Academic journal article Journal of Gender and Social Issues

A Critical Analysis of Student Assessment at Secondary Level (Grade IX and X) in Pakistan

Academic journal article Journal of Gender and Social Issues

A Critical Analysis of Student Assessment at Secondary Level (Grade IX and X) in Pakistan

Article excerpt

Byline: Ms. Fizza Sabir


Student assessment is a vital component of education system. It focuses on students' understanding of what they have learnt and accomplished. Clear identification of learning and performance goals is a must for devising a useful assessment system. There are different approaches to student assessment, some of them emphasizing on integrative approaches including assessment by teachers, assessment by external examiners and self- assessment. It is emphasized by a few to focus on students' performance assessment in their investigative skills whereas others have suggested assessing multiple forms of intelligence and skills. The method of assessment of secondary students in Pakistan does not use integrative approach. The assessment is done on annual basis where student classroom performance throughout the year is not given any consideration neither is there any system in place for self-assessment. The examination is focused on memory and recall test of students and rarely ever on testing their analytical abilities.

This paper will conclude with some recommendations to improve the assessment method for students at secondary level in Pakistan.


Assessment is a vital component of an education system that can make it successful in achieving its goals. A system my not be able to show improvement over the years, if no continuous assessment along with new approaches is practiced. Approaches and methods of assessment used in some countries are quite modernized since they understand that the range of best assessment methods is very important for betterment of students as well for improving the overall education system. Whereas in other countries, the education system is still using the same assessment methods they were using about twenty years back without trying to bring in some modern approaches of assessment, Pakistan is one of the examples. This paper is analyzing the assessment method used in Pakistan for students at secondary level (grade IX-X) in public schools.

There are basically two types of school in Pakistan: Government and private schools (e.g., Farah and Ali as cited in Gupta, 2007). Majority of the population in Pakistan has low income level and live in rural areas and can only afford sending their children to Government schools. However, it is generally perceived by parents that quality of education in private schools is better than the public schools, therefore, the parents who can afford to pay high fee, prefer to send their children to private schools. These trends indicate that the public education system is unable to meet public demand for providing quality education in the country (Shah, 2003). It is imperative to eradicate the weaknesses in the education system at public schools so that they can meet the public demands and expectations and thus, can attract students belonging to all socio-economic classes.

Assessment is one of the most important constituents for improvement in education system. It has been defined by Salvia and Ysseldyke (2004) as a process of collecting data for the purpose of making decisions about individuals and groups (p.4). Hence, the process of assessment has to be stretched over a period of time and not just one time testing to make important decisions about the students. Assessment can be done using a number of sources such as direct observations, existing information e.g., portfolios, interviews with those who know the students other than school setting e.g., parents or previous teachers, professional judgements and finally the tests (Boyle and Fisher, 2007). The same kind of idea has been suggested by Athanasou and Lampriansou (2002) while emphasizing on teacher assessment, self-assessment and peer assessment.

Assessment has been defined by them as the process of collecting and combining information from tasks with a view to making a judgment about a person or making a comparison against an established criterion (p. …

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