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close this bookPrimary Teacher Education Curricula as Documented: A Comparative Analysis (CIE, 1999, 38 p.)
close this folder3. Curricular structures and strategies
View the document3.1 Structure
View the document3.2 Subject Content
View the document3.3 Relationship between Subject Content and Methods
View the document3.4 Professional Components
View the document3.5 Pedagogy for the ITPP
View the document3.6 Teaching / Learning Materials
View the document3.7 Assessment
View the document3.8 Assessment of the Practicum

3.7 Assessment

All the documents set out assessment requirements and regulations, which are clearly seen as important. All programmes use a mixture of coursework and exams. Only in Lesotho and UDW do the tutors set and mark the exams; in other places external bodies exercise varying amounts of control. UDW has to conform to University regulations which stipulate exams at the end of every module, but the intention is to de-emphasise these.

The suggested coursework exercises set out in the documents, particularly in Trinidad and Lesotho, are varied and interesting, but in some cases large numbers of students would make the organisation, supervision and marking - e.g. of field-based projects - quite problematic. Library-based reports may suffer from inadequate resources and perhaps weak study skills among students. Almost all the assessment suggested takes a written form - though in science some practical work may be assessed - and this raises issues about the linguistic capabilities of the students, especially in Africa where they come from oral cultures and may be working in a second or even third language. Group projects are mentioned, but there is no indication of how these would be marked.

Apart from micro-teaching and the occasional peer lesson, none of the assessments are about actually demonstrating teaching competences, even when these appear among the aims and objectives. This is left entirely to the practicum. Few of the exercises even seem to be about applying knowledge; most of them require students to just show on paper what they know. This is at odds with many of the stated aims and objectives. To find out what level of cognitive skills were being required one has to examine the actual test papers. Preliminary findings from Malawi show that only quite low cognitive skills are being tested, mainly at the recall level.

It looks as though student teachers are frequently assessed, but that the assessment is not always consistent with the aims and objectives. We do not know how much this is perceived as a burden, nor how the assessment procedures affect the teaching/learning processes; this remains to be researched through the Curriculum in Action studies.