Continuous assessment used in social studies, classes six and seven, by public primary teachers in Baragwi zone, Kirinyaga County
Mwangi, Esther Wangari
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Social study is one of the subjects taught in primary schools. It is also examinable in the summative evaluation. The social studies curriculum has undergone changes since it's in caption in the primary school in 1985 when its title was geography, history and civics; a combined course. These changes have occurred due to lack of appropriate strategies of Continuous Assessment (CA) in Social Studies. CA is an important professional function for every teacher in the implementation of primary school curriculum as it motivates the learners and enhances understanding and retention of knowledge. This study was carried out to explore various CA used in Social Studies, in classes six and seven in Baragwi Zone, Kirinyaga East District, Kirinyaga County. The objectives of the study were; to investigate different types of continuous assessment used by Social Studies teachers of classes six and seven; to determine how often CA is recorded after administration; to find out how important is CA towards learning Social Studies. The population of the study included 18 public primary schools in the Zone. From this target population, the researcher used simple random sampling to select 10schools. Out of the sampled schools, 10Headteachers of those schools took part. Also the participants of the study were 20 teachers who were purposively selected from the sampled schools. The researcher also used simple random sampling to select 100 pupils of classes six and seven from the sampled schools. The sample population was 130 respondents. The research instrument included; interview guide for the headteachers, questionnaires for pupils and questionnaire for the teachers. The study used qualitative descriptive survey design since the researcher sought to report things as they were. The instruments were piloted in two public schools in the same Zone which were not included in the final study sample. Reliability of the instruments was determined by the use of Pearson's product moments formula. The collected data were entered in a computer SPSS programme, analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics such as frequency and percentages. The analysis was presented using statistical tables, frequencies and percentages. The findings of the study revealed that: although numerous Continuous Assessment Strategies (i.e. the written tests, oral questions, take-home assignments, check lists, observation, interviews and projects) were being used, written tests were the most frequently used by teachers in teaching Social Studies in Classes six and seven at Baragwi public primary schools. Findings of the study also showed a positive relationship between some of the Continuous Assessment strategies used and students' performance. Many teachers utilized various Continuous Assessment strategies to enhance pupils' performance in the subject. The researcher concluded that Continuous Assessment strategies in Social Studies positively contribute to the performance of students. It was recommended that teachers should not only utilize various strategies of Continuous Assessment but should also give a review of each pupil's progress at the end of an instructional term. Also, regulations and policies should be put in place so that all schools can benefit from the practice and a uniform policy should be emphasized. Also training for teachers should be encouraged especially in the use of Continuous Assessment strategies.