An assessment of the 2009 Zimbabwe government's decision to enroll school-based assessment as an alternative to public examinations
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School-Based Assessment (SBA) can help achieve a holistic, child-centred and qualitative account of a pupil’s performance. The same method has been criticised for being subjective, informal and open to teacher bias hence the reluctance by the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) to embrace it for certification and selection into further education or vocational careers. In 2009, the prohibitive cost of administering national examinations due to economic problems faced by the country and the subsequent delays in releasing the results forced The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to enrol pupils from primary into secondary schools using SBA results. This survey, conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods, was carried out at three purposively sampled secondary schools (162 pupils) and looked at whether there was consistency between the national examinations and the SBA results used to enrol pupils. A questionnaire with both open-ended and closed questions was used to collect data. Seven primary school trained teachers were interviewed to ascertain their knowledge on SBA and all of them had not received any formal training on SBA. Results obtained reveal that SBA can be a trusted benchmark for promotion of pupils from primary into secondary school as those pupils who passed teacher tests at Grade Seven also passed the ZIMSEC national examinations. In order to achieve efficient use of limited financial resources, the study recommends that the promotion of pupils into Form One be done using SBA results and that pre-service and in-service training of teachers on SBA be made a priority.