School of Education

Research Explores Teachers’ Views of Learner Assessment Practices

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Assessment practices of teachers were examined by Ms Gugu Macholo in a study which culminated in her being awarded a Master’s degree in Education. Macholo explored teachers’ views of their assessment practices as well as their understanding of fairness, success, and level of difficulty in designing assessments. Urban schools in the Umlazi district (Maphundu circuit) were the focus of the study.

According to Macholo, assessment remains a critical issue in teaching and learning. ‘It is one of the important tools used by education practitioners to monitor the progress of learners as well as to predict, guide and evaluate learning. ‘Reliability, fairness, the degree of difficulty, and success are principles of effective assessment.’

She noted that ‘recent and past studies had revealed assessment approaches that lead to effective learning. The challenge of assessment lies within these principles and approaches. However, most teachers find it difficult to consider principles when they design assessment activities.’

The results showed teachers viewed their assessment practices as effective. However, the challenge of over-crowding and a lack of proper in-service training was problematic in executing fair assessment practices.

The study revealed that teachers found assessment to be a continuously challenging component in education, concluding that any change in assessment practice should be based on teachers’ empirical knowledge.

Macholo believes her research will encourage educational authorities to devise possible strategies of assessment. ‘Curriculum planners and curriculum implementers are not working together with post-level one educator’s qualifications being undermined,’ she said. ‘Some hold master’s degrees but salaries are not aligned with their qualification.’

She thanked her family, friends and supervisor Dr Lokesh Maharajh for their support. Macholo plans to pursue her PhD and write journal articles.

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