To investigate how summative examinations influence the teaching of English language in form four classes

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Shelina Walli

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mary Oluga


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Summative assessments for learning are examinations done at the end of a formal learning program. They are meant to determine a student’s understanding of the taught concepts and skills, and may determine the student’s exit achievement. The purpose of this study was to investigate how summative examinations influence the teaching of English language in the form four classes. A qualitative research approach was used, and data was collected from two secondary schools. The participants in the study were six teachers who were teaching English in form four classes, chosen through purposive sampling. During the study data was collected using one on one face-to-face structured interview, document analysis and class observation. The data analysis was non-numerical. The responses got from the interviews, document analysis and class observations was sorted and grouped according to the emerging themes. The findings from the study showed that teaching in the form four classes seemed to put more time on testing as there were many programs put in place to enable teachers to give and mark tests. The teaching methods used in the classrooms were largely determined by the national summative examination while the content of the revision materials was tailored to take the KCSE examination format. The study also revealed that teachers were aware of how the test items were presented in the examinations and so spent most of the time drilling students on them. On this basis it is recommended that teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector put in place modalities that will help to change the trend of “teaching to the test” and focus on effective acquisition of language skills and communicative competence of students. Further research is needed to look at other factors that may also influence the teaching of the English language to the extent that the acquisition of the expected communicative skills is not achieved at the end of the four years of secondary education.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library