Lincolyn Moyo


Formative assessment is vital to the learning process, because it promotes valued thinking tactics, skills and strategies. In most African schools today, the most visible assessment is summative. Yet research indicates that, teachers who use formative assessment approaches and techniques are better prepared to meet diverse students’ individual learning needs. Through qualitative research, paradigm approaches of observing trainee teachers on teaching practice, and reviewing written documents on assessment, the researcher observed that the use of scientific formative assessment approaches are a challenge. Data analysis found out six major barriers to wider practice of formative assessment. The most common challenge being found to be lack of scientific diagnostic assessment procedures like use of anecdotal notes and observation checklist to provide detailed and accurate assessment information instead of “Thingumbobing” or “Casting lots”. Data synthesis led to conclusions suggesting that reviewed formative assessment challenges are a result of three major causes: lack of rigorous emphasis, psychological training on assessment before teaching practice, negative attitudes by trainee teachers on detailed assessment procedures and, lack of motivation, seeing justification to carry out proper assessment procedures. In consideration of the above findings, the research recommended improved emphasis on scientific assessment procedures in teacher training programmes, mandatory policy requiring assessment record keeping during teaching practice and improvement of teacher working conditions.


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