Investigating how assessment contributes to learning during English language lessons in a secondary school in kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Lilian Vikiru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Ms. Mary Anyango Oluga


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


In Kenya, there are high stakes national examinations. As a result, these examinations greatly impact content, methods and even strategies used in school. This has resulted into a situation where, instead of assessment supporting learning , the assessment activities end up interfering with learning, as stakeholders strive to better learner achievement, in the process overlooking lifelong learning which is the goal of the curriculum. The pedagogical shift from the teaching to the learning culture has to some extend impacted teachers' classroom activities, with learners' voice being allowed in learning activities. However, educators continue to take full charge of assessment activities and the learner is not given a chance to take part in making any decisions concerning their assessment. This study narrows down to CBA during English language lessons, in an effort to find out how teachers of ESL endeavor to ensure learners competently communicate using the language. Thus, this study sought to explore how assessment during the ESL lessons contributes towards learning in a secondary school, in Kenya. The study employed a qualitative case study design, with one teacher and one class being the research participants. Data was collected through lesson observation, focus group discussion, documentary analysis and a semi-structured interview. The findings established that both the teachers and learners acknowledge the vital role that CBA plays in the learning process. However, it was revealed that the pressure from the high stakes national examinations, heavy workload and teacher assessment literacy skills were impeding factors to the effective use of CBA with assessment being reduced to repeated summative assessment tests, aimed at helping the learners pass. The study was carried out in one school, using one teacher. A similar study covering a wider diverse scope in order to tap from this noble classroom practice is recommended.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library