EFFECT OF CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ECONOMICS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.0 Background to the Study
One major innovation in our educational system is the introduction ofcontinuous assessmentas an important component for evaluation. Educational assessment and evaluation will be liberalized by basing them in whole or in part on continuous assessment of the progress of the individual. In all secondary schools, continuous assessment account for 40 percent of the pupils’ performance in each subject. Most higher institutions of learning allow between 20 and 30 percent in course assessment Alex (2010).
Thus, in all institution of learning; assessment is not a new concept ineducation. In the United States for instance, continuous assessment is built into the teaching- learning process. In Nigeria, there are different views about the concept to the extent that some of them are misconceptions. In order to understand this concept, it is necessary to clarify these misconceptions. Continuous assessment is not continuous testing of the cognitive ability of students as practice in most of our secondary and secondary schools these days. For instance, what is practiced in many schools is continuous testing; where teachers administer test on students on weekly or monthly basis. Some schools set aside specific days in the month for what is referred to as continuous assessment scores for the term or year. The mode of interpretation does not take into consideration other factors that may affect the student and the learning process. Furthermore, the effective and psychomotor domains are neglected. Thus, the implementation of continuous assessment seems to have derailed from the mode of operation.
Greaney (2011) defines assessment as any procedure or activity that is designed to collect information about the knowledge, attitude, or skills of the learner or group of learners. Assessment is therefore a process through which the quality of an individual’s work or performance is judged. When carried out as an on-going process, assessment is known a Continuous Assessment (CA). CA is a formative evaluation procedure concerned with finding out, in a systematic manner, the over-all gains that a student has made in terms of knowledge, attitude and skills after a given set of learning experience (Ogunnyi, 2014).
According to Aggarwal (2010), Continuous assessment (CA) is not simply continuous testing. Continuous assessment doest not solely depend on formal tests. Continuous assessment is more than giving a test; it involves every decision made by the teacher in class to improve students’ achievement. Continuous assessment may take different forms such as formal questions given to students during class, take-home assignments/exercises and recapitulation exercises. Assessment is either internal or external. Internal assessment refers to school-based assessment, which includes class assignments, teacher-made tests, recap exercise, projects, field stEnugu south es and all these tools form part of the classroom continuous assessment strategies. A continuous assessment strategy refers to the different tools/procedures used in the classroom to understand the academic achievement levels of learners in terms of their knowledge, attitudes and values. Also a strategy in assessment is a purposefully conceived and determined plan of action. It is a pattern of assessment that seems to attain certain outcomes and to guard against other (Aggarwal, 2009). External assessment refers to tests that are produced by examining bodies away from school.
In order to evaluation the new educational system, one policy that cuts across all educational levels throughout Nigeria is that on continuous assessment. In section 1 of the National Policy on Education (revised 2011), which deals with the philosophy and goals of education in Nigeria, paragraph 9(g) states that “educational assessment and evaluation shall be liberalized by their being based in whole or in part on continuous assessment of the progress of the individual”. This statement is well amplified in subsequent sections of the documents dealing with secondary Education (section 4), Secondary Education (section 5), and Tertiary Education and finally in section 12 which deals with the Planning, Administration and Supervision of Education. The repeated emphasis being placed on continuous assessment is a clear evidence of its importance. The National Steering Committee on Continuous Assessment in Nigeria schools led by Professor Yoloye regards Continuous Assessment as a method of ascertaining what a child gains from schooling in terms of knowledge, industry and character development, taking into account all his/her performances in tests, assignments, projects and other educational activities during a given period of term, year, or during the entire period of an educational level (Ipaye, 2012). It is also a method of using the recorded performances of each pupil to help him or her improve on his or her achievement through guidance. According to Ezewu and Okoye (2011), continuous assessment refers to a systematic and objective process of determining the extent of a student’s performance in all the expected changes in his behavior, from the day he enters upon a course of study and a jEnugu south cious from this purpose with a view to using them to guide and shape the student and to serve as basis for making important decisions about the child. In other words, continuous assessment should be systematic, comprehensive, cumulative and guidance oriented.
Therefore Continuous assessment is said to be systematic in the sense that it is planned, graded to suit the age and experience of the children and is given at suitable intervals during the school year. Appropriate timing saves students from being tested to death or becoming bored with too frequent assessments. Comprehensiveness of continuous assessment means that it is not focused on academic skills alone. It embraces the cognitive, the psychomotor and the affective domains. A child is assessed as a total entity using all the psychometric devises such as test and non test techniques. Cumulative characteristics of continuous assessment means that all information gathered on the individual has to be pooled together before a decision can be taken. To say that continuous assessment is guidance oriented means that the information so collected is to be used for educational, vocational and personal-social decision-making for the child. Guidance and counseling activities thrive better on valid, sequential, systematic, continuous, cumulative and comprehensive information (Denga, 2013). Conceptually as well as in practice, continuous assessment provides feedback to children and teachers. Such feedback provides information which is used for purposes of improving on the child’s performance or modifying the content, context and methods of teaching, as well as in making a variety of other decisions. Based on these the study aimed to cover the evaluation of continuous assessment technique in teaching and learning of economics in Enugu south Local Government Area of Enugu State.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
The introduction of continuous assessment technique in our school system brought in certain problems that require the attention of both the government and other agencies involved in educational administration. These problems need to be identified so that possible solution could be proffered to them.
Continuous assessment increased the workload of teachers thereby reducing efficiency and productivity. The attempt to conduct and record assessment regularly often lowers the teacher’s ability to cover the scheme of work on schedule. Inadequate equipments and other instructional materials in teaching aids and understaffing of tend to reduce the efficiency and effectiveness expected of the students and this hampers the proper implementation of programme. Inadequate financing of continuous assessment technique in schools is also one of the problems affecting this programme.
The difficulties of quantifying and assessing hand work materials, local crafts and other subjects that are practically oriented and constant writing of reports, progress charts and record of other faults often deviate the attention of teachers from class work (Teaching). The problems of continuous assessment technique affect the record of transferring students because of the differences in timing of assessment between different schools within the same state, the researcher therefore, aim to find out the effect of continuous assessment in teaching and learning of economics in schools.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
Purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of continuous assessment in teaching and learning of economics in schools: specifically this study am,
1. To identify the extent to which continuous assessment techniques has been of great gain to the school system .
2. To examine the capabilities of schools using the Continuous assessment technique and to proffer solutions based on the observed problems on how to make the technique more indigenous and reflective of our local needs especially in our schools.
3. To determine the problems created by the introduction of continuous assessment technique in our school system.
4. To establish the benefits or gains recorded by school system as a result of the bringing into play of continuous assessment technique.
1.3 Significance of the Study
The study which will highlight the difficulties and prospects of using continuous assessment technique to evaluate the performance of students, teachers, school, parents, government and society.
The students are seen as those whom this technique is designed for. Continuous assessment helps to identify the areas where students are having difficulties concerning the lessons they have received. It is also carried out upon the students so as to ascertain the level of performance and how the knowledge the pupils acquired during the classroom lesson has been able to affect positively the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain of the learners.
The teachers are the executors of this technique. The teacher’s classroom activities and duties include not only teachings and discipline in the class but also the execution of classroom continuous assessment to test the ability of the students in handling problems independently with the knowledge gained during the teaching activities in the classroom. Iketaku (2013), continuous assessment provides a more valid of the child’s overall ability and performance.
School authority will gain a lot by creating awareness of the importance of continuous assessment to the pupils as such is a method of intellectual measurement of the students. The school authority has it as a duty to see that pupils are tested from time to time for the purpose of finding areas of difficulties and introducing workable solution for the students’ intellectual development.
The parents on the other hand do gain by asking for their children welfare thereby making sure that they checkmate the activities of their children both in the school and at home; also checkmate the action of school authority in respect to examination and other related matters.
The Government will known the necessary requisite for the implementation of continuous assessments; for instance, record keeping machine, writing materials, good environment etc. all these and more should be readily available if continuous assessment should be valuable in the development of pupils’ intellects.
The Society is the beneficiary of the out come of this technique if well applied to the training of the students. Finally, the society has an important duty in seeing that destructions that could hinder the pupils from partaking in the continuous assessment techniques are avoided as continuous assessment prepares students both academically and otherwise to face societal problems.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The study aimed to cover the effect of continuous assessment in teaching and learning of economic in secondary schools in Enugu south local government area of Enugu state. The study will also point out students’ academic performance in economics through the use of continuous assessment.
1.5 Researcher Question
1. To what extent does continuous assessment techniques has been of great gain to the school system .
2. To what extent can the capabilities of schools using the technique and to proffer solutions based on the observed problems on how to make the technique more indigenous and reflective of our local needs especially in our schools.
3. What are the problems created by the introduction of continuous assessment technique in our school system.
4. What are the benefits or gains recorded by school system as a result of the bringing into play of continuous assessment technique..