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|The government of Uganda made a review of its education system in 1987 when it appointed an Education Policy Review Commission (EPRC). The EPRC in its report (1989) noted among other short comings that the education system was examination ridden and there were very few attempts to assess practical skills. The EPRC made recommendations to improve the Education System. On assessment and examination, the EPRC, recommended inter alia, the introduction of continuous assessment in primary and post - primary training institutions. The government, in its White Paper on Education, approved these recommendations in 1992. |
|BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION |
The government of Uganda made a review of its education system in 1987 when it appointed an Education Policy Review Commission (EPRC). The EPRC in its report (1989) noted among other short comings that the education system was examination ridden and there were very few attempts to assess practical skills. The EPRC made recommendations to improve the Education System. On assessment and examination, the EPRC, recommended inter alia, the introduction of continuous assessment in primary and post - primary training institutions. The government, in its White Paper on Education, approved these recommendations in 1992.
UNEB, being the National Assessment body, was the natural institution to implement those decisions to reform examinations and assessment. In its action plan, UNEB introduced reform activities that saw the establishment of National Assessment of Progress in Education (NAPE) and Continuous Assessment (CA). It also increased higher order thinking skills questions in all its examinations and embarked on systems upgrades.
UNEB is mandated to systematize and formalize CA in schools, colleges, business, technical and vocational education training institutions, where it conducts its exams.
DEFINITION OF CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT (CA)
UNEB defines CA as a systematic objective and comprehensive way of regularly collecting and accumulating information about a student's learning achievement over a period of study and using it to guide the student's learning and determine their level of attainment.
UNEB MISSION FOR CA
To improve the quality of classroom teaching and learning through the use of valid and reliable teacher-made assessment.
The conceptual framework guiding the systemization and formalization of CA is one which seeks to use CA to improve classroom instruction and enhance holistic learner achievement. At the same time, it should contribute to terminal assessment of learners.
The primary school cycle of seven years (P1 to P7) has been sub-divided into two segments:
CA in Primary One to Four will be used by the school and the data integrated into the District level EMIS and used for planning purposes, and also for monitoring learning and teaching.
From P5 to P7, apart from the school and district, CA data will be used by UNEB for reporting on end of cycle achievement. The package will be a percentage contribution (25%) to terminal assessment at P.L.E in four subjects.
In the practical subjects, a separate report on pupils achievement will be included in the results.
As a supportive assessment strategy, CA provides many opportunities of enhancing learner achievement. In a case where examinations are high stakes, the practice of determining learner achievement using one- shot examination is reduced and with it, the stress, anxiety, and fear associated with examinations diminish. Learners earn credit each day and accumulate these over the learning period (month, term, year) and once these are taken into account in the final grading, then a holistic picture of learning is established.
Learners difficulties are identified early enough, so opportunities for remedial action can be planned and implemented.
CA gives credit to class work and it helps the teacher to determine the level of readiness of learners.
CA is also useful in measuring learning outcomes and practical skills that cannot be assessed at the end of a course through pen and paper. It enables assessment of both process and product, a thing that cannot be achieved by using one end of study period examination.
It is because of these felt benefits that UNEB is focusing on systemizing and formalizing CA as a supportive assessment strategy.
UNEB CA EFFORT/ STATUS
Initial CA Effort
A) CA in Primary Schools
1. Development of Materials for CA
Prior to 2004, UNEB together with classroom teachers prepared sample materials for use of CA program. These included:
The tests were for P 5, and P 6 in four subjects: English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Health Education. The materials were printed and distributed to primary schools.
- Tests with solutions,
- Score Record Books,
- Cumulative Record Cards,
- Sample Class Progress Record Sheets,
- A manual on Assessment and
- A module on Assessment for Teachers.
2. Orientation of teachers
Teachers were retrained for effective use of the CA materials and implementation of the CA programme.
3. Implementation Plan
CA was to begin with second term of 2004 and official date for launching was to be May 2004 beginning with P5 and P6 in the four subjects.
The original plan was to have CA contribute 25% to the PLE final written examinations for P7 candidates in 2005.
Observations were to be done daily, written formal tests were to be done once a month and a record kept so as to submit it on data forms to UNEB at the end of term one in P7.
4. Monitoring & Audit checks:
The monitoring of implementation were to be done by responsible Ministry of Education and Sports agencies such as District Inspectorate, Teacher Education through coordinating centre tutors (CCT) and Directorate of Education Standards (DES). UNEB was to do technical audit checks for quality control and assurance.
The programme was not launched because the Ministry of Education and Sports directed that the primary school syllabus/ curriculum be reviewed. The review is now almost complete.
6. Current CA Effort
With the introduction of the Thematic Curriculum in lower primary (2007) the CA component has been in built. Therefore, UNEB has been involved in the implementation of CA in the Thematic Curriculum, beginning with the training of P1 teachers.
UNEB has done the following in connection with assessment in the Thematic Curriculum:
- Summarized the competencies for assessment in the curriculum and incorporated them in the teachers guide.
- Prepared a teachers handbook on Assessment guidelines in the Thematic curriculum
- Trained P1 and P2 teachers in implementing CA as required by the curriculum.
- Provide support supervision to teachers of P1 to P3.
- Evaluate the teachers progress from time to time.
- Prepare materials for CA for upper primary i.e. P4 to P7 as soon as the revised syllabus is rolled out by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES).
- Train the teachers of upper primary classes in implementing continuous assessment.
- Handle coursework results and eventually incorporate them in the final PLE grade.
- Prepare data capture forms on which CA results will be submitted by schools to UNEB.
(B) CA in secondary schools and other Post Primary Educational Training Institutions (PPET)
Continuous Assessment Guidelines for PPET have been prepared by UNEB in conjunction with MoES, National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), Directorate of Education Standards (DES) and Faculty of Education Kyambogo University (KYU).
UNEB has launched the pilot of these guidelines in secondary schools and technical institutions beginning 2010.
The pilot is being carried out in selected secondary schools. One class, senior one has been selected in the subject of physics. In selected Technical Institutes, it involves year 1 Craft 1 in Building and Concrete Practice (BCP) course. In Uganda Technical colleges, the pilot involves Ordinary Diploma year I in Building and Civil Engineering course.
The pilot will last one year, at the end of which the CA program will be rolled out in all PPET.
Weighting of CA in PPET
CA scores will account for 30% of the total mark in each subject.
UNEB will continue to work with the teachers in order to carry out CA satisfactorily. The results obtained on pilots and lessons learned from current implementation at P1 to P3 will inform classroom instruction and be used to review implementation strategies for P4 to P7.
Education services delivery has some challenges. Likewise in implementing CA strategies, it is anticipated that some of these challenges will affect CA for example:
Planning CA implementation must take cognizance of those challenges and others that might arise. A comprehensive approach in planning recognizes them and includes mitigating solutions.
- Issues of validity and reliability of CA scores arising from variations in teacher competencies.
- Inadequate funding, motivation and support from school and institution administration.
- Shortage of teachers.
- Frequent transfer of learners to other schools due to unavoidable reasons.
- Inadequate support supervision.
Needless to state training on assessment and re-orientation of teachers on CA procedures and processes will be critical. Systemic issues will be tackled by the respective departments and sections in the Ministry of Education and Sports.