Reconceptualization of assessment practices in a developing country context: A case study of master of education students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Master of Education students at lED come from developing countries in Central Asia, South Asia and East Africa. They bring together divergent educational and life experiences. However, most of the students have experienced similar assessment practices as students and teachers. In their assessment practices prior to lED, which is characterized in this study as 'traditional', teaching and learning have been geared towards examinations and tests. The selective purpose of assessment selects and rejects people, and social reproduction is maintained by the traditional assessment. Additionally, traditional assessment has often caused great deal of psychological discomfort and elements of 'unproductive competition' reflecting on extrinsic reward in schooling. At lED, they are exposed to the alternative approaches to assessment. One of the aims of lED is to "bring about improvement in the performance of teachers through professional development and improvement". In order to improve the quality of education in the developing country context, these M.Ed. students have a very intensive learning experience. They are encouraged to critically examine their existing educational philosophy, including assessment notions. Many people reconceptualize their assessment notions. After the completion of the course the M.Ed. students are potentially in a position where they will be able to influence assessment practices, to varying degree, when they return to their home work environments. The data from this study illustrate how the M.Ed. students reconceptualize their assessment practices, the factors that hinder or help them to reconceptualize, and also the implications of their lED learning experience for future professional activities. The possibility of 'dissonance' is also discussed as a number of students, although they appear to have reconceptualized their views on assessment, revert to their traditional assessment behaviours due to different internal and external factors. There is sometimes a gap between espoused and actual assessment practices at lED. Among the major reasons for that gap is the higher education system of which lED is a part. lED is required to follow accountability, quality assurance and grading practices that are congruent with the university and other institutions. Although the focus of the study was not to give suggestions for the development of IED's assessment policy and practices, implications are drawn which may assist in addressing assessment related issues more effectively.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library