The Role of Continuous Assessment in Teaching and Learning of Economics
The study was carried out to determine the role of continuous assessment in teaching and learning Economics in Enugu South L.G.A. Specifically, the objective of the study includes the following (i) To find out the extent of teacher compliance with the continuous assessment standards. (ii) To determine the ways of assisting teachers in improving upon their skill in continuous assessment practices in Economics thereby enhancing the optimum performance of the students. The instrument used for data collection was a questionnaire, which was based on the three research questions. The sample for the study consisted of 32 respondents out of twenty selected schools in the zone. Frequencies and percentages were employed for analyzing the data collected. In the analysis, the following were observed: (i) Exposing Economics teachers to regular seminars and workshops on item construction sharpen their skill, (ii) Continuous assessment procedure facilitates guidance function in a school both in the learning and preparation for a career. (iii) Assessment is an integral part of the teaching process. Based on this, recommendations were made. First, the primary school Education Board should always be organizing conferences, workshops, and seminars on Economics for secondary school teachers as a way of enhancing their efficiency in teaching Economics. Secondly, society should be re-oriented towards having a positive attitude in Economics. Thirdly, the students should be made to understand the importance of Economics in their lives. And lastly, the Government should supply to schools adequate materials for the teaching and learning of Economics.
This chapter deals with the Background of the Study, Statement Problem, Problem of Study, Significance of the Study, Research Question, Limitation of the study, and Definitions of Terms.
1.1 Background of the Study
The National Policy on Education (NPE) introduced some noble ideas at Channeling Education to the development of Nigeria’s economic, political, sociological, and human resources. One of the innovative ideas in the policy is the liberalization of the Educational assessment and evaluation by using them in part or whole on continuous assessment of the progress of the individual (Federal Republic of Nigeria F.R.N 2004)
Before the institution of continuous assessment procedure of evaluation, one-short. The summative evaluation was practiced under this system of assessment emphasis is on decisions at the end of the term or year. One shortcoming of this practice is that it is too late to help pupils or students improve on their learning because most of them would be going on to their classes, courses, or topic. As a result, Education System (including the pupils, the teachers, the curricula, and the administrators) is denied the opportunity for meaningful full growth. It is unwise and unnecessary to deny the educational system this essential feedback. The one-short summative evaluation has been rigorously criticized (Mkpa:1986, Igwebuike:1987, Ohuche:1988, Ekwonye:1986) Mkpa:1986 observed that it constituted a threat to learners who saw the examination as the sole determinant of their future academic and career destinies. Church: (1988) also pointed out that teachers could not introduce innovation both in the teaching and evaluation of their students Partly because of the “Straight Jacket” syllabuses followed by the examining bodies and partly because teachers were not meaningfully involved in the evaluative part of their job.
Therefore the continuous assessment system was aimed at correcting the anomalies inherent in the one-short summative evaluation. Another reason for the adoption of the strategy of continuous assessment is for a careful analysis of the concept of assessment as an integral part. It is therefore reasonable that the teacher should be involved in the final assessment of the students he or she has taught. If we have a system whereby students earn a substantial part of their final rating from schoolwork. They will come to realize that passing or failing does not depend solely on performance in the final examination. The National Steering Committee on continuous assessment on the weights to be used in combining school assessment with the Final Examination at the end of senior secondary school recommends as follows:
First Year – 10%, Second year – 20%, third year – 30%, and Final Exam (WAEC or NECO) – 40%. It is felt that weights should increase progressively so that tests taken earlier in the courses carry less weight than those taken towards the end. This is necessary for instance, in order not to un-duty penalize a pupil who might be poor at the beginning but has been making steady progress so that he has reached a high level of performance at the end of the course. At the same time, the system discourages complacency on the part of the initially brilliant students.
There is considerable evidence, which suggests that the implementation of continuous assessment has several problems. Ekwonye: (1987), Nzewi:(1990), and Eze: (1990) observed that problems exist in the implementation of continuous assessment in all subject areas. In Geography, for instance, Ewusie, Duru Okpala and Onyekwelu (1988) investigated the practice of continuous assessment among Geography teachers in Awka Local Government Area of Anambra State. According to them, the problem hindering the practice of continuous assessment in geography is as follows:
“Inadequate supply of teaching aids, dearth of geography teachers. Heavy teaching loads, inadequate time for test and recording, lack of interest and dodging or test”.
Egwu, Elewa, and Shintoho (1989) also pointed out that geography teachers in Benue and Ondo states are unqualified to implement some aspects of the new subject curriculum in which continuous assessment is part. Other identifiable problems include a high pupil/teacher ratio. This makes it very difficult if not impossible for a teacher to assess up to 40 students effectively, especially with the non-test instrument.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Continuous assessment just like any other government policy cannot be implemented effectively if there is an underlying problem. (Ortyo-Yande;1988). Economics as one of the subjects taught in secondary school also has its share of these identifiable problems. Identification of existing problems will provide an insight on the impediment that prevents Economics teachers from complying with the spelled out guidelines on its implementation.
Most economics teachers lack the skills on the process as well as the practice of keeping the records of children’s achievement as they are scored and graded and according to the weightings given to each component area that has been assessed.
Another problem most economics teachers face is that of incompetence in developing a valid assessment instrument for the evaluation of behavioral outcomes in the three domains. Most economics teachers seem to be confused about the amount of material content that should be covered by each test. Most economics teachers think that each test should include the earlier her and related materials taught before and after each preceding test.
To operate continuous assessment effectively, economics teachers need to spend time on each child helping and observing. This implies that the teacher has to teach less number of students per class. At present, the number of students per class is enormous. This makes it difficult for teachers to teach and evaluate effectively.
This research work intends to examine the role of Continuous Assessment in the Teaching and Learning of Economics. (A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA).
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to ascertain the status of the implementation and role of Continuous Assessment by Economic teachers in the Agbani Educational zone.
Specifically, the objectives of the studies include the following:
(i) To find out the extent of teachers’ compliance with the continuous assessment standards.
(ii) To determine the ways of assisting teachers in improving upon their skill in continuous assessment practice in Economics thereby enhancing the optimum performance of the students.
(iii) To identify the factors that militate against Economic teachers’ compliance with the laid down guidelines for continuous assessment.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The effective implementation of Continuous Assessment (C.A) has beneficial effects on the learners, Teacher’s Parents or guardians, and the educational system in general. This is because Continuous Assessment is more useful, practical, comprehensive, and systematic than the traditional. One-shot summative examination system (ALI and Akabue:1989) in addition to being guidance oriented.
It encourages good study habits among students. Students will see the need to work continuously on their studies rather than engaging in what may be termed “massed” learning towards the end of the year. It will also lead students to get feedback on their efforts. This system of assessment will also tend to ensure that on the part of the teacher he will have the opportunity of introducing innovative ideas into his teaching. He too will get feedback about which of his methods are achieving desired results and which are not.
To the educational system, the continuous assessment provides objective data on whether the standard of education is falling or rising. Parents/guardians are also afforded of opportunity of being informed of the holistic assessment of their children’s performance.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study is united to the practices and problems encountered by economics teachers in the implementation of continuous assessment in the Agbani Educational Zone. Only one educational zone will be covered in the study.
1.6 Research Questions
This study sought to answer the following Research Questions.
(i) To what extent do economics teachers in the Agbani education zone comply with the continuous assessment guidelines?
(ii) In what ways can the economic teachers be assisted to improve their skills in continuous assessment practice to enhance student optimum performance?
(iii) What factors militate against the effective compliance with continuous assessment standards by economics teachers in Agbani Educational Zone?
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Irrespective of the efforts put in the research to make it a reality, there are still some obstacles, which hindered and delayed the study and made it not to be moving as it was supposed. These setbacks include the following:
(i) Time: There is wastage of time in the study irrespective of other programs at hand, there needs to run ups and down to meet up to the needs of the study (ie to make it a successful one)
(ii) Wastage of Energy: In making the research, much stress is being encountered in the process thereby making the write-up or creation of the research to be too monotonous to the researchers.
(iii) Fund:- This is an inheritable hindrance in the research work. Money is needed to finance study but the fund is supposed to be limitless to the researchers has a very limited fund to finance their work. Fund, therefore, handicapped the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms are used in this research work expressly or impliedly.
a) Education: Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind character or physical ability of an individual.
b) Continuous Assessment: Evaluation of a pupil’s progress throughout the study.
c) Innovation: Act of bringing in new methods, ideas, etc. make changes.
d) Role: A person’s or thing’s functions.
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