Karim Mohammad Khan
Summative assessment is one of the key elements of curriculum design used to evaluate the progress of students towards the end of semester exam or annual academic session. This assessment is used to assign grades and decisions are taken regarding the examinee’s promotion or repetition in the same class. The summative exam result is also used to gauge the performances of teachers, principals and the overall performances of schools.
The present system of examination in public as well as in most of the private sector schools across the country are outdated, traditional and merely knowledge based as questions are selected from the exercise given at the end of each unit and students get themselves confined to the defined questions in exercise of each chapter. They tend to rely on cramming and rote learning or try to cheat in the exam if the trend of unfair means is unchecked. That is why our children are getting away from conceptual learning, being creative and critical thinkers; rather they ruminate the given answers superficially just to pass the exams.
Studies reveal that creative, comprehensive and conceptual learning based exam pattern indeed plays a vital role in shaping teaching and learning approaches in educational institutions and broaden students’ mental horizon. In addition, linguistic skills such as reading, speaking and listening are also essential to be incorporated in the new assessment pattern.
Further, at primary level students’ port folio in which punctuality, creativity, home assignment, discipline, cleanliness and participation in co-curricular activities should also be included in the assessment protocol. Recently, KPK Government has taken an initiative to change exam pattern from traditional to conceptual learning by selecting questions from students’ learning outcomes rather than from the defined exercises mentioned at the end of each lesson.
This new pattern needs to be replicated in all schools of each province of the country. However, to succeed with the modern pattern in schools, certain steps need to be taken on behalf of ministry of education and its concerned departments. This includes acquainting students with the new summative assessment procedures and for this orientation session to be arranged for headmasters, parents and teachers during summer and winter vacations.
The examination section has to be established in every district education office and sub office at Tehsil level where subject specialists and teacher trainers need to be appointed on merit basis with the provision of prerequisite facilities and have to be assigned the task of item writing for setting standardized question papers for conducting examinations successfully.
Succinctly, summative assessment pattern is to be changed from conventional mode to conceptual manner by selecting questions from students learning outcomes and text rather than from exercises of each unit. This would help students to get rid of rote learning and cheating in exam and can enhance their critical, creative and conceptual understanding of the text materials.