Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE credits
Assessment in education can have many purposes. It is claimed that in Afghanistan, most of the teachers do assessment of learning rather than assessment for learning. They pay more attention on grading to encourage the students to study their lesson to pass grades with higher scores, which in turn promote competitive not cooperative learning. Many teachers assess students for evaluation and put students in a situation that student should study not for learning but for marks. Such a views and practices of assessment do not promote active and productive learning in schools (Schunk, 2011).
In this study, it is tried to find out the teachers’ views on assessment practice and teachers’ understanding of assessment, an area where there were not much attention paid in Afghanistan. The study has been conducted in five districts of Bamyan province (Center of Bamyan, Shibar, Yakawlang, Panjab and Waras districts) where views of 85 schools teachers were collected through a questionnaire. Additionally, teaching of 15 teachers (among the 85 respondent) have been observed through a structured classroom observation.
The main finding is that all of the teachers stated that assessment is important in the classroom and assessment help both teachers and students. Almost half of the teachers provide feedback to their students. All teachers pointed out that teachers should ask question in the class. When the students did not understand the questions, majority of the teachers stated that the questions should be repeated. The way that teachers ask questions is said to be put randomly to student. When teaching was observed, it was found that, half of the teachers ask how and why questions from the students. Half of the teachers checked students’ homework instead of crossing or saying it is ok.
These finding indicates that teachers are aware of the importance of assessment for learning. These views of assessment have not been observed when they teach. The contradiction observed in teachers’ views and practices might mean that although they are aware of the importance but maybe they do not know how to put it in to practice. Half of the teachers provide feedback to their students which indicate that they understand the effectiveness of giving feedback to students. Asking question in the class by teachers means that they know that questions can help teachers and students whether teachers deliver the message of the lesson and students understand the lesson. The type of question which teachers asked show that which type of question is the best way to check students understanding of an issue or and math formula in an example. Finally, teachers check students’ homework means that teachers realize that checking homework is an effective assessment practice which it can really improve students’ performance in the class and it may be a good way of encourage students.
An overall a conclusion can be drawn that teachers even aware of the importance and processes of assessment in math teaching may have problem in how to materialize in practice of teaching and lack the knowledge and skills of the main features of assessment for learning. As such school teachers in this study apply assessment mainly of learning.