A conceptual model for the management of the implementation of a continuous assessment plan at a university of technology
Smit, Jan Jacob Antonie Christoffel
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In South Africa today, the challenge is to redress past inequalities and to transform the higher education system. This transformation of the higher education system is necessary in order to serve a new social order. The introduction of outcomes-based education and training requires a new approach to education, including the process of assessment. An outcomes-based approach to education and training focuses on continuous assessment through the use of a range of assessment methods. The Ministry of Education tasked the National Department of Education to embark on a review of their academic programmes. This review has been in response to register programmes on the National Qualifications Framework. This review has also been part of an attempt to improve the quality of qualifications. In most learning organisations, assessment and learning have always been closely related. If assessment has not simply been seen as the end point in learning but has been an important component in the design of the learning process itself, this statement will be severely tested by the movement towards an outcomes model for education and training. The primary aim of the study was to develop a conceptual model for the management of the impleme tation of a continuous assessment plan in a university of technology by means of aliterature study and an empirical investigation. Currently, information regarding the conceptualisation of this topic is inadequate and vague. If the nature of the complexities involved in the management and implementation of CASS at universities of technology are known, a conceptualised model can be developed for the effective management of the implementation thereof. The implementation of an integrated model of assessment requires the creation of an enabling environment in which the model can be implemented. This study has found that this is not true for many universities of technology, as: • programme design still rests on subjects that are not aimed at outcome-based models; • administrative systems are not designed to accommodate the recording of continuous assessments; • students, lecturers and other stakeholders have not undergone the necessary training regarding the change in paradigm from content-based to outcomebased education; and • policy regarding modularisation and continuous assessment has not yet been defined and implemented. The study serves to present a useable model for the management of the implementation of continuous assessment at universities of technology. The study is based on a balanced opinion as the experiences of both lecturers and students were investigated by means of structured questionnaires. The findings were verified by means of a focus group interview with administrative staff involved with continuous assessment. The model that was developed is a usable model as it was subjected to a number of verification tests.
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