Continuous Assessment – Factors Inhibiting The Implementation Of Continuous Assessment In Secondary Schools

Continuous Assessment – Factors Inhibiting The Implementation Of Continuous Assessment In Secondary Schools In Ihiala Local Government Area Of Anambra State

Continuous Assessment – Factors Inhibiting The Implementation Of Continuous Assessment In Secondary Schools In Ihiala Local Government Area Of Anambra State

In order to reform the educational system, the federal Government of Nigeria in 2004, reviewed the national policy on education. One of the high points in the policy instrument was the emphasis laid on continuous assessment in the various levels of education and programmes.

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Continuous assessment was introduced in schools following the adoption of 6-3-3-4 system of education. The intention was to make assessment of the leaner more reliable, valid, objective and comprehensive. Since the emphasis is now on the totality of learning, it becomes necessary to evolve and use an assessment system that will consider all aspects of teaching.

Before continuous assessment was introduced in secondary school, the old system of assessment was summative, that is examination was done only at the end of the term work. Infact, in some cases, students were not examined on what they have been taught until the end of the year. Also, the summative system of assessment only made use of class test, while take home assignments, class assignment and project were hardly used in assessing a learner. In the old system, only the cognitive domain was assessed, that is only the intellectual ability was examined. The affective domain, interest attitude, feeling emotions of the learners were ignored in the assessment. Also, the psychomotor domain was not considered.

An effective continuous assessment procedure reduces such incidence as do or die affair. Oweing to the fact that assessment is summative, learners are tempted doing everything within their reach to ensure their promotion to the next class thereby increasing the rate of exam malpractice. Continuous assessment emphaizes more on comprehensive information on the cognitive, affective and psychomotor measures of an individual if well implemented. This will also make learning more meaningful to the children and essential for independent living and meaningful contribution of effective life of the society.

The old system of assessment was single and teachers then never encouraged the implementation of continuous assessment because to them, it is burdensome and time consuming. Also there is the problem of unqualified personnel to implement and operate the continuous assessment method.

Judging from general comment from parent and society, it is apparent that the continuous assessment system of education has some factors effecting its implementation and most especially secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Therefore, this negative impression on the new system of education has induced the researcher to investigate the factors inhibiting the implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Statement of the problem.

Although the 6-3-3-4 system of education emphasized the use of continuous assessment techniques in evaluating students progress in schools, this is rather ignored and considered a mere theory in some schools because some teachers do not want the implementation of continuous assessment due to the fact that it is burdensome and time consuming. Secondly, the problem is that proper record on continuous assessment is not kept by teachers and schools and the one that is provided is usually not comprehensive. The fact that continuous assessment is the basis for the certification in both junior and senior secondary schools nation wide (N P E 2004); and that teachers fail to keep this vital record properly and some teacher keep this record poorly. Therefore, this study tend to investigate the inhibiting factors in the implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Purpose of the study.

The main purpose of this study is to find out the factors inhibiting the implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specially, the study will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

1. Examine the method teachers use in assessing students as inhibiting factor.

2. Determine the time stipulated for assessment of students as inhibiting factor.

3. To find out how teachers view of continuous assessment inhibits its implementation.

4. Determine whether teachers have the logistics for continuous assessment.

Research questions.

The researcher formulated four (4) research questions to guide the study. The questions include:

1. To what extent does teachers method of assessment inhibit its implementation?

2. How often do teachers assess their students?

3. What is the teachers’ view of continuous assessment?

4. Do teachers have the necessary logistics for carrying out continuous assessment?

Significance of the study.

The findings of this study will be useful to the schools, teachers, pupils, parents and the society in general.

1. It is hoped that the findings would be used in planning and organizing effective continuous assessment of students progress in secondary schools.

2. On the part of the teachers who are the actual implementers, it will furnish them with necessary information on areas and method their services are to be employed for effective implementation of the programme.

Scope of the study.

The study is restricted to continuous assessment problems in secondary schools in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State. The study constantly involved the principals and teachers of secondary schools in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State.


This chapter deals with the review of some related literature and the review was done under the following subheading:

– The concept of continuous assessment.

– Reasons for continuous assessment in secondary schools.

– The objectives of continuous assessment.

– Modes of assessment.

– Problems of implementation.

– Factors affecting the effective implementation of continuous assessment.

– Summary.

The concept of continuous assessment.

Continuous assessment has being defined in several ways. Ipaye (1992) defined continuous assessment as deliberate and periodic assessment throughout the course and takes into account progress towards the goals as well as success in reaching it. Therefore, continuous assessment could be the building up of a cumulative judgement about the performance of each pupil and a continual updating of teachers judgement above their pupils. Federal Ministry of Education (1985) defines continuous assessment as:

A mechanism whereby the final grading of a student in cognitive affective and psychomotor domains of behaviour takes account in a systematic way, of all his performances during a given period of schooling such an assignment involves the use of great variety of modes of evaluation for the purpose of guiding and improving learning and performance of students.

Continuous assessment here implies that assessment must reflect the time domains in an individual in the school. These domains are cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains, so that at the end of the students schooling, the student should be able to show the desirable attitude required for a person who have been assessed in the three domains. The handbook goes on to characterize continuous assessment as systematic, comprehensive, cumulative and guidance oriented. Equally Nworgu (1992) agreed with FME when he stated that uassessment is the systematic and cumulative recording of pupils progress in all aspect of his development and education from the moment upon which he starts a course of study until the end of the programme as a means of evaluating and guiding his educational programme and development. From this view, we may see that continuous assessment is geared towards achieving an overall development of pupils. This method of evaluation has the advantages of encouraging students to study hard. In another development, Akinboye (1990) describes the aspect of continuous assessment as the development and utilization of a number of tools such as observational techniques, interviewing tests in their various format, achievement aptitude, intellectual ability tests and personality inventories, appraisal experiments, data analysis and interpretation. He maintained that assessment tools are used basically for information generation and collection. When such information is collected from time to time, continuous assessment is the recorded score against each student after being assessed.

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Similarly, Denga (1986) viewed continuous assessment as the best systematic method of evaluating a child’s performance without the psychological strains and stresses of one-shot examination. This means that the slow but continuous process of evaluation has a greater advantage over the one-shot examination because students are relieved of anxiety, confusion and errors attributed in one-shot examination.

Continuous assessment is the periodic and systematic method of assessing and evaluating students learning achievements and attributes. Information collected from continuous behaviours of students help teachers to have a better understanding of the strength and weakness in addition to providing a comprehensive picture of each student over a period of time. Such information will help in education and vocational placement of students.

Ndigwe and Nwigwe (1983) stress that efficiency in teaching occurs or takes place only when the teacher has some set of objective to achieve. According to them, the success of his teaching depends on how far and how well these objectives are attended. They are attained when the student acquires the behaviours the teacher wants them to acquire. The teacher can only know that they have acquired such behaviour by asking them to perform which is a form of assessment technique. The cumulative nature of the pupils performance in these tasks provides continuous assessment.

Adesina (1984) explained that writing test, oral question, discussion, project reports, Class work, take home assignments are considered as continuous assessment. Therefore, students record of work need to be kept, this is not something dramatically new as Adesina put it. Thus, “It simply involve a consciousness on the part of the teacher that there is need for the constant feedback from the pupils, it draws attention at the course to the weakness of one test group or groups of test in teaching requires constant feedback, if teaching is to realize its optimum value”.

Taloye (1984) defines continuous assessment as a method of evaluating progress and achievement of the students in educational institutions. It aims at getting truest possible picture of each students ability at the same time helping each students to develop his or her ability to the fullest. It is a method whereby the final grading of students takes account in a systematic way of their performance during a given period of schooling. The above definition implies that the learner’s achievement are measured using cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains.

Okoye (1994) explained continuous assessment as a means of getting more and better information about the about the pupil and using this as the course develop. It implies that the teaching focus is shifted towards developing the full potential of each individual to his/her fullest level of human work.

Segun (1994) agreed with Okoye when he stated that continuous assessment is a way of recording the pupils progress without using examination. It depends on carefully kept assignment of the child’s work throughout his course, building up gradually into profile of his performance. Considerable, thought should go into what is been assessed and into the method of assessment so that all the child’s skill, intellectual and literacy which examination normally measures will be assessed properly.

As far as the teacher is concerned, teaching provides him with feedback on his own teaching and accuracy. For example assessment of how well each pupil is doing where his/her particular weakness and strength lies, gives him fairly reliable indication of the child.

Reason for continuous assessment in secondary school.

The national policy on education (N.P.E 1998) proposes that educational assessment /evaluation should be based on continuous assessment in all levels of educational system. The mode of evaluation of students ability or performance is to replace the former one-shot summative evaluation which used to be administered on students at the end of each year for the purpose of promotion to the next class.

Similarly, at the completion of a programme study on external evaluation body administered another such examination for the purpose of certification. Although in the old system, many teachers conduct weekly or monthly tests and the result of such test were never incorporated in the final grading for any purpose. This single examinations among other irregularities associated with it, has often been cued to the cognitive aspect of the student learning to the neglect of the manipulative skills attitudes and values which the student must have acquired during the period of learning.

Nworgu (1992) pointed out that not only federal government is concerned in this one-shot evaluation of students performance, but has taken steps to rectifying the anomaly through the introduction of continuous assessment in the school system. According to the National Policy on Education (N.P.E 1981) provides that evaluation of students progress be liberalized by basing them in whole or in part of continuous assessment. The document recommended that they will be no formal examination at the end of the first six years of primary education. Certification at this level will be based on continuous assessment. The junior Secondary school leaving certificate will be based on continuous assessment while the senior secondary school leaving certificate will be based on a national examination with continuous assessment.

N.P.E 1985 document on continuous assessment released by the federal ministry of education, science and technology (F.M.E 1985) stated some reasons for advocating continuous assessment as follow:

An assessment procedure which takes into the learner’s performance through out the entire period of schooling is likely to be more valid and more indicative of a learner overall ability than a single examination. The readiness of the teachers to introduce innovations into their teaching is often frustrated by the fact that a final external examination does not take account of such innovation. In a continuous assessment situation, teacher’s assessment of performance of students on such innovation can become a part of the final assessment. The teachers would therefore be encouraged to be flexible and innovative. It has been suggested that one reason for such a high incidence of examination is so crucial in deciding the future of the candidate that the temptation to ensure success by all means (do or die) is very high. It is believed that if continuous assessment is employed this problem would become considerable reduced.

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The objectives of continuous assessment.

F.M.E (1985) handbill on continuous assessment stated, the objectives of schools assessment programme as:

1. To have something to report to the parents and to some interested other.

2. To identify levels of ability, achievement and effective development for various individuals and groups of students.

3. To diagonize learning difficulties in individual and strengths and weakness in-group performance for the purpose of improving instrument.

4. To assess gains in achievement on co-operatively developed standardized instrument in the evaluation of some locally introduced innovative programme.

5. To assess special attitude on interest of students for counseling purposes.

National policy on education (N.P.E 2004) stated some objectives for introducing continuous assessment in Nigerian school. They include;

1. To liberalized educational assessment and evaluation.

2. To replace the assessment of one-shot examination with a system that takes into account the learners performance throughout the entire period of schooling, so that the result will be more valid and indicative of the learners ability.

3. To give the teachers the opportunity to participate in the final assessment of his pupils.

4. To encourage teachers to introduced innovation in their assessment of people’s performance. Such innovations will become a part of the pupils final assessment.

5. To enable the use of assessment result for purpose guidance of pupils learning and preparation for a career.

6. To enable the teacher regularly improves his own performance from the feedback he gets from assessment.

Modes of assessment.

1. Teacher-made test: Teacher made test are those tests constructed, administered and scored by the classroom teachers or possibly a committee of several teachers in the school (Ibanga 1989). The primary intentions of these teachers remains to measure the progress or achievement of the learner in respective subject matter content area.

2. Project method: Castle (1965) explained project method as a co-operative study of a real life situation by a class or even by a whole school, under the guidance of the teachers. According to him, project aims at:

– Bringing students into real contact with the activities of the school neighborhood.

– Presenting students with real life problems, which they solve by thinking and working together.

– Developing further skills and new knowledge in the school subjects while tackling the project.

3. Observation instrument method: Allason (1992) showed that this instrument is an important instrument that can provide useful picture of non-cognitive behaviour assessment of a learner, it is systematic in nature. It is the most structured and objective method of collecting non-cognitive information. This instrument is specifically designed to be used in the observation of a child as well as recording pre-determined events or traits with the aid of an observational schedules prepared for the purpose of assessment.

4. Interview: An interview is one of the non-test methods of appraising the non-cognitive behaviour, which is designed to obtain information through distance or face-to-face interaction with the interviewee.

5. Take home assignment: Take home assignment is the task or duty that is assigned to students. Teachers use this strategy to assess the performance of students.

Problems of implementation.

Finding from research works show that large class size makes it difficult to implement continuous assessment fully by the teachers. This implies that the teacher has to reach fewer numbers of students per class. This will enable the teacher to reach, assess and provide feedback to the children individually. At present, the number of student per class is enormous. This makes it difficult for teachers to reach and evaluate effectively even if they have the competence.

Teachers complains that continuous assessment takes much of their time and it is also burdensome. Nworgu (1992) stated that continuous assessment take so much of teacher’s time in writing tests and recording results. Infact, it is estimated that teachers spend a good gleal of their time after school hour in marking pupils tests and recording. In many occurences termly results and pupils assessment report cards are not computed and not ready in good time for giving immediate feedback to the students. For instance, in 1988 it was reported that the senior school certificate examination result of many schools were delayed because of the inability of the school to send their continuous assessment records to W.A.E.C. on time.

Misinterpretation of guidance is a serious problem that teachers frown at. Some school personnel (principals and teachers) think that assessment is based only on a paper and pencil test of examination. Teachers also seem to be confused on the amount of material content that school has to cover by each test. Many teachers do not have sufficient materials for evaluating behaviour outcome in the domains. Teachers find it difficult to dictate the amount of material content that should be covered by each test. In order words should a test cover only the materials taught after an assignment has been made or should the test content be extended to the earlier and related materials proceeding test? On this, Ibeaja and Nworgu (1986) reported that continuous assessment test should include the earlier and related materials taught before and after each proceeding test. The teachers feels that this is necessary because a test limited in contents to the materials taught since after the last test would not give the students an opportunity to use knowledge which had been acquired before the last test. Besides, this would not make any effective transfer of knowledge on the part of the students coupled with the need for adequate vertical integration of the subject content by the teacher.

Another reason teachers have against the implementation of continuous assessment is what happened when an assignment or test in given and some students fail to turn in for grading. It is obvious that giving a grade of zero to a student who does not turn-in in an assignment does not reflect the actual ability of the students.

Teachers handle situations differently most of them as reported by Harbour-Ibeaja and Nworgu (1986) are of the opinion that a student who fails to carryout an assignment or test without a reasonable excuse should be scored zero for the assignment not done and his terminal average calculated on the total work done for the term.

Factors affecting the effective implementation of continuous assessment.

We pointed out that inspite of its potential as an evaluation mechanism, continuous assessment remains a complex process to execute. It involves the development and use of different level tests and surveys, the training teachers at different levels. Beside it is very costly in terms of time energy and materials. It is thus expected that short falls or absence of some or all these factors could hinder the successful implementation of continuous assessment in Nigeria.

1. Use of instruments:

The implementation of continuous assessment involves the use of various test and surveys. Unfortunately, courses offered in teachers education programmes in Nigeria do not properly equip the teachers with the necessary skills and techniques of assessment and thus, on the instrument construction, mere exposure to the concept of measurement and evaluation for the national certificate in education holders and Bachelor of education holders is not sufficient for the implementation of the continuous assessment. Worse still, large proportions of serving teachers especially in the secondary levels are not even professionally trained. Auxiliary teachers found in schools who are not conversant with instrument etc. In the course of their teaching and are forced to apply or use there terms because they accidentally found themselves in the teaching profession.

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2. Unqualified personnel:

To implement and operate continuous assessment, there is the need for qualified personnel to carry out the programme effectively. Many teachers do not possess the skills or the necessary competence in developing valid assessment instrument for evaluating behavioural outcome in the domains. The requirement of continuous assessment in the overall ability of every child should be assessed in three domain: cognitive, effective and psychomotor domains and most of the teachers are not familiar with affective and psychomotor assessments. That means the overall ability of the child may not be adequately and effective assessed.

3. Record keeping and continuity of records:

An important aspect of continuous assessment is the appropriate record keeping of pupils performance achievement in schools. We enumerated the types of records that should be kept in the school to reflect how each child’s progress should be assessed as:

(N.P.E. 1998) teachers class/school record book, pupils cumulative record card and the transcript. The essence of these report is to ensure that continuous assessment is cumulatively kept on each students. This protects the teacher from been sued to court when problem arises. Furthermore, it is expected that the record kept will be useful to the parents of any student seeking for transfer from one school to another. These teachers must uniformly and cumulatively keep such record from school to school. Though, problem must be encountered in keeping the necessary records of the students and ensuring their continuity and when a student’s record cannot be properly kept for easy retrival decisions based on such record cannot be made as well.

4. Teachers integrity:

The teacher tops the curriculum and student in any programme implementation. This implies that the teachers integrity is fundamental in the successful implementation of any programme. The continuous assessment is one of such programmes where the teacher and his integrity are central to its successful implementation. The Nigeria society is expected to trust and be rest assured that the teacher will teach and equally assess the learner. However, in the recent past, attitudes, conduct and behaviour of these teachers have demonstrated that they cannot perform these essential functions expected of them.

Nigerian teachers today no longer believe and accept that their reward are reserved for him in heaven. They probably want to get it here on earth. The purpose they actualize through acceptance of bribe from the poor learners of having some other illegal deal with female learners in other to alter marks in their favour or after some assistance in some public examination.

5. Another factors which affects the implementation of continuous assessment is capital:

The preparation of these instruments for the activities involved will consume large quantities of stationary. This will cost lots of money (F M E 2004). The present state of Nigeria’s economy will make it difficult for many public schools to meet with these needs without excessive charges on their students. Some of the instrument requires non-cognitive assessment are standardized and have to be bought in a large numbers from the publishers which costs a lot of money.



The researcher have in this study reviewed some related literature on the factors affecting implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra state. Having re-examined the definitions of continuous assessment, rational for introducing continuous assessment, reasons teachers have against its implementation and factors affecting the implementation of continuous assessment. The review showed that teachers encounter problems in the conduct of continuous assessment especially where pupils are many in the class, secondly it is time consuming and more importantly some school still have unqualified teachers who are not conversant with continuous assessment methods thereby keep the record poorly.


Implications of the findings.

The result of the findings indicated that there are factors inhibiting the implementation of continuous assessment in secondary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. This has been attributed to the following factors.

Insufficient time for teaching and assessment:

Secondly, teachers complain that continuous assessment takes much of their time and it is also burdensome. Teachers spend a good deal of their time in writing tests and recording results. They even use most of their time after school hour in working continuous assessment thereby negleting some of their domestic work in the house. The implication is that some teachers who find it difficult to cope with gives fictitious marks to students and this encourages teachers awarding marks to students with assessment.

Large number of students affects teachers efficiency:

To operate continuous assessment effectively, the teacher need to spend time on each child- helping and observation. This implies that the teacher has to teach fewer number of students per class. This will enable the teacher to teach, assess and provide feedback on the children individually. The implication is that large number of students per class is so enormous and this makes it difficult for teachers to teach and evaluate pupils effectively.

Poor record-keeping of continuous assessment:

Record-keeping and reporting is an important aspect of continuous assessment. Teachers should have a system for keeping accurate record of each pupils performance, that is, he should be able to maintain a cummulative record for each child. The implication is that teachers find it difficult and exhausting to keep these records. Keeping record demands a lot from the teacher.

Low qualification of teachers:

Many teachers know very little about how to operate continuous assessment. They lack competence in developing valid assessment instrument for evaluating behaviour outcome of the domain. The requirement of continuous assessment is that the overall ability of every child must be assessed in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains but most of the unqualified teachers are not familiar with affective and psychomotor assessment. This implies that if adequate attention is not given, teachers will resort to continuous testing instead of continuous assessment.

Another factor is lack of equipment.

Continuous assessment needs various types of equipment to determine what the students have gained. Thus, the instruments used for assessing the cognitive domain may not be suitable for assessing either psychomotor or affective domains. The implication is that these equipments are not available in the schools and as such teachers resort to continuous testing rather than continuous assessment.

Factors Inhibiting The Implementation Of Continuous Assessment In Secondary Schools In Ihiala Local Government Area Of Anambra State

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  1. promise says:

    I like this but pls I have another one to complete. Qt assessing non cognitive domain in junior secondary school is very important. briefly explain the technique?

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  4. Udosen, Idiyakke J. says:

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