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 in whole on continuous assessment of the progress of the individual (Federal Republic of Nigeria F.R.N 2004)
Prior to the institution of continuous assessment procedure of evaluation, one-short. Summative evaluation was practice under this system of assessment emphasis is on decision at the end of the term or year. One short coming 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 opportunity for meaning 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 destines. Ohuche: (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 aim 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 student earn a substantial part of their final rating from school work. They will come to realize that passing or failing does not depend solely on performance in 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 test 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 a 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 suggest that the implementation of continuous assessment has a number of problems. Ekwonye: (1987), Nzewi:(1990) and Eze: (1990) observed that problems exist in the implement 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 Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti 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 high pupil/teacher’s ratio. The makes it very difficult if not impossible for a teacher to assess up to 40 students effectively especially with non-test instrument.
Statement of Problem
Continuous assessment just like any other government policy cannot be implemented effectively if there are underlying problem. (Ortyo-Yande;1988). Economics as one of the subjects taught in the secondary school also has its own share of these identifiable problems. An identification of existing problems will provide an insight on the impediment that prevents Economics teachers from complying with the spelt out guidelines on its implementation.
Most economics teachers lack the skills on 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 valid assessment instrument for evaluation of behavioral outcomes in the three domains. Most economics teachers seem to be confused in the amount of material content that should be covered by each test. Most economics teachers are of the opinion 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 student 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 Teaching and Learning of Economics.