An investigation into the extent to which head teachers monitor continuous assessment activities in selected secondary schools in Solwezi district.

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Chiyenge, Frank
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The University of Zambia
This study sought to examine the extent to which head teachers monitor continuous assessment in selected secondary schools of Solwezi District of North-Western province of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to; identify the types of continuous assessment activities undertaken in selected secondary schools in Solwezi district, establish how often teachers conduct continuous assessment in their respective subjects, determine the extent to which head teachers support continuous assessment activities in their schools and how, and establish challenges faced by schools in undertaking continuous assessment activities in the selected secondary schools in Solwezi district. This research employed a descriptive research design. The sample comprised five head teachers, five deputy head teachers, eleven heads of department, fifty eight teachers and one hundred and one pupils provided. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews schedule for administrators while questionnaires were used to collect data from teachers and pupils. Data was analyzed using excel a computer software which facilitated mathematical manipulation of data and the creation of frequency tables, tables and charts. Furthermore, qualitative data collected was analyzed using content analysis. The study established that continuous assessment activities undertaken in selected secondary schools in Solwezi district included class exercises, end of topic test, week 4, 9 and end of term tests. The study also revealed that teachers did not frequently conduct continuous assessment activities. They relied on testing as directed by the education assessment policy of testing the learners three times in a term. Only four out of 58 teachers indicated that besides the mandatory week 4, 9 and end of term tests, they gave a lot of homework and class exercises to learners. It also indicated that head teachers gave some support to teachers and learners by providing stationary especially during the mandatory three tests alluded to above and also provided preparation books. However head teachers did not provide such material other assessments initiated by the teachers. Teaching and learning aids were rarely given to teachers. The study also indicated that schools faced challenges in undertaking continuous assessment activities. The challenges included poor funding by the government, and failure on the part of head teachers to prioritize academic activities against extra- curricular activities. Other challenges were inadequate furniture and over enrolment, causing a lot of overcrowding in classes. The study made the following recommendations; teachers should be encouraged to use additional assessment strategies such as portfolios, projects, practical work, interviews; head teachers should develop more interest in monitoring and supporting continuous assessment in school by ensuring that teachers are provided with the necessary teaching and learning materials; school management should always prioritize activities that are more to do with learners’ learning and reinforce continuous profession development meeting to capacity build teachers more on the importance of carrying continuous assessment; government should increase funding to all learning institutions so that materials required for training teachers and teaching which go with assessments are procured.
Continuous assessment.