Conceptualization and Implementation of Continuous Assessment in Tanzania: Fit for the purpose?

Conceptualization and Implementation of Continuous Assessment in Tanzania: Fit for the purpose?

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Conceptualization and Implementation of Continuous Assessment in Tanzania: Fit for the purpose?

Continuous assessment in Tanzania aims at ensuring that students’, learning is continually assessed and incorporated into the final grade attained at the end of schooling. This study explored the conceptualization and implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Tanzania. A questionnaire developed by the researcher was used to collect data from a total of 4,160 secondary school teachers who participated in the marking of the Certificate of Secondary School Examination in 2013. Findings of the study revealed that the traditional methods of assessment, such as tests, class exercises and quizzes, are dominantly used methods of continuous assessment. Statistically significant differences were found in the teachers’, frequency of use of assessment methods and the type of subject taught. In contrast, there were no statistically significant differences in the frequency of use of assessment method by the qualification of teachers. Furthermore, there were no statistically significant differences in the method of continuous assessment used by teachers and the number of students in a class, possibly because of the confounding effect of the workload of teachers. In some schools teachers with small number of students had a heavy teaching load which outweighed the benefits of having a small class in conducting assessment. The study concludes that conceptualization of continuous assessment is limited mainly to administration of tests that are not even constructed in schools. This practice raises a question of whether the conceptualization and implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools fulfill the purpose for which it was meant to serve. It is essential to re-conceptualize continuous assessment in line with assessment for learning so that the implementation of continuous assessment in schools contributes to improved learning outcomes. Accordingly, sustained professional development of teachers is necessary to enable them use assessment to support students’, learning.Keywords: Continuous assessment, formative assessment, curriculum, school environment, students’, learning.

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