Diagnostic Process of Continuous Assessment

Introduction

The diagnostic process of continuous assessment involves monitoring the students’ progress individually. The purpose of the monitoring is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each child. The strength here implies the level of ability, capability and potentials of the child in the three domains of education. Trying to pin the child to areas of the domains that he/she has the greatest abilities. The weakness could be in terms of the areas the child has difficulties with, the objectives that have not been achieved. The diagnosis goes further through continuous assessment to feature how well the child carries out specific tasks, for instance, giving of craftwork, drawings, debate topics, quiz, etc.

However, when weaknesses are identified, it makes provision for the counsellor to plan remedial programmes for the child. These remedial programmes pave way for the child to overcome his weaknesses. Thus, it usually follows that when the behaviour is deficient after diagnosis, the counsellor makes provision for enhancement of the behaviour and when the behaviour is excessive, the counsellor makes provision for the reduction of the behaviour. This could be linked to the behaviour modification function of a counsellor. In summary through the diagnostic function of continuous assessment, the attributes of the child are exposed, and from there the counsellor will know the process to adopt to assist the child to adjust properly in society.

For instance, through the diagnostic function of continuous assessment, a child with poor academic performance, low or high skilled among others could be identified. Such information obtained during the diagnosis could in turn be used to predict how well the child will perform in other tasks or similar tasks. Thus, observing the diagnostic nature of continuous assessment paves way for the prognostic evaluation of a child.

The Prescriptive Management of Continuous Assessment

The aim of every educational programme is to help learners acquire a framework of knowledge and concepts that lead to the total development of the individual. It is through the use of assessment procedures that one can establish the extent to which educational goals have been attained. Continuous assessment involves the measurement of the extent of progress made by an individual in the process of learning. It is the process of collecting, blending, synthesizing and interpreting information for the purpose of decision-making. In broad terms, the continuous assessment includes all the strategies teachers use to gather descriptive information in their classrooms.

To establish the level of student’s progress, most educationists resort to the use of various forms of continuous assessment strategies. The structured formal test, observation, interview, oral question, portfolios and projects are the different forms of continuous assessment that are commonly used by teachers to assess student’s learning.

Continuous assessment of learner’s progress as earlier defined by the National Policy on Education could be seen as a mechanism whereby the final grading of learners in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning systematically takes account of all their performances during a given period of schooling. Thus, the continuous assessment approach should portray the full range of sources and methods teachers use to gather, interpret and synthesize information about learners. Among such information is the information that is used to help teachers understand their learners as well as to plan and monitor classroom instruction.

The use of continuous assessment could be viewed as part of the measures that can be used to improve educational outcomes as well as student’s learning. Alternative forms of assessment if properly made use of can adequately serves as a positive tool in the teaching-learning process. Furthermore, continuous assessment if effectively implemented can provide teachers with the kind of information necessary to manage the learning needs of individual students. However, in carrying out continuous assessment, various media are used by counsellors to foster student’s thinking.

However, the use of regular individual assignments in the process of continuous assessment enhances higher student learning and achievement because they form the sources of feedback on the performance of the students and assist students to develop a critical minds and good study habits. Therefore, through the process of assessment strategies like individual and group assignments, students are built to learn more so as to improve on their academic performance and compete favourably with their colleagues.

The most commonly used continuous assessment strategies are oral presentation, interview, observation, practical test, but it is necessary to point out that due to the workload of teachers as observed by some researchers, these strategies are not being implemented accordingly. There is an indication that the paper and pen style of testing still dominates. Therefore, there is a need for schools to design a range of assessment modes such as oral questionnaires, observation of students, project work and assignments according to the school curriculum. This way, continuous assessment information on students’ progress and abilities, could be collected and given out as feedback.

The information collected will help motivate students’ learning and help teachers find ways of bringing out more effective teaching and learning processes. Thus, the prescriptive management of continuous assessment could influence learning and teaching. Therefore, counsellors need to orient the teachers on the use of a variety of instruments to effectively measure their students’ traits. The outcomes of the assessment are subsequently used to assist the students to improve upon their learning skills. By this, teachers have to be made to realize the importance of continuous assessment in order to monitor their students’ academic performance and progress.

Finally, there is this assertion that continuous assessment is used to help the students improve their learning skills; promote dialogue, among teachers and learners. It is also needed to generate knowledge in order to improve the teaching and learning process. Therefore, the prescriptive management of continuous assessment if properly done may as well give the information on the students need.

Record Keeping

For the success of the entire educational enterprise, there is a need to keep records. Record keeping involves the following:

  • Record keeping is the documentation of information for future use. The information could embrace results or scores gotten after administering a test.
  • It could be referred to as the storing of information about anybody or anything in such a way that the information would be made available at any given time when needed.
  • It is done in such a way that retrieval will not pose a problem or take time. This should not be stored mentally because it might lead to distortion of information, thereby forfeiting the aim or objective of Continuous Assessment. Records must be simple, easy to understand by the teachers, students, parents and administrators to ensure maximum benefit.

Why Should We Keep Records

There are numerous reasons for keeping records, among which are:

  1. Comparison: It paves way for the school and the family to compare the academic achievement of the child with another child.
  2. Detail: It makes provision for details of the pupils’ progress towards attaining or achieving the stated goals, objectives and aims of education.
  3. Discovery of academic flaws: It helps the teacher and the parents to discover academic flows or loophole that require remediation and also behavioural or social flaws that requires guidance and counselling so that the child will adjust properly.
  4. The record could be referred to as a useful tool when there are behaviour or work problems.
  5. Information: It provides information on the rate of progress of the child, especially in the aspect of physical and social development.
  6. Accurate or proper record-keeping helps in the facilitation transfer of the child from one school to the other. This helps the teachers, counsellors school administrators as data can easily be transferred to a pupils’ new school.
  7. Facilitates the joint efforts of the school and the home in helping the child as keeping accurate records helps in bringing the school and home closer to each other.
  8. Planning: It helps the school to plan wisely for the students within the school.
  9. Adjustment: It helps the teachers and curriculum developers to adjust and improve the curriculum in whichever way suits the children within the school and also the best way that suits the school Continuous Assessment.
  10. Promote cooperation between schools: This is achieved in the sense that record-keeping makes it possible for a detailed discussion of mutual problems. This is achieved because if records are kept they will help the teachers to quote specific examples, which could be referred to in solving a problem.

Type of Records

There are different types of records and each serves a different purpose. But the ones commonly used by teachers and counsellors are:

  1. Cumulative Record folder
  2. The transcript or report card
  3. Teacher’s class or school record.

A cumulative record folder is referred to as a telescope that supplies all the information about a student or client after having contact with a specialist or administrator in form of a recorded interview. It is a means of looking at the students objectively from cradle till the end of academic career or even to the grave. It is a way of storing and disseminating information. The cumulative record folder presents an organized, progressive record of information about individual students, which distinguishes each student’s performance from the performances of other students.

Characteristics of a Good Record

  1. Records should be cumulative: This is to say, that at the end of the course the child’s work during his/her stay in the school should contribute to his overall assessment and certificate. The contribution may not be equal but no work done by the child, should be overlooked or ignored completely.
  2. Records should be regular and should cover the student’s character and skills, not only what he has been taught.
  3. It should be easy to understand: It should be kept in such a way that it could be used meaningfully by anyone who wants to use it. All codes, signs, logos, should be interpreted.
  4. Accessibility: When required, records should be made accessible. Thus each child should have a file containing his records and should be preserved or arranged alphabetically for easy reference. But this does not mean that the records should be exposed to anybody.
  5. Confidentiality: Records should be treated with a high level of confidentiality, and should be durable.

Source of Records

The development of information about the child is a major function of the guidance programme. The major source of such information is the appraisal service. Hence the two sources of obtaining data for record-keeping are testing and non-testing sources.

Testing:

These are sources that involve one form of test or the other. This is categorized as an achievement test, aptitude test and interest test. The test makes available or makes it possible to obtain information that could not have been available about a child. To be sure that such information is usable, the test should be standardized. After administering and scoring a test the scores and information gotten from the test result are recorded.

Non-testing or Non-Cognitive:

These are sources that do not involve testing. Among such sources are observation, rating scale, checklist, letter of recommendation, interview, questionnaire, projective test, and many more. These could be subjective and deceptive and these limit the extent at which they are being used (that is, it is a limitation for they could be subjective).

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