Classroom assessment in Mauritian primary schools
This thesis explores teachers' current knowledge and practice about classroom assessment processes in the Mauritian primary schools and reports the results of a case study, the data of which were collected during the three terms of the school year in 1998 from four primary schools that included thirty-five teachers. The interest of the case study is not to appraise the teachers' work or the school in any way; rather it is to accurately describe classroom assessment practices within the context of Mauritian primary schools. The research addresses three main questions: why teachers conduct classroom assessment, how it is conducted and what is assessed. The findings of the study indicate that teachers assess their pupils for three main reasons: providing feedback to the pupils and to themselves, reviewing the teaching methods and for diagnostic purposes. Another minor purpose noted is for communicating information to Parents. Questioning and observation are the two methods most common in the conduct of classroom assessment. Questioning techniques are mostly closed ones, with a view to seeking a specific answer from the pupils. Teachers interpret the information collected with reference to three general standards: criterion -referenced, norm-referenced and self-referenced. In general, the findings indicate that teachers' practices are oriented more towards the traditional pedagogy in terms of emphasis on the lower level objectives, whole class teaching and focusing on the product. No provision is made for the able or the less able. All the pupils are treated the same and are given the same tasks. Almost a decade after the introduction and implementation of the Learning Competencies and the scheme for Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation, it is found that Mauritian primary teachers do not have the relevant training in assessment to fully apply the progressive reforms. Despite the education system being very centralised, it seems that teachers assess their pupils independently and without any support from the government. There is no monitoring, moderating or policing of policies. Assessment practices are derived from their habit and ideology rather than from the official directives.