Assessment procedures in Zimbabwe's secondary schools
After consideration of a variety of psychometric theories by psychologists in developed countries, assessment techniques being employed in Zimbabwe's secondary schools were investigated. The views of teachers and heads of departments on present assessment practice were appealed to as possible bases for the development of an alternative. Assessment system more appl1cable to Zimbabwe. The sample, drawn from five. Education·provinces·of Zimbabwe - Mashonaland, Manicaland, Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo - consisted of 100 school heads and heads of departments and 334 teachers from Group A, Group B and rural secondary schools. (Group A schools are the former Europeans only-schools situated in the former Europeans-only suburbs, while Group B schools are Africans-only schools situated in urban high-density areas) The research was organised in three phases: (1) interviews and questionnaires to heads and teachers in 48 secondary schools selected through the use of stratified random sampling methods in order to determine existing assessment practice in schools; (11) a training and evaluation programme for teachers and heads in schools identified as showing poor practice; and (111) another survey in both 'good practice' and 'bad practice' schools to establish present think1ng and attitudes towards psychometric testing with a view to disseminating useful information to other schools. Analysts of the first set of questionnaires revealed that: (i) there was no significant difference in assessment practice between Group A and Group·B schools; (ii) a significant difference·existed between Urban (Group A and Group B) schools and Rural schools; (iii) both Urban and Rural schools had a large proportion of teachers who lacked knowledge of test-scoring techniques and the use of statistics; and (iv) the majority of teachers in Zimbabwe's secondary schools were in favour of improved methods of assessment based on psychometric procedures and more relevant to the needs of Zimbabwe. Analysis of the training programme which was implemented among 100 school heads and heads of departments and teachers from those schools identified as requiring more information on psychometric techniques revealed that most teachers benefited from such an exercise and that they felt that it ought to be implemented in all secondary schools in Zimbabwe. The final survey revealed that teachers on the whole were in favour of psychometr1c testing. However the survey also revealed that a small number of teachers preferred other techniques wh1ch were not necessarily psychometric. The thesis cons1sts of eight chapters. Chapter 1 gives the introduction and the research problem. Chapter 2 is concerned with the background to Zimbabwe's education system, while Chapter 3 looks at examination systems in other countries. In Chapter 4 the theoretical basis for the present study and literature review are given. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 deal with the present study and the results. The final chapter concentrates on the issues, findings, implications and conclusions of this research.