Analysis of school based Chemistry assessment used in secondary schools in Kajiado North District, Kenya
Ituma, Monica Gakii
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Assessment is a crucial part of teaching and learning. In school Chemistry assessment can be done in various ways, the most common one being through school based teacher made tests. This study investigated the nature of assessment tests that are made and used by teachers to assess learners in Chemistry in Kenyan secondary schools. The study described the present situation as regards the practice of testing In the schools. The study investigated various aspects of school based chemistry testing which included: teachers' reasons for testing; the process of testing; testing techniques; frequency of testing; science domains tested; policies that govern testing and teachers' general views on testing. The research used descriptive survey approach. Stratified random sampling was used to obtain the study sample. The study population of forty three (43) schools in Kajiado North district was divided into three strata; mixed schools, girls' schools and boys' schools. Random sampling was used to select the desired number of respondents from each stratum on proportionate basis. The study used questionnaires to collect data from chemistry teachers in the selected schools to provide information on the testing practices in the schools. Questionnaires were also administered to Form Three Chemistry students to determine the purpose of tests from students' point of view. Interviews with heads of science department (H.O.Ds) in the schools were conducted. Document analysis schedule was used to analyse samples of practical and theory test papers formerly used to test form three students. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and presented in appropriate tables, charts and graphs. The fmdings showed that the purposes of school based chemistry testing were: to provide feedback to learners; determine learners' achievement; prepare learners for final examination; motivate learners and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching methods used. Testing was mainly done for formative and summative purposes but rarely for diagnostic purpose. It was found that tests constructed by the teachers assessed various domains for science learning but creativity and affective domains were rarely tested. Teachers frequently used written tests, practical tests, assignments and oral questions. The procedures regarding setting, administration, marking and grading of tests followed school policies but no national policies were in place. Teachers and learners viewed tests as a means of improving Chemistry learning. The recommendations of the study were that in- service and pre-service training should emphasize assessment methods especially those directed towards diagnostic evaluation and assessment of attitude and creativity domains. Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) should emphasize project work in schools by examining project work at end -of- course chemistry examinations. KNEC should also develop a policy to govern school based Chemistry testing, and the curriculum developers should revise Chemistry syllabus content to enhance development and assessment of all science domains.