The Comparability of Standards Set at The Zimbabwe General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level in Geography 2248 and Integrated Science 5006 Over a Period of Three Years.
MetadataShow full item record
The stakeholders of the Zimbabwean examination system expect a given grade to represent a certain achievement standard despite the year it was gained and the subject in which it was achieved. However, ten years after localising examinations the degree of similarity of the examination standards that were set by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council within each of the subjects and between any two, at the General Certificate of Education Ordinary level from 1996 to 1998 was still unknown. This study compared the same assessment objectives that are used to test the body of knowledge in Geography 2248 and Integrated Science 5006 from 1996 to 1998. Examinee-centred and test-centred approaches to comparing examination standards between and within subjects over a period of time were investigated. The correlational research design was used in the study to find out the relationship between the performances of candidates in two subjects and within each of the two subjects. The survey method was used to collect professional judgements from experts in examinations. The population from which the sample was taken is in strata that stems out of the nature of responsible authorities and geographical locations. The selection of the sample was done through the stratified random technique. A two percent sample out of a population of 110 000 students who sat for both subjects was preferred. Questionnaires were sent out to experts to collect information on their judgements of syllabus content and assessment skills in the question papers offered to candidates from 1996 to 1998. The study gathered strong evidence to show that the standards set in the two subjects were comparable from one year to the next. However, the standards in Integrated Science 5006 were not as high as those in Geography 2248 indicating that adherence to the setting standards by item writers was not as strict as required by the syllabus. Having found out that there is a similarity in the set standards over the three-year period, a system of reporting achievement is recommended by the study. The findings led to the proposal that candidates’ performance be reported using assessment objectives. This study makes a distinct contribution to the body of knowledge by using a methodology that has not been used before on the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council question papers as well as the comparing, for the first time, of the quality of question papers over time and also the performance of candidates who answered the question papers in two subjects between 1996 and 1998. The frontiers of knowledge are widened by this study because it gives stakeholders of examinations a system of reporting standards embedded in candidates performance qualitatively.