Exploring students’ learning experiences shaped by the examinations conducted by a national private examination board in Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Assessment is the driving force that is responsible for shaping the learning experiences. This research study uses Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB) affiliated school that offers both secondary (SSC) and higher secondary school certificate (HSSC) program as a case study to explore the learning experiences shaped by the high-stake examination conducted by AKU-EB. To explore this, qualitative paradigm was used comprising of semi-structured interviews, classroom observation and document analysis method. The study highlights that if the assessment is representative of the entire syllabi and does not have repetitive element it helps counter the culture of selective studies and rote memorization, also this can create a journey of learning from knowledge acquisition to life-long learning process. Further to this, data revealed that high-stake examinations invokes anxiety amongst students due to the societal pressure as these examination results are considered as the basis of ones’ career as well as good grades are considered as a social status resulting in competitions amongst family and friends. The study helps in suggesting that learning experiences can further be enriched if the societal pressures are removed as well as the atmosphere during the conduct of examination does not have the factor of newness in it, in terms of setting-up of exam centers and the hiring of invigilators. The study also recommends that assessment can be made more authentic by involving the mechanism of on-going assessment or teacher assessment component as part of the summative examination results.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library