Classroom Assessment Culture in Ghana’s Education System

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Baidoo-Anu, David
Assessment Culture , Ghana , Classroom Assessment , Education System , Teachers , Approaches to Assessment , Conceptions of Assessment , Students
Assessment culture is context-specific teachers’ classroom assessment approaches and students’ assessment experiences, shaped by interactions of teachers’ and students’ conceptions about assessment, sociocultural, political, historical, and educational cultural context in which classroom learning is situated. The assessment culture that exists in each educational context plays a significant role in shaping classroom practices and students’ assessment and learning experiences. Understanding the assessment culture that exists in any educational system is the fundamental process to improving and advocating for systemic assessment reforms that support teaching and learning and raising students’ achievement. Therefore, the overarching purpose of this study was to investigate the assessment cultures in Ghana by exploring K-12 teachers’ approaches to assessment and students’ conceptions of assessment and the influential factors. Using a survey design, 427 K-12 teachers and 405 Junior and Senior School students in Ghana participated in this study. The teachers responded to three major surveys: abridged version of the Approaches to Classroom Assessment Inventory (ACAI; version 3.0), abridged version of the Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment Scale-III (TCoA-III), and Perceived Factors that Shape Approaches to Assessment Scale. Students also responded to two major surveys: Students’ Conceptions of Assessment Inventory (SCoA-VI) and Perceived Factors that Shape Conceptions of Assessment Scale. The results of the study showed that, despite having the same educational system and policies, Ghanaian K-12 teachers have varying ways of approaching classroom assessment, even with consistent assessment policies across the country. Three distinct groups of assessors were identified from the teachers who participated in this study: improvement-accountability oriented assessors, teacher-centred assessors, and accountability-oriented assessors. Students also have varying conceptions of classroom assessment (i.e., mixed conceptions of assessment, improvement conceptions of assessment, and negative conceptions of assessment). The study found that the factors that shape Ghanaian teachers’ approaches to assessment span from micro level systems, such as interactions of teachers’ and students’ personal dispositions (e.g., teachers’ and students’ conceptions of assessment), demographics (e.g., years of teaching experience, age, assessment education, school division, class level, and area school is located), to macro level systems, such as educational policies, national standardized testing, high-stakes assessment results use, and societal and cultural values.
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