Schools are ever busy putting in place strategies that will enable them to performance better. They fast track completion of syllabuses by having extra lessons, religiously administer written monthly tests, have common cluster or regional tests, introducing more studies including weekends, or increasing study time. In most cases, these worsen the situation as learners get stressed. One possible strategy often overlooked is accreditation.
Accreditation simply is the inspection of the learning quality indicators in the school to see if they exist and are adequate. schools can accredit themselves as a way of improving achievement. Institutional self-accreditation covers all the aspects of an institution, no matter how remotely related to learning they may seem, to determine how well they work together. These may include:
The school vision and mission: Every school should have a vision and mission statement which describe what they want to be and how to get there. The mere presence of these statements is not enough, but what is of significance is whether all employees, including learners, were involved in their formulation and understand it the same. Developed in this way, it serves as a strategic plan for success, motivation, and act as a guide when employees encounter challenges.
School Leadership: school heads as instructional leaders should be well grounded in assessment principles to effectively lead the team. Their understanding of learners differences in learning styles and capabilities should enable them to provide enough resources, cultivate a conducive environment for assessment, capacitate teachers in various assessment formats, and put in place a monitoring mechanism and a strategy for continuous improvement. The school head should cultivate a culture of excellence by entrenching quality into the system and the doers.
The School Curriculum: the school should craft its own curriculum derived from the main curriculum, which itself is a general guide to the educational standard. The curriculum should be developed in standards-based format for ease of implementation and assessment. Once the curriculum has been derived, the likelihood of congruence between the intended curriculum, the implemented curriculum and the achieved curriculum is high.
Teacher competency to assess: assessment skills encompass knowledge of test development, a variety of assessment formats, understanding the different types of purposes of assessment which in turn determines which or what assessment format to use, types of assessment methods, methods of grading, score analysis and interpretation, and crafting of marking schemes, use of assessment to improve learning, pre-testing and post testing, tracking learner progress, among others.
Workload: If teacher workload is high, assessment is likely to be of poor quality. The amount of workload is positively correlated with the quality of assessment conducted by the teacher. Thus the more the learners in a class, the more the work for individualised assessment in a learner-centred approach. Consequently, class size should not be more than twenty-five learners for effective assessment to take place.
Documentation: In order to track learners progress and institute continuous improvement, there is need for keeping of quality records of learners’ assessment. In addition, there should be proper documentation to guide assessors on appropriate assessment.
Moderation: Sometimes it’s necessary to conduct summative assessment to check learning progress against the national standards. Despite rigorous training on assessment teachers received, they will naturally differ in how they score learners work despite using the standardised marking scheme. Hence internal moderation strategies should be in place. Moderation is done prior to assessment, during assessment and after assessment for assessment to be fair to all learners.
Parental Involvement: The public does not believe that school-based assessment could be valid and reliable. Schools should engage parents such as attending regular school meetings, interacting with teachers and serving in various committees including assessment committees to observe and appreciate the authenticity of school-based assessment. Furthermore, parents understand their children’s skills and competencies better thus can help the teacher to appropriately situate the assessment of the learners.
Community Participation: the school exists within the community, as such community members should be actively involved in the school activities. The community understands their context better and can help in formulating effective curriculum and learning experiences. The community finances learning including assessment in various ways. Some members of the community have expertise in various educational areas that they can volunteer to help the school.
Learner involvement: learning is for learners, therefore everything about learning should involve them. Learners should know in advance how they will be assessed and in what content. They should also be involved in self- and peer assessment. A variety of assessment modes should be in place to assess learners to match their learning styles and rates. Learners should therefore have the right to the assessment procedures and should have the willingness to complete the assessment to give the assessment the indispensable validity.
Monitoring and Supervision: A self-checking mechanism should be imbedded in the process for the doer. Monitoring and supervision are extremely important as a continuous process aimed at improving assessment. But when the above standards are in place, monitoring and supervision becomes minimal.
If these and any other specific indicator to the school are in place, the assessment would be of high quality resulting in impactful learning.
Yes, It’s possible!