Students should be assessed only based on their abilities, don advises teachers

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A university professor, Francisca Aladejana has charged teachers to assess their students based on their individual abilities so as to make informed decisions.

She gave this advice in a keynote speech delivered on Monday, 5th August at the 37th Conference of the Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA).

EduCeleb.com reports that AEAA is a non-profit comprising different examination bodies across Africa.

The organisers of the conference aimed at cross fertilising ideas, sharing knowledge and experiences on issues of evaluation and assessment among institutions and organisations towards improving assessment, test and examination in participating countries.

To drive home her point, Mrs Aladejana deployed the illustration of different animals lined up to climb a tree and were being assessed based on that.

Among the animals were a monkey, a squirrel, a fish, and an elephant.

“This assessment not only unfair. It is not reliable and not valid,” she declared.

She said that the missing parameter of individual ability makes it so and noted that what teachers do in the classroom was close to that.

“The ability of an individual to solve an assessment task is a function of the person’s ability.”

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“You recognise a visibly slow student in your class. You recognise a visible dull student in your class. You recognise the visually impaired in your classroom and a host of other.”

“One day, you’d say (you’re organising) an impromptu test for them and discover that many performed woefully. Your assessment is not good.”

The former Provost of the Ekiti State College of Education also challenged teachers to do self assessment as they assess their students.

“A teacher should use the outcome of assessment in two major ways. One is to assess himself and be able to plan some remediation in the classroom.

She took a poser on who was to blame if all students fail tests conducted by their teachers. To her, both side have a problem in such a situation.

“Assessment should help the teacher in planning remediation. It should also help a teacher consolidate on the successes, if he had done well.”

“For any teacher to be able to assess well, the teacher’s knowledge of skills in using different assessment tools is very important.”

She challenged delegates at the conference to develop specific assessment tools that would help teachers in conducting assessments well.

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“If you leave assessment in the hands of teachers that do not have the tools, then, we are troubled. What we are getting wouldn’t be the right means of assessment that we want,” she added.

Aladejana who is also the Chairman, Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board called for a sort of segregation of students according to their ability rather than rolling out the same form of assessment for all regardless of that.

University education not for everyone

In line with sticking with individual abilities, the Obafemi Awolowo University don noted that university education was not for everyone.

“One of the major issues that still occurs in our education system in this country is for everybody to think that they must write JAMB and go to the university.”

“At the end, everybody takes JAMB even when people that everybody knows that, potentially, they do not have ability for university education. They could as well enrol for technical education or vocational training.

“So, the idea of being able to sit our students based on individual abilities and advice them that way is very important.”

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Educational assessment may be conducted either in schools or in public examinations.

Among the attributes of a good assessment she listed were its comprehensiveness, systematic use of many tools, cumulative, tools valid, have plan of activities that is known to everybody and its involvement of many measures.

EduCeleb.com also reported that Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education who declared the conference open, Mr Sonny Echono revealed that the Nigerian government had spent about N1.3 trillion on the education sector. He said that the Buhari administration was committed to making Nigerians globally competitive with its initiatives for collaboration and development.

The conference which is hosted by the Nigeria office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) ends on Friday, 9th August, 2019.

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