Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) will begin collecting the school-based evaluations for the first cohort of students studying under the new lower secondary curriculum next year. Unlike the current curriculum, which relies solely on final examinations administered in senior four, the new O’Level curriculum was designed to incorporate classroom-based assessment throughout the four-year cycle.
On top of the assessments made at the end of every lesson from Senior One through Senior Three, students will complete four practical projects every term for a total of 12 projects per year. The students are expected to have completed 36 projects by the time they reach Senior Four. Ultimately, teachers will compile scores obtained from classroom evaluations, projects, and extracurricular activities to obtain the average, which will account for 20 percent of the final national examination.
Although these school-based scores were meant to be submitted right from senior one, this did not happen since the curriculum was launched before most of the enabling mechanisms were in place. Even after getting a two-year window when learners were out of school because of the lockdown, nothing much was done to ensure that the needed systems were in place.
Mike Masikye Nangosya, the Director of Examinations at UNEB, says that in the first term of 2023, the examinations body would begin collecting assessment results from schools after putting in place all the required systems.
“We are now getting ready and next year (2023) we will start getting these continuous assessments from schools. National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has been training teachers on how to carry out these assessments and as soon as the needed systems are put in place, we will disseminate the required tools and train teachers on how to use them,” Nangosya said.
The director says that in the meantime UNEB will be receiving the school-based assessments in senior three. He, however, didn’t answer the question of what will happen to the scores accumulated from the previous classes.
But, URN understands that after rolling out the new assessment, the system will be extended gradually to capture scores from all classes. Currently, UNEB staff are undergoing training on how to manage this new evaluation as well as developing standardized instruments that schools will use to award marks.
Our reporter has learnt that the training is bankrolled and facilitated by the British Council in Uganda. Many teachers, parents, and students have been asking how the marks would be transferred to UNEB now that the assessment format is being implemented. Another major concern has been about what would happen to the learner’s scores if he or she transfers from one school to another.
Nangosya notes that this is also being cited as schools will be transmitting the marks electronically using their school portals as they have previously done on subjects that required continuous assessment like the French language, Home Economics Fine Art, and others. About the transfer of students, UNEB, says that the board will rely on the revamped Education Management Information System (EMIS), which is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Sports.
According to the system, every learner will receive a computer-generated Learner Identification Number-LIN on their first registration on the system to help track their performance even if they change schools.
Christopher Muganga, the deputy director in charge of research and consultancy at NCDC, says that effective 2024, no learner will be registered for the Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE examinations without scores from the school-based assessments.
In the absence of the electronic system, which is expected to be rolled out in the future, Muganga says that teachers will develop score grids awarding marks at the end of each lesson and topic and submit them to the director of studies or deputy headteachers in charge of academics, who will be responsible for transmitting them to UNEB as and when it is required.
Under the new curriculum, teachers are required to give tests to learners at the end of every topic or month to determine whether they have grasped what they are taught in class. This way, the chances of them remembering what they have learnt is high instead of waiting to cram for end-of-term examinations.
The new arrangement also seeks to end the over-dependency on final examinations results as the determinant of education excellence. Muganga says that NCDC decided that continuous assessment contributes 20 percent to initiate the spirit.
He, however, says that as years pass by, its contribution to the final result will be increased to 50 percent.
The idea of having a continuous assessment is not new as it is being applied in many countries with strong education systems in Europe. In Uganda, it had been suggested way back in 1987 by Professor William Senteza Kajubi led Education Policy Review Commission and it was adopted in the 1992 Government White Paper.
However, its implementation at the primary and secondary levels was delayed due to the absence of enabling systems. In the mix was a question of integrity with many people worrying that this form of assessment could see teachers favour their learners or put them at a disadvantage for their benefit.
for more click here