ENHANCING EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS IN EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT IN AN ERA OF RAPID CHANGE
RATIONALE OF THE THEME
Efficiency and effectiveness are critical issues in any educational assessment body. At a time when resource constraints within the examination bodies are severe, assessment procedures and processes need to be cost-effective as well as manageable. They must exhibit attributes of integrity and fidelity, and must be reliable, valid and of high quality.
The environment within which assessment is conducted has changed significantly in recent years, though the way learners are assessed may not have changed much. The number of learners is increasing by the day because of the changes in government policies and as a response to increasing population. This has, at times, impacted on the resources available for educational assessment. There are other changes such as innovations in and use of ICT. The emerging perceptions on how learners learn require reforms in assessment to reflect more on assessment for learning, assessment of soft skills and other skills that are essential in the world of work. Examining bodies too, are now under increasing pressure to deliver, with speed and precision, the results of the examinations they conduct. Coupled with these, are sophisticated trends in and magnitude of examination malpractice in areas hitherto not considered possible. In addition, there is demand from tertiary institutions, employers and employment agencies for authentic selection/admission methods and procedures.
It is therefore, necessary to interrogate and review existing practices in educational assessment in light of an era of rapid change to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.