The Dog Wagging the Tail or the Tail Wagging the Dog? the Impact of National Examinations on Curriculum Implementation in Zimbabwean Secondary Schools

By Mufanechiya, Tafara | Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, October 2012 | Go to article overview

The Dog Wagging the Tail or the Tail Wagging the Dog? the Impact of National Examinations on Curriculum Implementation in Zimbabwean Secondary Schools


Mufanechiya, Tafara, Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies


Abstract

It is now commonplace in the Zimbabwean secondary schools that examinations have dictated the curriculum instead of following it. Public examinations have negatively impacted on curriculum implementation in secondary schools. Regrettably, quality education has been the biggest casualty. This case study collected qualitative data from school heads, teachers and students to ascertain how examinations have impacted on teaching and learning. Twenty (20) form four teachers responded to questionnaires, sixty (60) students participated in focus group discussions and three (3) school heads were interviewed from the three randomly selected secondary schools in Masvingo urban. The research found that national examinations have grossly affected, influenced and dictated the way the curriculum has been implemented. School quality has thus been described in terms of the overall pass rate in national examinations. In turn, teachers have narrowly focused their teaching on possible examination topics at the expense of some vast knowledge forms. Both teachers and students have carried a heavy academic cross on their shoulders and the pressure and strain have resulted in a lot of cheating. The study recommends a two way evaluation system in which the student's school grade and that of the national examinations are combined to come up with the overall final result. The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council should have its own pool of full time item writers and examiners in order to enable teachers to have wider coverage of the syllabuses and avoid concentrating on possible examination topics.

Keywords: curriculum implementation, national examinations, quality education, assessment, evaluation.

INTRODUCTION

Zimbabwe's education system continues to be modelled along the British educational system with its deep - seated emphasis on examination. Singh's (2010) observation has been that external examinations took root in virtually all British colonies and have become entrenched as an integral part of pedagogic practice. This has had a knock -on effect on curriculum implementation of the Zimbabwean secondary school curriculum. The implementation of a viable curriculum can easily be betrayed by an examination system which pays little regard to the merits and superiority of other important skills and practical capacities over theory and academic knowledge. It is unsound educational practice to allow an examination to determine what students need to learn.

Zindi's (1989) research observed that there is too much concentration on academic subjects, with a consequent failure to value non- academic and non-cognitive aspects of the curriculum. With this scenario Stiggins (1999) noted that teachers now spend most of their teaching time in examination related activities. Without necessarily denying that examinations are one of the important and key aspects to school effectiveness and curriculum evaluation methods, the road to the examination destination should allow dynamic dialogue between the teacher and the student (Leat and Nichols, 2000). The Zimbabwean classroom scenario has shown very little respect and concern for this interaction between the teacher, student and the curriculum as sound curriculum implementation practice as examinations have become engraved in the minds of teachers and students as the only proper means of assessment. Freire (1972) has stressed that without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education. In the same vein, Ndawi and Maravanyika (2011) observe that curriculum implementation can be seen as a process of the school facilitating the interaction between the teacher and the curriculum. Teachers, because their focus is on examinations, have tended to perpetuate rote traditional, unreflective and teacher centred methods rather than bringing in innovative and productive methods that put the student at the centre. Singh (2010) says that external examinations continue to dominate and haunt the thinking of teachers in secondary schools today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Dog Wagging the Tail or the Tail Wagging the Dog? the Impact of National Examinations on Curriculum Implementation in Zimbabwean Secondary Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.