Title

Investigating ESL teachers’ classroom based assessment practices in a secondary school in Kenya

Author

Grace Mukiru

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Lilian Vikiru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Marriote Mgwaru

Department

Institute for Educational Development, East Africa

Abstract

Classroom Based assessment (CBA) is a crucial component in the ESL classroom. With this realization came the major shift toward using classroom assessment to promote learning rather than just to measure it. This study focused on developing a better understanding of ESL teachers' classroom based assessment practices in a public secondary school in Kenya. The study employed a qualitative case study design. Participants consisted of three ESL teachers .Data was collected through the qualitative semi-structured interview format, classroom observations, document analysis and informal conversations. Findings indicate that teachers have similar views about CBA being important and beneficial in assessing learners’ daily progress in language. The study reports that teachers make an effort to employ a variety of assessment methods in their ESL lessons. Some of the methods include closed tasks, informal assessment, and formal assessment and peer marking. However, most of the methods used accorded the teachers more control of the learning process than learners. Despite using many methods, the teachers faced difficulties such as pressure from the school system, time constraints occasioned by heavy workloads and large class size which influenced the teachers' assessment implementation. Additionally, teachers' self-perception of their assessment competency and background in assessment education facilitated their use of a variety of assessment methods. Finally, the study recommends that teachers make use of assessments that involve learners such as peer assessment and self assessment. The study recommends that teacher educators review the English Education course so that the modality of training includes assessment in the subject methods course and not only general education courses as has been the case. Curriculum developers need to review pre-service programs especially the subject methods courses and modify them to include assessment in the specific subjects alongside offering professional development courses for practicing teachers.

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