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The Impact Of Continuous Assessment On Students’ Performance In Economics In The Buea Municipality

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The study was carried out to find out the impact of continuous assessment on students’ performance in Economics in Buea municipality. The research was conducted in Summerset Bilingual College in the Buea municipality, involving 60 students. The study was guided by the following questions: 1) What are the advantages of continuous assessment in Economics in secondary schools in Buea municipality? 2) What are the disadvantages of continuous assessment in Economics in secondary schools in Buea municipality? The study used descriptive survey research design to collect and analyze the data. Data was collected through questionnaires. The information from the questionnaires was presented in tables and figures. The findings of the study revealed that: Continuous assessment improves students’ performance in Economics at their final examinations. This therefore revealed that although there are some negative effects (disadvantages) of continuous assessment on students’ performance, continuous assessment is more advantageous to the students’ performance at their final examinations.



1.0 Introduction

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the subject under investigation (the effects of corporal punishment). The chapter brings out the statement of the study’s problem, the research objectives, the study’s research questions, hypotheses of the study, justification/significance of the study. The chapter also brings out the study the scope and delimitation of the study. It concludes the definition of some concepts in the study.

1.1 Background Of The Study

Assessment of learning is not one-time movement; it is a progressing process. It includes the procedure of checking on, reflecting and modifying the learning techniques in an arranged and cautious way. When assessment is carried out in classroom in an ongoing or continual way by the teacher it is called continuous assessment (Prouty& George, 2003). In this process, observations are made time to time to collect data to determine the level of students’ knowledge, understanding and performance. It is done by giving particular tasks to students based on their previous achievement in classroom. Teacher observes the activities of students to decide about the level of their performance in class. It also helps them to find out what the learners have learnt. Continuous assessment is part and parcel of instructional process that has to be taken as a key tool in educational quality assurance endeavor (Abejehu, 2016).

Airasian (1991) reported that continuous assessment as an approach should present the complete number of sources and methods that teacher can apply to collect, interpret and synthesize information about students. The use of this information also helps teachers to understand their students, plan and monitor their teaching to create a feasible culture. Baker and Stites (1991) stated that continuous assessment should include a regular assessment of students’ affective structures and motivation in which they will need to express their determination intensely, their work force readiness and their skills in team or group performance background.

Ohunche on Odili (2001) defines assessment as an involving the determination for the value and work of a thing implies making decision. The changing needs and attitude of individual children call for a continuous evaluation of such needs and trials in order to enable the children understand themselves better. Their teachers to improve on their teaching methods, the parents and guidance understood the children, so that educational vocational and personal social decision can be realistically made on them. Scholars have looked at the issues of the attitude of students towards assessment in educational system and have seen that the success education will ever offer is seriously tied to the facilities relevant to it.

According to InyongAbia (2002) continuous assessment are the pivot on which the wheel of teaching and learning process rotates. As cited by InyangAbia (2004) the use of continuous assessment is the most significant aspect of influence for students’ effective performance. According to Bayo (2005) the availability of continuous assessments in learning process has the potency for motivating and focusing learners’ attention on the lesson being presented.

Teaching economics can be rather challenging because the content matter is complex, technical and often abstract. As a result, students may become easily discouraged, and attendance at lectures and tutorials becomes a difficult issue to manage. Economics teaching research shows that student absenteeism has a negative impact on final grade or scores performance (Stanca, 2006).  Student engagement is also heavily compromised, impacting negatively not only on active learning within the college, but in terms of engagement with the wider community. Thus, student engagement becomes a central plank of the learning and teaching process because it provides vital “information about individuals’ intrinsic involvement with their learning, and the extent to which they are making use of available educational opportunities… enhances knowledge about learning processes … and provides excellent diagnostic measures for learning enhancement activities” (ACER, 2009).

Economics is a social science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. The unique nature of this social science academic subject makes its importance inevitable. Basically, a knowledge in Economics enables us to rationally use our scarce/limited economic resources to satisfy our unlimited wants. This thus requires different assessment techniques in evaluating economics students. One such assessment methods is the use of continuous assessment (as will be exploited in this study).

Historically, according to Kellaghan and Greany (2003), “during the 1980s and 1990s, among the many countries that engaged in examination reform were Uganda (1983), Kenya (1985), Zimbabwe (1990), and Tanzania (1994).” Following the World Bank (1988) policy paper, “Education in Sub-Saharan Africa”, which recommended, “a renewed commitment to academic standards principally through strengthening examination systems” (World Bank 1988:93), the first plenary meeting of the Donors to African Education (DAE) now called Association for Education Development in Africa (AEDA), reflecting the mood and development in many countries, addressed the need to improve education quality. This led to the established of the Working Group on School Examinations (WGSE) in recognition of the important role examinations could play in quality improvement. One of the many emphases of the commission was the importance of both continuous assessment and final examinations (EPRC 1989:59). The omtien declaration (1990) in Thailand about Education for All (EFA) required definitions targets for quality improvement and its specified a need to assess student’s achievement (Kellagan, 2003). This is why the White Paper (1992) on the Education for National Integration and Development recommended that schools should maintain a cumulative record card on continuous internal assessment including class performance. Since then, teachers have continued to carry out continuous assessment in secondary schools for “A” Level classes as often as possible and without waiting until the end of each term or year.

Conceptually, in today’s policy environment, testing has become a critical component of education reform. Policy makers and education administrators often view test scores as a measure of educational quality and use test scores to judge both students and teacher’s performance. Continuous assessment, an alternative or supplement to high stakes testing of students’ achievement, offers a methodology for measuring students’ performance and using those findings to improve the success of students.

Continuous assessment is a classroom strategy implemented by teachers to ascertain the knowledge, understanding, and skills attained by pupils. Teachers administer assessments in a variety of ways over time to allow them to observe multiple tasks and to collect information about what pupils know, understand, and can do. These assessments are curriculum-based tasks previously taught in class. Continuous assessment occurs frequently during the school year and is part of regular teacher-student’s interactions. Students receive feedback from teachers based on their performance that allows them to focus on topics they have not yet mastered. Teachers learn which students need review and remediation and

which pupils are ready to move on to more complex work. Thus, the results of the assessments help to ensure that all students make learning progress throughout the school cycle thereby increasing their academic achievement. Assessment is also a powerful diagnostic tool that enables students to understand the areas in which they are having difficulty and to concentrate their efforts in those areas. Continuous assessment also allows teachers to monitor the impact of their lessons on students’ understanding. Teachers can modify their pedagogical strategies to include the construction of remediation activities for pupils who are not working

at the expected grade level and the creation of enrichment activities for pupils who are working at or above the expected grade level. Hence, the continuous assessment process supports a cycle of self-evaluation and pupil-specific activities by both pupils and teachers.

Assessment is either internal or external. Internal assessment refers to school-based assessment, which includes class assignments, teacher-made tests, recap exercises, projects, field studies 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 others (Aggarwal, 1999). External assessment refers to tests that are produced by examining bodies away from school. For example, the Cameroon General Certificate Board which administers G.C.E ‘Ordinary Level and ‘Advanced Level’ exams or the Baccalaureate Board which organizes BAC exams.  Students are expected to perform well in both numbers of assessments. It is worthy to mention that in this study; performance is used to denote students‟ achievement based on their grades or results attain

Contextually, this study is carried out to ascertain the effects of continuous assessment on students of Economics in Buea municipality. Given the content nature of Economics, formative evaluation is necessary to test the level of comprehension of concepts. Buea municipality is noted for its good performance in the G.C.E. exams. Teachers and students alike do a lot to prepare for the final examination. According to Kellaghan and Greany (2003), that kind of assessment is subjective, informal, immediate, on-going, and intuitive as it interacts with

learning as it occurs. For instance, teachers teaching examination classes are required to assess their students regularly using different assessment strategies so that learners could memorize the subject content taught to them during the final examinations. This is done so that students could perform highly in the final examinations.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The urgent need to promote learning and improve performance in secondary schools now our days resulted into a range of related but different developments in continuous assessment at classroom levels. There has been a decline in the performance of students in public exams in Buea in particular and the entire country in the past recent years. Buea municipality is considered one of the hopes of academic excellence in Cameroon. But lately, students’ performance has been falling. The resultant feature has been inconsistent performance of students in the G.C.E examinations national wide and performance still varies from school to school. This undermines the future of many students that are in schools that persistently perform poorly. What therefore remains disturbing is whether there is a relationship between continuous assessment strategies adopted by teachers and students’ performance in final examinations. What then are the advantages and disadvantages of continuous assessment on student’s performance in Economics in Buea municipality? This is the main worry concern of this research.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The general objective of this research is to find out the impact of continuous assessment on students’ performance in Economics in some secondary schools in Buea municipality.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives of the Study

The specific or sub objectives of this study include the following;

To find out the advantages of continuous assessment on students’ performance in Economics in secondary schools in Buea municipality.

To find out the disadvantages of continuous assessment on students’ performance in Economics in secondary schools in Buea municipality.

To find out the teachers’ perception on whether to use continuous assessment to better students’ performance in the final examination.

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