Educational evaluation started off as a branch of psychology in the late 50s, as a result of curriculum innovations. It was then referred to as Educational Measurement, Measurement and Evaluation or Test and Measurement.
Within the last few decades, educational evaluation has grown into a separate, independent discipline, though with some leanings on the ideas of psychologists, psychometricians and statisticians. Efforts of educational evaluators have been directed specifically towards using precision, objectivity and mathematical vigour of psychological measurement in ways directly related to educational institutions, educational processes and purposes.
Educational evaluation involves the systematic assessment of educational activities. Objects of evaluation include instructional programs, school initiatives and education goals. The growth in federal funding for education and policy-makers’ increased calls for school accountability have contributed to the growth of educational evaluation. Many large school districts have personnel responsible for evaluation activities.
Definitions of Educational Evaluation
Various ideas and definitions of educational evaluation are given by different people/researchers.
According to Tuckman (1975) evaluation is a process wherein the parts, processes, or outcomes of a programme are examined to see whether they are satisfactory, particularly with reference to the stated objectives of the programme, our own expectations, or our own standards of excellence.
According to Cronbach et al (1980) evaluation means the systematic examination of events occurring in and consequent on a contemporary programme. It is an examination conducted to assist in improving this programme and other programmes having the same general purpose.
For Thorpe (1993) evaluation is the collection analysis and interpretation of information about training as part of a recognized process of judging its effectiveness, its efficiency and any other outcomes it may have.
This is a broad term that refers to the systematic determination of outcomes or characteristics by means of some sort of assessment device. It is a systematic process of obtaining the quantified degree to which a trait or an attribute is present in an individual or object. In other words it is a systematic assignment of numerical values or figures to a trait or an attribute in a person or object. For instance what is the height of Uche? What is the weight of the meat? What is the length of the classroom? In education, the numerical value of scholastics ability, aptitude, achievement etc can be measured and obtained using instruments such as paper and pencil test. It means that the values of the attribute are translated into numbers by measurement.
Principles of Educational Evaluation
There are important factors to note which can serve as guides to educational evaluators in seeing to the effective planning and implementation of educational programmes, to yield the desired positive results.
The classroom teacher or evaluator should always be perfectly clear in bis mind about what he is aiming to achieve i.e. what to evaluate and how to evaluate. Evaluation of educational programmes should be comprehensive i.e. assess pupils’ progress in all areas. Educational evaluation, apart from testing knowledge (Memorization), should also bring about pupils originality and use of ideas, and their ability to think and apply the knowledge and skills already learnt.
It is noted here that evaluation as an integral part of the instructional process involves three steps. These are i. Identifying and defining the intended outcomes. ii. Constructing or selecting tests and other evaluation tools relevant to the specified outcomes, and iii. Using the evaluation results to improve learning and teaching.
More so, evaluation is a continuous process. It is essential in all fields of teaching and learning activity where judgment needs to be made.
All evaluation devices/instruments should be valid and reliable. They are valid when they measure what they aim to measure, and they are reliable when they produce consistent results over time. The teacher as an evaluator should be impartial as much as possible. He should try to avoid personal prejudices.
All evaluation instruments should take into account the practical problems of administering and marking of the responses i.e. the instruments should be convenient to administer and clear to the pupils. The pupils’ responses should be easy to mark. Educational evaluation should be well planned in advance and should be carried out continuously, periodically and at least each term.
Innovations Brought About in the Evaluation Technique of the Nigerian Educational System
There are some faults that can be identified in the evaluation techniques used before, which through the efforts of the educational evaluators, have been corrected or perfected. The evaluation technique used before was the one-shot or final, end-of-term or year or session examination. This technique had served as a great ‘threat’ to the students, resulting in students’ cheating, memorizing notes and carrying out premature search for question papers in a bid to pass. Students who passed the end of the year examination through memorization are tagged brilliant while those who failed either as a result of initial problems or due to lack of proper guide are regarded as being dull.
Efforts have greatly been made to see that students’ progress in school which has been neglected before is adequately monitored. The problems of the student in specific intellectual task which are not detected until late before are now easily detected.
The one shot end-of-term examination technique which has been given undue publicity in schools, leading to tension in the students, have been greatly de-emphasized due to progressive monitoring of students’ achievement, during the term or session and the introduction of continuous assessment method. Great efforts are now been made by evaluators to de-emphasize consideration tor certificate only in job placement but to consider also the skill and interest of individuals in the job.
In the previous evaluation technique used, the students’ assessment is usually not conducted in a systematic way. Assignments given to students are not always marked or graded. Students are given class test to keep them busy when the teacher is not around or when the lesson is not prepared for. The introduction of continuous assessment in all schools has had a tremendous impact in the gradual if not total elimination of these lapses.
The use of diagnostic evaluation in determining the entry level or educational background of the pupils has helped considerably in checking various problems associated with mass admission of students.
Previously, undue emphasis had been given to the cognitive achievement of the students at the expense of the affective and psychomotor domains. Now intensive efforts are in progress to evaluate the students in both. The educational evaluators are making tireless efforts to see to the complete eradication of all problems hi students’ assessment that can lead to examination malpractices.
The Purpose of Measurement and Evaluation
The main purposes of measurement and evaluation are:
i. Placement of student, which involves bringing students appropriately in the learning sequence and classification or streaming of students according to ability or subjects. ii. Selecting the students for courses – general, professional, technical, commercial etc. iii. Certification: This helps to certify that a student has achieved a particular level of performance. iv. Stimulating learning: this can be motivation of the student or teacher, providing feedback, suggesting suitable practice etc. v. Improving teaching: by helping to review the effectiveness of teaching arrangements. vi. For research purposes.
vii. For guidance and counseling services.
viii. For modification of the curriculum purposes.
ix. For the purpose of selecting students for employment
x. For modification of teaching methods.
xi. For the purposes of promotions to the student.
xii. For reporting students progress to their parents.
xiii. For the awards of scholarship and merit awards.
xiv. For the admission of students into educational institutions. xv. For the maintenance of students.
Educational evaluation provides adequate and effective feedback on students’ achievement not only in the cognitive area, but also hi the areas of interest and manipulative skill. It provides feed-back from students to the teacher about the effect of the teacher’s teaching method. It also provides feedback from the teachers to the parents about their ward’s performance. It provides feed-back from school administrators to the policy makers to determine the success of the programme. Continual educational evaluation provides valuable information about the pupils’ progress and comparison with other pupils in the class.
Adequate educational evaluation also acts as an incentive to pupils’ studies. The test, examination and evaluation devices stimulate pupils’ interest and enable them to make, greater efforts. Without the use of evaluation devices, most pupils will not take their learning seriously. The use of such evaluation devices as observational techniques, assignments, continuous assessment and projects prevents one-short examinations which can lead to excessive memorization, cramming, unhealthy competition, and the complete neglect of other non-measurable aims of education.
Educational evaluation provides pupils record of attainment which can be used for selection for further education, for placement into class or job, and for guidance and counselling purposes.
Evaluation of pupils’ progress provides a valuable source material for educational research. Data on pupils’ achievements can help research workers and teachers to identify important educational problems in schools and provide solutions which will help in the improvement of the quality of education.
Role of Agencies of Evaluation In Educational Development.
Some of the agencies of educational evaluation in Nigeria are: West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Teachers Institute (NTI), National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEM), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Colleges of Education, Technical Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities.
The government, through the Nigerian Educational Research Council (NERC) reforms the national educational policy and objectives, with the aim of designing new curricula for the various levels of the educational system.
The West African Examination Council controls all forms of educational development and evaluation of the school certificate or general certificate ordinary and advance levels. WAEC is the curriculum planner, developer and evaluator. The teachers are the implementors. WAEC designs the syllabus for the various subjects offered at various levels of secondary education each year. It is on the syllabus that the teachers based their scheme of work, their specific objectives and their lesson plans.
At the end of duration of the course WAEC organizes assessment examinations for school certificate and general certificate (OIL & A/L). It prepares a general time-table, appoint supervisors for the conduct of the examinations, and appoint experienced markers to mark the answer scripts, collate the marks, carry out the analysis of the results to determine the grade to which each student’s mark falls,
In Nigeria, the WAEC result is the standard eligibility result, qualifying each candidate for further studies or for job selection and placement. National Teachers Institute: Carries out similar functions as WAEC but is concerned with Teachers Grade II certificate only. Recently it has got involved in the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) Sandwich programme. National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEM):
The board conducts, assesses and controls all forms of examinations involving technical colleges and institutes of education throughout the nation. It has its headquarters in Benin. The function of the board is similar to that of WAEC. In addition to basic sciences, they also examine all subjects in technical education, social studies and English language. The result obtained here can be used for further studies or job placements. Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB):
It represents the transitional agency from the secondary to the tertiary institutions such as the colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities. Its role is to set common entrance examination questions in all subjects, for all candidates seeking admission into higher institutions. Candidates with good passes in advance level papers or NCE are offered direct admission to the Universities of their choice.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In general, those practitioners in the educational system are most of the times interested in ascertaining the outputs of the educational programme. Output is counted in terms of test results which are naturally expressed in quantitative indices such as scores or marks. Test, which is a device, an instrument or a tool consisting of a set of tasks or questions, is used to obtain the results. Test can be in the form of pen and paper examination, assignments, practical etc. The process of administering this test is called testing. But an act of measurement is done when we award marks to an answer paper or assignment.
So measurement gives the individual’s ability in numerical indices of scores i.e. measurement is quantitative. Assessment can be seen as the engine that drives and shapes learning, rather than simply an end of term examination that grades and reports performance. Evaluation is expressed in qualitative indices such as good, excellent pass or fail.
Value judgment is therefore attached to the measurement.
Evaluation can be placement, formative, diagnostic or summative
Cronbach, L. J. (1960); Essentials of psychological testing (2nd edition), New York: Harper.
Obimba, F.U. (1989); Fundamental of Measurement and Evaluation in Education and Psychology. Owerri, Totan Pub. Ltd.
Paul, L. D. (1976); Handbook of Academic Evaluation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Ohuche, R.O. and Akeju, S.A. (1977); Testing and Evaluation in Education. Lagos: African Educational Resources (AER)
STRAIDE Handbook (2002); Assessment and Evaluation in Distance Education. New Delhi: A Publication of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Tuchman, B.W. (1975); Measuring Educational Outcomes Fundamental of Testing. Atlanta: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich inc.
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