Assessment and curriculum goals and objectives : evaluation of the systemic impact of the SSSCE on the senior school Social Studies curriculum in Ghana
Assessment is seen as the process of determining the extent to which the changes in behaviour, pertaining to curriculum objectives, are actually taking place in learners. Thus it is argued that as the array of valuable educational objectives expand, so must the instruments necessary for the appropriate assessment of these outcomes (Cizek, 1997). Social Studies in the Senior Secondary Schools in Ghana has been transformed into a trans-disciplinary, thematic based subject, with special emphasis on affective and skills outcomes. However, the assessment of its learning outcomes, particularly at the external level, leaves much to be desired since only the traditional form of assessment is employed in this direction. It is therefore argued that the use of only the traditional method of assessment in such an innovative curriculum will inhibit its pursuit in the classroom and doom it to a short life (Broadfoot, 1995; Kliebard, 1988). The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the systemic impact of the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination on the Social Studies curriculum as a whole, with specific reference to teachers' classroom practices, curriculum content, its implementation and students' attainment. Six research questions (three major and three subsidiaries) were used to form the bases of the research. A mixed-method research design was employed in collecting and analysing data from various sources (including teachers, past SSSCE Papers and the syllabus). The findings are presented and subsequently discussed over three chapters in the thesis. Some of the major findings include the evidence that: 1. The SSSCE does not adequately cover all the goals and objectives of Social Studies in Ghana; 2. The SSSCE has a constraining impact on teachers' classroom practices; and 3. There is a proportional relationship between the curriculum coverage of the external assessment and that of teachers in their instructional and assessment practices.