Assessment and Examination in the Secondary School: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Trainers

By Richard Riding; Sue Butterfield | Go to book overview
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Chapter Two

THE TYPES, PURPOSES AND EFFECTS OF ASSESSMENT
Christopher BuckleThe General Certificate of Secondary Education was introduced after many years of discussion about the nature and purpose of secondary education in this country. It had been argued that with an increasing number of young people continuing their education after the age of sixteen the traditional examinations no longer merited such an important place in the education system. While this may not have been the case there was wide agreement that the nature of the skills which could be tested by traditional examinations was restricted and did not properly reflect the actual learning outcomes of the courses. It was also argued that many of the skills which were not adequately tested by such a system were those skills considered to be of particular value after the individual had completed that part of their formal education.Three important questions should be asked about examinations. These are:
1 To what extent does the examination enable students to reveal the variety as well as the level of the knowledge and skills they have acquired?
2 Does the format used to report the results to candidates, teachers, potential employers, etc., ensure that such information is full, detailed, and described in such a way that it is meaningful to them?
3 Do the syllabuses and examination provide an adequate framework for improving the quality of teaching and learning?

These questions raise issues which are related to the types of evaluation and the individual's learning characteristics and learning history. These issues have been developed and discussed in educational literature in recent years. In this chapter the GCSE syllabuses and examinations will be

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