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Continuous Assessment Framework: Govt urged to avail resources to rural schools

Adequate resources must be availed to rural schools for the effective implementation of the Continuous Assessment Framework (CAF) for primary and secondary examination classes

This follows the pronouncement by the government that all examination classes will this year be subjected to a new examination model that will combine marks for continuous assessment as well as the final examinations.

Continuous assessment is the assessment of a learner’s progress throughout study rather than exclusively considering the final examination mark.

The model emphasises the assessment of knowledge, skills, abilities, values, and trends to ascertain the achievement of desired learner exit profile at any level.

The primary and secondary education ministry said the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) examinations and the continuous assessment framework will now form part of the weighted contribution to learner performance outcomes in grade seven, form four, and form six public examinations.

In an interview with CITE, a lecturer from Lupane State University (LSU), Dr Christopher Ndlovu said the continuous assessment model is a noble idea if it is properly done and adequate resources are available.

“The continuous assessment issue is a complex issue first and foremost, it should be appreciated that the model or idea behind it is very noble because it will help learners to grasp the curriculum very well because they will be subjected to practical and use applications,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“Learners can go out and do their independent research, present and do some projects within their subject area. So, if it is done well and is planned for properly and resources are adequate and the teachers are also equipped to assess, the model is very good”.

He said there is a need for the capacitation of teachers and standardisation of the model throughout the country.

“We don’t want a situation where there will be bias, the teacher will say I am giving you 98 percent for this work yet it is not done. I think it’s too early for us to adopt it this year, there is a need to capacitate and schools should have the resources and the communities should be made aware of this because students should be going out according to the curriculum to research, so I feel we need to do much preparation,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“What we could have done to start with is to do with subject areas or the argument would be like in agriculture subject they are already doing it, there is a project that they do continuously from form 3 a child is already researching may be on the different growth rate of a crop. Throughout the two years, a child is studying the effectiveness of different seeds and at the end, they compile their findings in a project format, then the teacher marks and awards marks.”

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) President Obert Masaraure also added that the program can only be feasible when there are resources.

“Implementing it without availing resources will certainly disenfranchise the majority of our learners,” he said.

“For example, if you are looking at implementing continuous learning for combined science they need to buy a lot of chemicals and other materials to implement the project. So imagine a school in Muzarabani where they don’t even know a thermometer but they need to procure enough resources for their 120 learners who are supposed to sit for combined Science, so really we need to avail resources if our schools are going to fit to implement.”

Masaraure said the idea is not to boost the marks of learners but to have a credible evaluation process that gives a true picture of the profile of every learner who is going through the education system.

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