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General News of Thursday, 30 June 2005

Source: GNA

GES introduces NEA Tests

Accra, June 30, GNA - Ghana Education Service (GES) would with effect from July, conduct National Education Assessment (NEA) tests in 483 basic schools across the country, Ms Elizabeth Long, Programme Manager of the Basic Education Comprehensive Assessment System (BECAS), said in Accra on Thursday.

She said the NEA, which is one of the four components of BECAS, would be given every two years to a sample of schools from across the 10 regions of the country near the end of the academic year. The BECAS is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Academy for International Development (AED) in Washington DC.

Ms Long in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said the assessments would look at competencies established by the objectives of the curriculum at Primary 3 and Primary 6, with an emphasis on core objectives.

She said that the assessments would replace the previous tests that existed in the GES, which were not linked to the curricula. "The goal of the project is to assess programme performance rather than student achievement," Ms Long said.

She also explained that based on the assessments they would come up with a national report, which would identify gaps in the system so that training would be done to improve instruction.

"The assessment will use multiple choice items and will require that students use separate answer sheets for shading their answers, and the weaknesses identified through the assessment would be target areas for teacher training school improvement," she said.

Ms Long said BECAS would provide national school performance information, so that the relative performances of children in the districts and regions could be compared in relation to the national performances.

Another component of the BECAS is the School Education Assessment (SEA), which would reflect the education process of individual schools and would be available for use in all schools beginning next year. Ms Long said it would be available to be administered every two years in all schools.

The Continuous Assessment (CA), another component of BECAS, would assess the pupil's individual performance and would be administered in the classroom by individual teachers. Mr Long explained that it would better inform the teacher about the accomplishment and needs of each child on the same critical competencies.

The last component is the training of the Assessment Services Unit of GES, which would take over the testing activities developed by the BECAS project in or around October 2006.