two or more categories. Whatever the classification, a person can only be in one category, and members of a given category have a common set of characteristics. For identification purposes, categories are numbered.
Gender, Male 1, Female 2.
Halls of Residence: Atlantic 1, Oguaa 2, Adehye 3, Casford 4, VALCO 5, Kwame Nkrumah 6.
Ordinal Scales: An ordinal scale not only classifies subjects but also ranks them in terms of the degree to which they possess a characteristic/attribute of interest. An ordinal scale puts subjects in order from highest to lowest, from most to least. With respect to height, 5 students can be ranked from 1 to 5, the subject with rank 1 being the shortest.
Though ordinal scales do indicate that some subjects are higher or better than others, they do not indicate how much higher or better. i.e. intervals between the ranks are not equal.
Interval Scales: An interval scale has all the characteristics of both nominal and ordinal scales and in addition has equal intervals. The zero point is arbitrary and does not mean the absence of the characteristics/trait. Values can be added and subtracted to and from each other. But not multiplied or divided. Examples include Celsius temperature, academic achievement.
Ratio Scales: A ratio scale has all the advantages of the types of scales and in addition it has a meaningful true zero point. Height, Weight and time are examples. Values can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided. 60 minutes can be said to be 3 times as long as 20 minutes.
Evaluation: Stufflebeam (1973) defined evaluation as “the process of delineating, obtaining, and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives”. The main concern of evaluation in the classroom is to arrive at a judgment on the worth or effectiveness of teaching and learning. Evaluation may either be formative or summative.
Formative evaluation is the process of judging the worth of teaching and learning constantly during the period of instruction. It requires the gathering of detailed information on frequent occasions through such means as teacher observations, classroom questions, home assignments and short tests or quizzes. The main purpose is to provide feedback to both the teacher and the learner about progress being made.
Summative evaluation is the process of judging the worth of teaching and learning at the end of the period of instruction. It is judgmental in nature. It attempts to determine to what extent the broad objectives of teaching and learning have been attained.
Ogunniyi (1984, p. 113) defined continuous assessment as ‘a formative evaluation process concerned with finding out, in a systematic manner, the overall gains that a student has made in terms of knowledge, attitudes and skills after a given set of learning experiences’. The definition implies that a student’s final grade after a programme of instruction is an aggregation of all the performances exhibited in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains during the duration of the course.
Six desirable characteristics are expected in a continuous assessment programme. It is expected to be cumulative, comprehensive, diagnostic, formative, guidance-oriented, and systematic (Ipaye, 1982, Ogunniyi, 1984; Ministry of Education Ghana, 1988).
The final grade awarded a student at the end of the term or year is an accumulation of all the attainments through out the term or year. Any decision on the student is based on all the scores obtained in all measurements during the period under review.
A student for example might be declared to have attained the acceptable level of mastery in Mathematics to warrant a promotion. This means that the sum total of all his scores in class assignments, homework, weekly tests, mid-term tests, end of term tests, class discussions and projects, reached the desired level of competence. The decision does not centre on only one score in an end-of-year examination. Any decision made on the student therefore considers all the previous decisions made about him.
Opportunities are provided for the assessment of the total personality of the student. This involves the assessment of tasks, activities and outcomes and demonstrated in the cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitude) and psychomotor (skill) domains. It must however be emphasised that these three domains must not always be included in the programme before the process is described as continuous assessment.
In addition, many types of evaluation procedures are used. These include teacher-made tests, classroom observations, class assignments and projects, oral questions standardized tests, interviews and autobiographies. The score obtained from using all these procedures are combined to arrive at a final grade or classification of the student.
Continuous assessment involves a constant and continual monitoring of a student’s performance and achievement. This process enables each student’s strengths and weaknesses to be identified. It also enables the teacher to identify which students’ have difficulties and problems and in what areas. With this knowledge, specific remedial actions are recommended and taken.
Continuous assessment allows for immediate and constant feedback to be provided to the student on his performance. The student, often with the help of the teacher and school counsellor, can analyse the feedback results. On the basis of the information derived for such an analysis, various strategies are adopted.
Guidance aims at helping the individual to accept his/her ‘worth’. He/she identifies and accepts strengths and weaknesses. He/she works hard to consolidate the strong areas and improve upon the weak areas.
Continuous assessment aims at playing this guidance role. As the student is actively involved in the teaching-learning activities and tasks, his areas of weakness and strength are easily identified early, and from time to time. The teacher then helps the student to strengthen further his strong areas and attempts to improve upon his weaknesses, to attain the level of mastery needed. The student is thus directed and motivated in his learning.
Learning and taking tests is not an end in ‘itself’. It is a step to achieve the total growth and development of the student. Continuous assessment provides the facts and figures and all the necessary school information needed to goad the student to achieve growth and development. It also provides the necessary information for the student to decide his future career and his world of work.
Continuous assessment operates on a well-scheduled programme. Assessment is not spontaneous. A plan is desirable at the beginning of each year, term and week. There could be long term, medium term and short-term plans. The plan should spell out what measurements are to be made. This includes the types of traits and behaviours to be assessed, and the procedure for assessing them. The procedures should indicate the types of class assignments and exercises, homework and projects, class tests and non-test techniques to be employed to collect the relevant data.
A decision needs to be taken on the dates and periods on which the various measurements will be made. It is also important to include in the plan the types of instruments to be used. These could be teacher-made tests, standardised tests, interview schedules questionnaires, project sheets, observation schedules and checklists. Specific times should also be stated for the filling in the scores that students obtain on the appropriate forms.
8. Record keeping is an important aspect of the teaching and learning process. Records acknowledge the totality of what pupils have done in order to improve their motivation and help schools identify their needs more closely. It also provides a testimonial respected and valued by employers and colleges.
Records also help to place students in appropriate stages when they transfer to another institution. Continuous assessment is a great instrument in the achievement of these goals. It provides the opportunity for the collection, preparation and keeping of up-to-date records on students. This data includes family and health data, academic record, interests and hobbies, work experience and special talents.
9. Parents are provided with better and clearer pictures of their wards’ performance and achievement in school over a period of time and learning experience. The “One Shot” traditional examination in most cases colours the actual performance of the student because of the variety of influences that affect the performance of a student. Due to repeated performances on various activities and tests in continuous assessment, the influence of these factors is greatly minimised. Parents thus receive a more accurate information on their wards and are put in a better position to plan more relevant programmes towards the future careers of their wards.
Even though continuous assessment achieves much in terms of student and teacher evaluation of the instructional process and product, there are problems and weaknesses.
Role of the Ghanaian teacher
The Ministry of Education, as a matter of policy expects each teacher to:
(1) Give class assignments/exercises fortnightly and record the scores of four of them with a maximum score of 10 each;
(2) Conduct three class tests in a term with a subtotal of 40;
(3) Give pupils at least four projects/homework in a term with a subtotal of 20.
The three assessments give a total score of 100, which is scaled down to 30% as the internal mark for each pupil. The end of term examination is given 70%.
At the end of the junior and senior secondary schools, all the scores a pupil obtains are scaled to 30% and forwarded to the WAEC where 70% is obtained for external assessment.
For the policy to be successful, teachers are expected to perform the following roles.
Current trends in assessment in Ghana
The form of assessment in the new educational structure and reform, being implemented from September 2008, is based on two concepts and procedures. These are:
Assessment is based on profile dimensions of each subject.
Definition of Profile Dimensions
A ‘dimension’ is a psychological unit for describing a particular learning behaviour. More than one dimension constitutes a profile of dimensions. A specific objective may be stated with an action verb as follows: The pupil will be able to describe….. etc. Being able to “describe” something after the instruction has been completed means that the pupil has acquired “knowledge“. Being able to explain, summarize, give examples, etc. means that the pupil has understood the lesson taught.
Similarly, being able to develop, plan, solve problems, construct, etc. means that the pupil can “apply” the knowledge acquired in some new context. Each of the specific objectives in each syllabus contains an “action verb” that describes the behaviour the pupil will be able to demonstrate after the instruction. “Knowledge”, “Understanding” and “Application”, etc. are dimensions that should be the prime focus of teaching and learning in schools. It has been realized unfortunately that schools still teach the low ability thinking skills of knowledge and understanding and ignore the higher ability thinking skills. Instruction in most cases has tended to stress knowledge acquisition to the detriment of the higher ability behaviours such as application, analysis, etc.
The persistence of this situation in the school system means that pupils will only do well on recall items and questions and perform poorly on questions that require higher ability thinking skills such as application of mathematical principles and problem solving. For there to be any change in the quality of people who go through the school system, pupils should be encouraged to apply their knowledge, develop analytical thinking skills, develop plans, generate new and creative ideas and solutions, and use their knowledge in a variety of ways to solve problems while still in school.
Each action verb indicates the underlying profile dimension of each particular specific objective. Teachers are to read each objective carefully to know the profile dimension toward which you have to teach. The major profile dimensions are:
In developing assessment procedures, select specific objectives in such a way that you will be able to assess a representative sample of the syllabus objectives. Each specific objective in the syllabus is considered a criterion to be achieved by the pupil. When you develop a test that consists of items or questions that are based on a representative sample of the specific objectives taught, the test is referred to as a “Criterion-Referenced Test”. In many cases, a teacher cannot test all the objectives taught in a term, in a year etc. The assessment procedure you use i.e. class tests, home work, projects etc. must be developed in such a way that it will consist of a sample of the important objectives taught over a period.
School-based assessment (SBA) replaces continuous assessment
School Based Assessment
A new School Based Assessment system (SBA), formally referred to as Continuous Assessment is in use in Ghana as part of the new Educational Reforms starting September 2008. SBA is a very effective system for teaching and learning if carried out properly. The new SBA system is designed to provide schools with an internal assessment system that will help schools to achieve the following purposes:
The marks for the SBA should together constitute the School Based Assessment component marked out of 60 per cent. The emphasis is to improve students’ learning by encouraging them to perform at a higher level. The SBA will hence consist of:
The SBA system will consist of 12 assessments a year instead of the 33 assessments in the previous continuous assessment system. This will mean a reduction by 64% of the work load compared to the previous continuous assessment system. The 12 assessments are labeled as Task 1, Task 2, Task 3 and Task 4. Task 1-4 will be administered in Term 1; Tasks 5-8 will be administered in Term 2, and Tasks 9-12 administered in Term 3.
Task 1 will be administered as an individual test coming at the end of the first month of the term. The equivalent of Task 1 will be Task 5 and Task 9 to the administered in Term 2 and Term 3 respectively.
Task 2 will be administered as a Group Exercise and will consist of two or three instructional objectives that the teacher considers difficult to teach and learn. The selected objectives could also be those objectives considered very important and which therefore need pupils to put in more practice. Task 2 will be administered at the end of the second month in the term.
Task 3 will also be administered as individual test under the supervision of the class teacher at the end of the 11th or 12 week of the term.
Task 4 (and also Task 8 and Task 12) will be a project to be undertaken throughout the term and submitted at the end of the term. Schools will be supplied with 9 project topics divided into three topics for each term. A pupil is expected to select one project topic for each term. Projects for the second term will be undertaken by teams of pupils as Group Projects. Projects are intended to encourage pupils to apply knowledge and skills acquired in the term to write an analytic or investigative paper, write a poem (as may be required in English and Ghanaian Languages), use science and mathematics to solve a problem or produce a physical three-dimensional product as may be required in Creative Arts and in Natural Science.
Apart from the SBA, teachers are expected to use class exercises and home work as processes for continually evaluating pupils’ class performance, and as a means for encouraging improvements in learning performance.
The end-of-term examination is a summative assessment system and should consist of a sample of the knowledge and skills pupils have acquired in the term. The end-of-term test for Term 3 should be composed of items/questions based on the specific objectives studied over the three terms, using a different weighting system such as to reflect the importance of the work done in each term in appropriate proportions. For example, a teacher may build an end of term 3 test in such a way that it would consist of the 20% of the objectives studied in Term 1, 20% of the objectives studied in Term 2, and 60% of the objectives studied in Term 3.
Combining SBA marks and End-of-Term Examination Marks
The new SBA system is important for raising pupils’ school performance. For this reason, the 60 marks for the SBA will be scaled to 50 in schools. The total marks for the end of term test will also be scaled to 50 before adding the SBA marks and end-of-term examination marks to determine pupils’ end of term results. The SBA and the end-of-term test marks will hence be combined in equal proportions of 50:50. The equal proportions will affect only assessment in the school system. It will not affect the SBA mark proportion of 30% used by WAEC for determining examination results at the BECE.
To improve assessment and grading and also introduce uniformity in schools, it is recommended that schools adopt the following grade boundaries for assigning grades:
Grade A: 80 – 100% – Excellent
Grade B: 70 – 79% – Very Good
Grade C: 60 – 69% – Good
Grade D: 45 – 59% – Credit (Satisfactory)
Grade E: 35 – 44% – Pass
Grade F: ≤ 34% – Fail
The grading system presented above shows the letter grade system and equivalent grade boundaries. In assigning grades to pupils’ test results, or any form of evaluation, you may apply the above grade boundaries and the descriptors. The descriptors (Excellent, Very Good etc) indicate the meaning of each grade. For instance, the grade boundary for “Excellent” consists of scores from 80 – 100. Writing “80%” for instance, without writing the meaning of the grade, or the descriptor for the grade i.e. “Excellent”, does not provide the pupil with enough information to evaluate his/her performance in the assessment. You therefore have to write the meaning of the grade alongside the score you write. Apart from the score and the grade descriptor, it will be important also to write a short diagnosis of the points the pupil should consider in order to do better in future tests etc.
Comments such as the following may also be added to the grades:
Keep it up
Could do better
Not serious in class
More room for improvement, etc.
Note that the grade boundaries above are also referred to as grade cut-off scores. When you adopt a fixed cut-off score grading system as in this example, you are using the criterion-referenced grading system. By this system a pupil must make a specified score to earn the appropriate grade. This system of grading challenges pupils to study harder to earn better grades. It is hence very useful for achievement testing and grading.
General Principles of Assessment
Purposes of Assessment
Assessment provides information for decisions about students, curricula and programs, and educational policy. These decisions are:
Instructional Management decisions
Assessments provide information to select the right calibre of people for admission, promotion, and awards of prizes. Those not acceptable are rejected.
Counselling and Guidance decisions
Credentialing and Certification decisions
Assessments enable students to acquire certificates that are needed for employment in the world of work.
Assessment for Learning (AFL)
Assessment for learning (Afl) is a recent term describing one of the important purposes of assessment. It is one of the powerful ways of improving learning and raising standards (Black and William, 1998). Assessment for learning (Afl) is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.
Black and William (1998) also define assessment for learning as “all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged”.
Assessment for learning (Afl) focuses on the gap between where a learner is in his/her learning, and where he/she needs to be – the desired goal. This can be achieved through processes such as sharing criteria with learners, effective questioning and feedback.
Assessment for learning (Afl)
Assessment for learning (Afl) is distinguished from Assessment of learning (Aol) which is carried out purposely for grading and reporting. Aol involves decisions about the merit of student performance in relation to standards of performance
It is designed to measure student achievement and gauge what they have learned.
Aol takes place at a point in time for the purpose of summarizing the current status of student achievement.
It has well established guidelines including:
The UK Assessment Reform Group (1999) identified the following seven key characteristics of assessment for learning.
The Assessment Reform Group in the UK in 2002 derived 10 principles for guidance in assessment for learning. These principles are explained below.
1. Assessment for learning should be part of effective planning of teaching and learning
A teacher’s planning should provide opportunities for both learner and teacher to obtain and use information about progress towards learning goals. It also has to be flexible to respond to initial and emerging ideas and skills. Planning should include strategies to ensure that learners understand the goals they are pursuing and the criteria that will be applied in assessing their work. How learners will receive feedback, how they will take part in assessing their learning and how they will be helped to make further progress should also be planned.
2. Assessment for learning should focus on how students learn
The process of learning has to be in the minds of both learner and teacher when assessment is planned and when the evidence is interpreted. Learners should become as aware of the ‘how’ of their learning as they are of the ‘what’.
3. Assessment for learning should be recognised as central to classroom practice
Much of what teachers and learners do in classrooms can be described as assessment. That is, tasks and questions prompt learners to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills. What learners say and do is then observed and interpreted, and judgements are made about how learning can be improved. These assessment processes are an essential part of everyday classroom practice and involve both teachers and learners in reflection, dialogue and decision making.
4. Assessment for learning should be regarded as a key professional skill for teachers
Teachers require the professional knowledge and skills to: plan for assessment; observe learning; analyse and interpret evidence of learning; give feedback to learners and support learners in self-assessment. Teachers should be supported in developing these skills through initial and continuing professional development.
5. Assessment for learning should be sensitive and constructive because any assessment has an emotional impact
Teachers should be aware of the impact that comments, marks and grades can have on learners’ confidence and enthusiasm and should be as constructive as possible in the feedback that they give. Comments that focus on the work rather than the person are more constructive for both learning and motivation.
6. Assessment for learning should take account of the importance of learner motivation
Assessment that encourages learning fosters motivation by emphasising progress and achievement rather than failure. Comparison with others who have been more successful is unlikely to motivate learners. It can also lead to their withdrawing from the learning process in areas where they have been made to feel they are ‘no good’. Motivation can be preserved and enhanced by assessment methods which protect the learner’s autonomy, provide some choice and constructive feedback, and create opportunity for self-direction.
7. Assessment for learning should promote commitment to learning goals and a shared understanding of the criteria by which they are assessed
For effective learning to take place learners need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve – and want to achieve it. Understanding and commitment follows when learners have some part in deciding goals and identifying criteria for assessing progress. Communicating assessment criteria involves discussing them with learners using terms that they can understand, providing examples of how the criteria can be met in practice and engaging learners in peer and self-assessment.
8. Learners should receive constructive guidance about how to improve
Learners need information and guidance in order to plan the next steps in their learning. Teachers should:
9. Assessment for learning develops learners’ capacity for self-assessment so that they can become reflective and self-managing
Independent learners have the ability to seek out and gain new skills, new knowledge and new understandings. They are able to engage in self-reflection and to identify the next steps in their learning. Teachers should equip learners with the desire and the capacity to take charge of their learning through developing the skills of self-assessment.
10. Assessment for learning should recognise the full range of achievements of all learners
Assessment for learning should be used to enhance all learners’ opportunities to learn in all areas of educational activity. It should enable all learners to achieve their best and to have their efforts recognised.
Assessment for learning (Afl) therefore results in assessments that:
In this unit, we have distinguished clearly between assessment, test measurement, and evaluation.
We have explained what assessment is and its purpose in education.