The first session was held in Tamale for the northern sector of the country, while another one took place in Kumasi to collate views from stakeholders in the middle belt of the country.The Accra engagement brought together participants from the Volta, Oti, Central and the Greater Accra regions, as well as teacher unions and student groups, to brainstorm the NPLAF document developed by the NaCCA.
When approved, the framework will serve as a yardstick to assist the implementation of the standards-based curriculum.
It was attended by teachers, heads of schools, metropolitan, municipal and district directors of education and other stakeholders in the southern sector of the country.
It is designed to guide assessment practices in schools and in the entire educational system.
The framework also seeks to ensure strong linkages among the curriculum, mode of learning, teaching and assessment at the pre-tertiary level.
The engagement was critical to get the buy-in of stakeholders and the general public and to make them own the document to facilitate its implementation, which will ultimately translate into improved learning outcomes.
On the theme “Redefining assessment to improve learning outcomes,” the framework will help the managers of education in the country to determine the extent to which learners are attaining the curriculum standards at each grade-level.
This is particularly important because there is the need to develop a corresponding learning assessment framework to ensure reliability and validity of assessment records.
The framework seeks to provide general guidelines for measuring the progress and achievement of all learners at various grade-levels against national standards.
It is anticipated that the framework will help ensure fairness, accountability and public confidence in the assessment system across the country.
Generally, the assessment of learning at the pre-tertiary level will be used to take decisions on remediation, placement, promotion, certification, learner progress, selection, resource allocation, system monitoring, interventions in education and teacher orientation.
This will end the current situation where some critical decisions on learners, school, teachers and indeed the educational system are taken haphazardly based on what the assessor deems fit and necessary.
Who is assessed?
The NPLAF will not focus only on the learner but will trickle down to cover the teacher, the school and the education system in general.
For the learner, he or she will be assessed based on entry knowledge, skill and experience, learning needs, progression in learning and the achievement in learning at the end of a given grade level.
The teacher will be assessed based on professional knowledge, professional practice and professional values and attitudes, while the school is assessed based on the performance of the learners and the teachers, the school leadership style and management performance as well as the availability and use of resources and infrastructure.
Under the NPLAF, the system will be assessed based on the strengths and weaknesses of the entire pre-tertiary educational system, and the effectiveness of monitoring and supervision.
Priority areas for planning, intervention and policy direction will be identified and government provided with robust data on performance for decision making.
What is assessed?
According to the NaCCA, the assessment would be based on core competencies focusing on critical thinking and problem solving; the 4Rs - Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and cReativity- and system, leadership and management performance.
It is hoped that after the collation of all the ideas, inputs and suggestions from the about 3,000 stakeholders nationwide, the final document that will be developed will be a true reflection of the engagement and accepted as a collective and acceptable document for the good of the educational sector.
The challenge in most of such policy documents in this country has always been the absence of buy-in by the very people who will be implementing them and so such policies ‘die’ before implementation.
It is in this vein that the appeal by the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo, to the participants in Accra was timely and appropriate.
She charged the participants to effectively contribute to the discussions, make their voices heard and provide suggestions that would help make the document all inclusive and generally accepted as a true reflection of the deliberations.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr Kwabena Tandoh, in his remarks, explained that the assessment and assessment framework usually provided a conceptual mind of learning outcomes.
“Assessment also helps us to understand in detail what needs to be assessed or needs to be measured as evidence of learning. It also helps us to see if our learners can demonstrate skills in the form of demonstration,” he explained.
Explaining the purpose of the gathering, the Executive Secretary of NaCCA, Dr Prince Hamid Armah, said it was out of the national curriculum framework that the subject curricula were developed and handed over to the GES for implementation.
He said there were other important accompanying documents that needed to be developed and outlined them as textbooks, instructional resources and teachers’ guide, among others.
Dr Armah explained that the textbooks were currently being developed by publishers and “we have also received some of the completed ones and we are in the process of reviewing them.”