The Extent of Science Academics’ Familiarity with Assessment Vocabularies and Understanding of Testing Concepts

By K. J. Mammen.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The post-1994 South African national higher education policy imperatives legislated through the Higher Education Act and the consequent quality improvement requirements laid down by the national regulatory authorities of higher education complemented by higher education academic staff development priorities gave impetus to this research. It attempted to investigate science academics’ familiarity with assessment and evaluation vocabularies and their understanding of some testing concepts. This was a single institution survey through one-to-one interviews. The sample was a group of volunteering academics who constituted 60% of the population from four departments in the Faculty of Science. Data were collected through the same interviewer-interviewees on a one-to-one 40 minutes pre-arranged meeting and analysed manually and by making use of Microsoft Excel programme. The main conclusion from the analysed data was that a majority of academics were not adequately literate on assessment and evaluation vocabularies and could not distinguish between a number of assessment terms from pairs of assessment terms. The result served as a diagnostic tool to identify a pertinent weakness. Moreover, the results of the study might catalyse similar research in other faculties within the same institution and in other HE institutions thereby representing an extension of the research by interested academics which may lead to appropriate staff development initiatives. Overall, results from studies of this kind might contribute to focus on specific areas of staff development which in turn may promote improved learning experiences and better completion rates.

Keywords: Assesesment and Evaluation, Familiarity with Vocabulary, Science Academics, Staff Development

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.133-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.219MB).

Prof. K. J. Mammen

Professor, Faculty of Education, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Professor K.John Mammen is currently employed as the Director of Postgraduate Unit at Walter Sisulu University (a public university) in South Africa. His research interests include Educational Management and Science Education. He holds LLB, M.Sc in Chemistry, M.Ed in Science Education and a Doctorate in Science Education Management. He has several research papers published in peer reviewed academic journals and conference proceedings both in South Africa and internationally. Prof. Mammen serves as external examiner for postgraduate degrees in four South African universities. He is on the Editorial Board of several South African accredited journals and has successfully supervised several students at Master's and Doctoral levels.


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