Exploring the Side Effects of Assessment in Secondary Schools and Its Impact on Students: Perspective from Bangladesh
1Education Specialist, Nari Maitree, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh
The main objective of the study was to explore the side effects of assessment in secondary schools and its impact on students. The study was descriptive in nature and the researcher used a qualitative approach to collect and analyze data. The researcher selected three schools, as a sample of the study, by Stratified Sampling method based on their last two years board result. She also selected fifteen students of secondary schools conveniently from the sample schools. For collecting relevant evidence and data from respondents, the researcher used tools like classroom observation, in-depth interview and focus group discussion. From the study it was found that, some noticeable side effects of assessment are suffering from Self-inferiority complex, losing self- confidence, disregard for school and teachers, attempt of hurting them, selecting wrong path, increase of competitive behavior etc. Based on the findings of the study the researcher recommended allowing students’ participation while developing assessment tool for them.
At a glance: Figures
Keywords: side effects, assessment, Secondary school level, impact, student
American Journal of Educational Research, 2013 1 (9),
Received September 06, 2013; Revised October 17, 2013; Accepted November 12, 2013Copyright: © 2013 Science and Education Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
Cite this article:
- Chowdhury, Sumaiya Khanam, and Shah Shamim Ahmed. "Exploring the Side Effects of Assessment in Secondary Schools and Its Impact on Students: Perspective from Bangladesh." American Journal of Educational Research 1.9 (2013): 380-390.
- Chowdhury, S. K. , & Ahmed, S. S. (2013). Exploring the Side Effects of Assessment in Secondary Schools and Its Impact on Students: Perspective from Bangladesh. American Journal of Educational Research, 1(9), 380-390.
- Chowdhury, Sumaiya Khanam, and Shah Shamim Ahmed. "Exploring the Side Effects of Assessment in Secondary Schools and Its Impact on Students: Perspective from Bangladesh." American Journal of Educational Research 1, no. 9 (2013): 380-390.
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Education, in general sense, is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research, or simply through auto didacticism . Among the components of the curriculum of an educational system, assessment has a great influence on teaching and learning . Assessment also helps students for preparation, motivation and also for selecting their learning styles as well as learning outcomes for achievement and satisfaction in different educational contexts . However, an educationalist Derek Rowntree, in his book ‘Assessing students: how shall we know them’, stated eight aspects of assessment which he cited as ‘Side Effects of Assessment’. He has located different aspects of assessment which causes negative effects on students . One way of evaluating any human activity is to ask whether it is achieving what it was meant to achieve. A rather more sophisticated way is to ask what it is achieving . According to Rowntree (1982), this second approach recognizes a truth that the most well-intentioned acts often produce results other than intended. We fail to comprehend the phenomenon being studied if we concern ourselves merely with a narrow range of pre-identified or publicly proclaimed effects and overlook its side-effects. According to Locusfire (2009), a culture built on formative assessments will create weaker leaders . Giving a class an assignment and letting the clever pass and the slower ones fail builds a sense of pressure to understand exactly what is wanted. It rewards those who got it by punishing those who didn't. However, test has some impact on tested pupils like testing can reduce the self-esteem of lower-achieving pupils and can make it harder to convince them that they can succeed in other tasks; constant failure in practice tests demoralizes some pupils and increases the gap between higher and lower achieving pupils; anxiety of test affects girls more than boys; teaching methods may be restricted to what is necessary for passing tests (neglecting practical work) . Therefore, it is clear that we have some side effects of assessment in our assessment system. The General assessment technique does emerge these side effects. It is mostly done by our teachers, schools, society and also by the students. But we do not have enough knowledge about the nature of the side effects of assessment in Bangladesh. There is a huge gap in the knowledge base that need to be filled in and this study targets to contribute in that.
2. Review of Related Literature
Side effects of assessment are the combination of effects on students and practice of teachers. Research in the field of side effects of assessment is new in our country but in other countries of the world there have been quite a number of studies in this area. The researcher took the help of various related materials like books, journals, previous studies etc. The researcher also went through many web pages so that it may enrich the study. The related literatures were reviewed under the following areas:2.1. Eight Aspects of Assessment Related to Side Effects of Assessment
Rowntree (1982) tried to examine eight aspects of assessment each of which, it seems to him, account for certain specific side-effects. They are the prejudicial aspects of assessment, students’ knowledge of the assessment, the extrinsic rewards of assessment, the competitive aspects of assessment, the bureaucratic aspects of assessment, the nature of specific assessment techniques, the giving of grades and the reporting of assessment results .
As Prejudice of assessment it is sometimes found that, students are affected by assessment even before they are assessed. Knowledge of assessments made on other students (by him or others) influences the teachers not only how he appraises his present students' learning, but also what he thinks the appropriate method to teach them in the first place . The stereotype uses about gender are also practiced in assessment like when women perform math, unlike men, the risk being judged by the negative stereotype that women have weaker math ability .
However, in many instances, the side-effects of knowing that assessment is taking place may be benign. If students feel that a readier is genuinely .concerned about how they think and feel and is interested in learning how they progress over a period of time, they may well feel stimulated to maintain a high level of effort. (Insofar as teachers are relying on this `motivational' effect, perhaps it should be classed as one of the main purposes rather than a side-effect.). But, According to Insel and Jacobson (1975), once the student knows what his teacher thinks of him, the door is open to one of the most potent side-effects of assessment – the self-fulfilling prophecy .
Moreover, Bates (1979) shows that, the Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain an outcome, which then contradicts intrinsic motivation. Bates (1979) also stated that the often casual use of a variety of classroom system of reward to control disruptive behavior or to increase academic achievement has recently been criticize as being one of the cheap threat to the desire to learn. For example, as cited in prior research on intrinsic motivation in children, one of the most powerful tools available to the teachers for affecting students’ behavior (the classroom token economy) may lead to nothing more than token learning .
On a study of Nigerian mathematics learning it is found that, Cooperative learning strategy is more effective than the competitive learning strategy in the teaching of Mathematics in Nigeria . Rowntree’s view about this competitive environment relating extrinsic reward is that, the side-effects of learning for the sake of extrinsic rewards are bad enough. But what will happen when these extrinsic rewards are in short supply? When there are not enough to go round? The side-effects are then worsened by competition .
Rowntree (1987) also explained the term ‘assessment bureaucratic’ in two senses. First is that you cannot identify the persons who are assessing you. Secondly, in that they, whoever they are, choose not to regard you as an individual or meet you personally to hear your case. This could also create side-effects not only for individuals but also for the schools. Furthermore, in Present times there are many different ways of coming to know the student’s through conversation, observation, multiple-choice tests, essays, examinations, and so on. We can run into side-effects if we rely too much on any one of such methods of assessment. Also, about extrinsic reward, on average, spend time using their intelligence to figure out how to get an A without doing the real work of the course and without thinking, rather than spending the same time thinking and exploring, regardless of what grade this may bring them. It isn't that these students are not motivated. It's just that they're not as motivated to learn as much as they're motivated to get good grades . Lastly, assessment results are reported to the student concerned to other teachers, to other students, to the student’s parents, to his ‘sponsor’, to potential employers, and so on. These could create self-inferiority among students .2.2. Research Related to Side Effect of Assessment
The side effects of assessment can be found from the case study of Comell, Krosnik and Chang (undated) where they stated, “An unfortunate event in 2000 occurred, when 7,989 students were wrongly informed that they had failed the Minnesota Basic Standards Test in Mathematics. We conducted a survey of 911 of these students to assess the psychosocial impact of this event. More than 80% of students reported that they increased studying, and nearly half made reductions in their extracurricular activities. Students reported a wide range of adverse emotional reactions, with over 80% reporting that they felt depressed, worried, or embarrassed. About half of the students said that they felt “stupid” and “less proud” of themselves. Fewer students reported troubling reactions by their parents or their peers. Adverse reactions were reported more frequently by girls than by boys and by students in higher grade levels .
Griffin and Heidorn (1996) investigated the relation between the Florida competency test administered first in the 10th grade (and up to five more times before high school graduation) and dropout behaviour in 76,664 students in 75 high schools. Contrary to expectation, test failure did not contribute to an increased dropout rate among low achieving students or among minority students. However, test failure did appear to increase the dropout rate slightly in students with strong academic records (higher GPAs). Despite the weight of expert opinion, the few studies that have directly investigated student reactions to graduation tests have generated inconsistent findings .
One of the few such efforts is an unpublished study by Jonas and Hayes-Wallace (1986), who administered the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Test to tenth grade students before and after taking the Georgia Basic Skills Tests in mathematics and reading. Students who failed one or more of the tests showed a statistically significant decline in self-concept .
Moreover, the stressful impact of repeatedly failing the Minnesota Basic Standards Tests on a purposeful sample of 16 students who would not have been expected to fail because of adequate academic records (GPA 2.0 or higher and California Achievement Test Total Battery above the 25th percentile). Based on interviews with students and parents, she concluded that test failure had damaged students’ confidence in their abilities, strained their relationships with parents and peers, and altered their educational and career plans. Overall, there is much more rhetoric than direct evidence that graduation tests have a stressful impact on students .2.3. Perspective of Bangladesh
In , researches about side effects of assessment had not found profoundly. However, from the perspective of classroom culture some side effects were found. According to Ahsan (2007), the purpose of classroom questioning to the teachers’ was not always found to be for assessment and or for learning. Sometimes the teachers had been using it as a technique to punish the students who create chaotic situation and interruption in the classrooms. Students were also found in fear mood in question asking session. Questioning was proved to be a state of fear to the students, who were sitting in the back benches and low or average achievers. Completion of questioning by the teachers or ending of class period (class time) bring an immense pleasure among the students and they were not stingy in expressing the joyous mood of liberty. Students expressed their happy moments with elated words such as ‘wow!, oh saved’, when the questioning came to an end. As a safe measure the students, who could not prepare them to respond, immediately tried to learn particular answers by opening their text book hiding from the teacher. Question-answer was also found terrifying event to the learner as many of them had been found to be mumbled while answering the questions, but mumbling was not their usual habit. Class test seemed to be a matter of worry to the students .
Ahsan (2007) also stated that, the teachers also expressed some prejudicial concepts about the students in many cases and were found to be engaged in displaying discriminating behavior based on the differences in socio- economic background while assessing them. There were always some students in a class who get advantage of the assessment system and some students who were deprived from it. The privileged group is mainly the students who are the high achievers. There were also some students who were average achiever, but have other qualities, such as, proficiency in oratory or debating, or any other quality. These students were always in spotlight. They became captains or leaders in different formal or informal groups among peers. Sometimes they got less punishment than others for similar faults. They were praised in the class and they were given different responsibility of classroom management. On the other hand, there were also some students, mainly low average achievers with any unexpected qualities, such as being pugnacious or talkative, who were also in spotlight. Sometimes they were punished more than the others for the same faults. They were rebuked openly and often their peers reject them from formal and informal groups. There were some implicit or explicit conflicts between two groups. However, when the students could not answer the question they feel extremely ashamed. They said that, sometimes the teachers let them sit as they usually could answer in class but sometimes give punishment. Students also like ranking system, because they thought that it give recognition to the good student so that they could be encouraged to do better in exams and also alerts the students with poor scores that they could try harder to improve their position in the rank. Sometimes after analyzing the class positions of the friends given by the students, an internal system of grouping could be identified. It was seen that almost all the high achievers had the friends who were also high achievers. Few of them had friends who are average students and very few of them had low achievers. Students also like to memorise the answer rather than understanding the answers .
Ahsan (2007) also mentioned about the teachers that most common technique used by the teacher was classroom questions and sometimes these techniques were used for giving punishment .
3. Objective and the Questions of the Study
The general objective of the study was to explore the side effects of assessment in secondary schools with measuring the social desirability of the respondents. To achieve the purpose of this study the following research questions were addressed:
• Are there any side effects in assessment practice at secondary schools?
• What kinds of side effects exist in secondary schools?
4. Methodology of the Study4.1. Introduction
The purpose of the study was to identify the side effects of assessment and its impact on secondary school students. This part comprises the entire methods and techniques used in each step of the study. It illustrates the detailed description of sample selection, sources of data, data gathering tools and techniques, techniques of data analysis for the study.4.2. Nature of the Study
The study is descriptive in nature based on qualitative approach. Data and evidences were gathered from a wide range of sources by using a combination of different data gathering instruments and strategies. The thematic analysis was used to analyze the collected data.4.3. Study Area
The study area was basically the Dhaka district. The researcher selected this area because of easy communication system, availability of time and financial support. To complete the research perfectly and thoroughly with the assigned time, researcher chose secondary level. Only mainstream schools were chosen for the study.4.4. Population of the Study
All the government and non-government secondary schools and its students are the population for this study. There are 19070 secondary schools in where 75,10,218 students are studying. Among them, 317 are governmental and 18753 are non-governmental; there are 468 secondary schools in metropolitan city where 3,25,000 students are studying. Schools were considered regardless of their administrative categories (for example, Govt. or non Govt. schools) and the schools are also from different categories based on their reputation and result in public examination.4.5. Sampling Technique and Selection
4.5.1. Sampling Technique
From the large number of schools and students, three secondary schools, 10 students from secondary level were selected as sample to complete the study within assigned time.
4.5.2. Sample Selection
The schools were selected by stratified sampling technique from the population which was stratified into the following 3 strata according to the result of their last two year public examinations (S.S.C):
1. Schools with good results in S.S.C examination / Category A- 1 school
2. Schools with moderate results in S.S.C examination / Category B- 1 school
3. Schools with poor results in S.S.C examination / Category C- 1 school
(The category was identified with the help of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka)
As the main approach of this study was qualitative approach, students were selected by convenient sampling technique. Three students from each grade of secondary level were selected as a sample of the study.4.6. Sources of Data and Evidence
Only primary data have been used for this study. Information and evidence were collected and recorded mainly from 2 sources: i) student ii) Classroom.
Five students were interviewed individually from each grade and 10 students were involved in FGDs (Focus Group Discussion). For FGD, 10 students are divided into two groups. The Strata were determined according to the last academic result and equal gender distribution of the students. So the groups for the FGD were:
Group-1: High /Average Achiever (According to the last academic result)- 5 students.
Group-2: Low Achiever (According to the last academic result) - 5 students.
Five classrooms from each school were observed by the researcher. Every grade of Secondary school level of the schools was observed once for collecting data. So a total number of fifteen classrooms were observed by taking relevant notes for gathering data.
A triangulation method was engaged in collecting data and information with a view to maintain the validity of the data and evidence. For conducting the study, different types of data and evidence generating techniques were employed as a tool. The study entailed student’s interview as principle of data collection. The method was supplemented by classroom observation, focus group discussions. All the tools were prepared based on the main purpose of the study and by reviewing the related literature.
The following tools or techniques were used for collecting data for this study:
• Classroom observation using notes.
• Interview with students
• Focus group discussion with students
4.7.1. Classroom Observation Using Class Notes
The aim of observing was to understand the detailed notation of the teachers’ behavior in the classroom while assessing a student. It was also tried to comprehend how teachers behaved while a student stand up for giving the answers, when did a teacher give feedback to his/her students and how students behave towards the assessment system. Other interests were to check and to harmonize students’ given data. Moreover, the researcher used notes for observation to develop information about teachers’ and students’ behavior at assessment time, which could influence the side effects of an assessment system.
4.7.2. In- Depth Interview with Students
Participants were interviewed under the guidance of a particular interview guide. Before starting interviewing, the researcher developed sound rapport with the participants. They were interviewed to know a number of facts regarding research interest. Respective interview guide was planned consecutively focusing their attitude, values, and practices which were the crucial factors related to side effects of assessment. It was done for revealing qualitative data of desired research questions.
4.7.3. Focus Group Discussion of Students:
For FGD two groups of students, each group consisted of 5 students, were selected from category A and Category B School. For conducting FGD, a number of topics were selected from literature which was related to purpose of this study. The researcher also used some probe questions and follow up question for collecting reliable data from participants. Before staring FGD, researcher developed rapport with the participants.4.8. Piloting of Selected Tools
The tools of the study were piloted once. The researcher conducted another mini study for academic purpose on side effects of assessment before conducting this study. There, the researcher used all the selected tools for collecting relevant data which were regarded as piloting of tools for the current study. After that the researcher edited the tools on the basis of piloting for conducting the current research. The tools were then piloted on 5 students and one school.4.9. Data Gathering Process
Data was collected by the researcher herself. It was very crucial to gather data from different participants for this qualitative research. The first step in collecting data from respective participants was by using In-depth interview. The researcher built a good relationship with the participants and in need of the researcher went to the participants twice or thrice for collecting data. Then Classroom observation was used, letters of approval for amassing data was made and it was provided to the headmasters of the schools. In the case of student participants for FGD, researcher attempted to set up a fairly rapport with them. The researcher was also concerned about introducing herself to other participants as well. At the time of collecting data, the researcher tried to check the data whether any relevant topic of data was uncollected from the participants.4.10. Data Analysis Techniques and Interpretation
A few numbers of steps were followed to analyze gathered data. The certain steps were-
4.10.1. Data Organizing
After collecting qualitative data, it was organized in accordance with the data collection technique like interviewed data had been organized according to the study theme.
4.10.2. Data Coding
The sources were coded for analyzing data. In this case two types of coding were used: alphabetic coding for schools and alpha- numeric coding for participants. The table 3.2 shows the coding of the data.
4.10.3. Data Analysis
A number of themes were figured out from the data revealed. Data analysis described the various aspects of the study: different viewpoints of the participants, the efficacy of their experiences. After that, the collected data was present under the particular themes.
i) Qualitative analysis by triangulation of data
In particular, the term triangulation in research stands for the placing of similar data of research interest from various participants by various tools. In this study researcher tried to enhance his internal validity through data triangulation. In this triangulation process other data obtained from other sources. It was like a student’s provided interview data were verified with the FGD and classroom observation data. Compatibility of accumulated data was drawn through this effort. The following chart draws the triangulation process-
The triangulated data were merged into different themes which were related to the research questions.
5. Analysis and Findings of the Study5.1. Existence of Side Effects at Secondary Level Assessment System
Some side effects were found in the assessment practices at secondary level in . These side effects were mainly influenced the affective domain, the ethics, values and emotions of the students. From the analysis given below, the researcher tried to present how side effects of assessment influenced the affective domain of the students.5.2. Students’ Self-inferiority Complex and Lose of Self-confidence Due to Assessment
Students sometimes lost their self-confidence and suffered in self-inferiority complex when their results were published. This was found when the respondents were giving data about report of their result. One student who was coded as IG1 expressed that ‘I would not tell my result to you, if I tell you, you may not treat me in proper way’. IB3 also felt shy to say his result. He denied of saying anything about his result. He only mentioned that his result was ‘as usual’. Another student IG2 explained her result in a very strange way that, ‘I forgot my result’. She tried to memorize her result but she couldn’t remember anything about her recent result. She also mentioned that, ‘it is very shameful to tell my result to my elder sister and sister’s husband.’ One student, IB2 who seemed to be a good student, felt proud to say his result. But the others also felt shy to tell their results to the researcher. They also felt afraid to share their results with high achievers. FGB1 mentioned about this that, ‘I would not tell my results to my friends, because if I tell them my result, they may tease me for my bad results’. These kinds of self-inferiority complex sometimes resisted them to give answers in the classroom. They felt shy or no interest of giving the answers in the classroom. From OBA it was found that, when teachers asked some specific student to give the answer she seemed nervous and gave the answers in lower voice. Students sometimes tried to hide themselves from teacher through an open question. Students sometimes started to lose their self-confidence and suffered from depression. Regarding this, IG1 was very much depressed about her result. It seemed that she accused herself of being a bad student. She mentioned with a sad voice that ‘it was entirely my fault that I couldn’t get good number, my parents is being always unhappy for me, I was depressed too for making my parents down. It was totally my fault’. Another student, IG3 also mentioned same kind of statement that all was his fault. And about getting poor number in examination he mentioned that, ‘maybe it was my fault that I couldn’t get good number in examination, maybe I was always wrong about writing the correct answer.’ The other student also mentioned the same type of statement about their performance. Students’ lack of self- confidence also affected their classroom assessment behavior. FGB1 uttered that, ‘while teachers started to take lessons from me, I felt that my heartbeat is gradually raising and my hands and legs are started to get cold. I feel very nervous of giving the answer, though I know the answer’. But FGB2 argued that, if he knew the answer he would always try to give the answer with a competitive mind, before other student gave the answer. These behaviors also found from OBA that, when teachers asked some specific student to give the answer she seemed nervous and gave the answers in lower voice. Students sometimes tried to hide themselves from teacher through an open question. From OBB, students were also found that they were blowing air on their chest when they successfully gave the answers.5.3. Assessment Creating Disregard to the Teachers, Schools and Parents
Students said many disrespectful statements about the teachers, school and parents. IB1 mentioned that ‘I wish I could hurt my teacher’. Most of them wish to hurt their teachers by different thing. They wished to use a piece of brick, bamboo stick and even a bomb hurting their teachers. Another student, IB2 also said so. He mentioned that ‘for such kind of behavior (giving one student number than the other for same answer) it is true that there were no space of respect for a teacher in my heart’. The students also mentioned different type of class punishment which influenced their disrespectful behavior. Some of the mentioned punishments were, ‘Horlicks style’, ‘invisible chair’, standing for periods’, ‘hacked daily dairy’, ‘giving 0 in the daily dairy’, ‘suspend a student for a week’, ‘giving threat of T.C’ etc. They mentioned that all of these punishments were directly or indirectly related to assessment. FGB2 stated that, ‘teachers supposed to make a pre-mind that they would give punishment to the students that day. Teachers came to the classroom with a bad mood and started to take lessons from the students. If anyone gave a wrong answer, teacher then gave punishment to the whole class.’ FGG1 advised that, ‘teachers should not practice these kinds of punishments in the classroom. This is so insulting for students and also caused a decrease of respect for the teachers. As assessments are the part of the school; at the end, all blame went to school. As an example IB1 stated that, ‘I have a strong wish that, I will fit a bomb in my school and then I will buy a remote for controlling the bomb and one day I will destroy my entire school with a huge bomb blast’. Another student, FGB1 also mentioned same type of statement that, ‘I would join with Jamat-e-Islam (political organization) and learn how to make bombs, and after learning this I would blast my school. Another student, IG2 said the same thing that she hates her school because of giving poor marks, making the term question paper hard and making the students fail in their examinations.
Parents’ behavior regarding assessment sometimes kept negative effects on students. IB1 mentioned that, ‘when my results were published my parents punished me too hard. You would not believe, my mother broke 4-5 rulers on my back because of my bad result’. He also said that because of this behavior sometimes he wanted to flee from home. Another student, IG1 said that, ‘because of my bad result my father sometimes told me that, go start begging to door to door, studying is not your business’. But IB3 and IG2 argued that, their parents never punished her so much for her bad result. Supporting their statement FGB3 also mentioned that, ‘His mother never punished him for poor marks. She always stated some as usual statement, nothing else.’5.4. Attempt of Hurting Themselves and Selecting Wrong Path Because of Assessment
Students sometimes attempted to hurt themselves for bad results. On result day, students with poor number tried different activity to make them hurt. One student, IB1 said that in result day he felt the tension about his bad result. Sometimes he wished that, he could flee from his home and never come back. IG2 also mentioned same types of statement. But IB2, the student with good result, argued that, ‘it is just a mad behavior to flee from home for bad results. I will never do that’. Sometimes students with poor marks or low achievement get involved in wicked activity. These students sometimes use mobile phone with internet connection and download porn videos from their phones. These may be a result of getting habitat achieving poor number and had no demand for good numbers or otherwise there may be presence of self- fulfilling prophecy within these students that they were not a good student and can never be a good student. About this FGG1 said that, who seems to be a good student, ‘In my class I do not make friendship with back benchers. They are not good in the characters. They can use many slang words to anybody, they take mobile to the school and talk to their boyfriends, and they see dirty videos in mobiles.’ She also mentioned against a question, ‘why?’, that, ‘it could be a reason that they have poor result in class. If they do well in the class they might change. Because, then, they might feel the encouragement of doing better than before. But now they have no interest to do well in their examination’. IG2 also stated that ‘the students of back bench or holding a poor class roll do not have any good character’. From classroom observation, OBC, the researcher noticed that, one teacher was afraid to ask questions to some of the students. Later the researcher talked to the teacher and indirectly asked the question to the teachers that, why not the teachers would ask questions to those students. The teachers’ answer was, these students were not good students and also not have good characters.5.5. Assessment Creates Mental Pressure
Assessment sometimes caused mental pressures on students. Especially instant assessment and result giving day were responsible for students’ mental pressure. IB3 mentioned that ‘classroom assessment is a source of pressure’. Talking about the teachers’ classroom assessment style he also stated that, ‘while teacher started to take lesson from us, my whole body started to turn cold, I feel the pressure is my heart, heart beats very fast, I feel a paralysis in my legs and hands’. FGG1 also mentioned parallel statements. IB1 uttered that, ‘It is worse to give any kind of mental pressure rather than physical punishment. Teachers like to hack daily diaries and love to call parents for a simple matter. These give us more pressure on our mind. Then, I have to think about what I would say to my parents. It is very shameful. I never cried in my school; but for this reason I was crying in my school once. That time, I was only thinking what I would say to my parents’. Another student FGG1 mentioned that ‘while teacher started to take a lesson I try to hide myself behind something. I felt that, ‘that time I was in a refrigerator’. The other said that she does not like this kind of pressure. Mostly she hates the mental pressure. And the day of giving exam papers to the students’ was the worst day of the year for them. ‘Taking signature on these papers is also a worse job’ said all the 5 students. One student, IB3 also mentioned that, ‘in the classroom when the teacher asks me my lessons, I sometimes forget most of the thing because of pressure of punishment though I had completed my lessons properly.’5.6. Increase of Competitive Behavior and Grow Passion Only for Extrinsic Rewards
About side effects of assessment the students claim that, assessment sometimes making the other students selfish and jealous of others. By supporting this statement, IG1 mentioned that ‘to get good numbers students do not share their notes with others’. IB2 also stated that ‘I did not tell my results to any of my friends, because if I told them my result they may tease me for my bad results’. But one student, IB3 argued that, he love the competitive environment because he thought competitive environment is good for learning a lesson. Because of competitive environment, students started to go to coaching centers and there they also faced difficulties with their friends. IG1 gave an example of this competitive environment, she mentioned that, ‘ If I had succeeded to give my lesson to my teacher properly, the other girls came to me and say that, wow you are a good student, you make note aren’t you? Where do you take extra lesson? Who teaches you? How much money you give your teacher? And that was irritating’. Another student, FGG1 mentioned that ‘some students try to make friendship with good students. When my class roll was better, a student tried to make friendship with me but when I lost my position he started to avoid me. He is a bad guy’. FGB2 also added that, ‘students within 3-20 roll suppose that, they are the hero of the class. They do not like other students. Even they do not try to help other students. So whenever they seek help from me in the exam hall I also avoid them’. He also said in a whispering voice that, ‘uh, you never helped me, so why should I? Other students said almost the same statement about such student’s behavior. A practical scenario was found from OBB and OBA that, while teacher asked questions to the students a competitive environment was raised in the classroom. But it was interesting that, this competitive environment only existed within the high achievers. The researcher asked the students about the main goal of their study. Only IB3 said that ‘to know something’. But the other students said that actually the study for getting more marks. One of them mentioned that, ‘Who want to study for knowing something, I only read for getting good numbers in my examination paper.’ Another student, FGB4 mentioned that, ‘Actually students study for getting good numbers. They also study for making them safe from the punishment of the teacher. Nobody has studied for knowing new things’. But one student also mentioned that, ‘It is very sad that, I learn something and after some days I also forget what I have learnt’. FGG3 also stated that, ‘I am a candidate of board examination, I already know what is in my books, but even though I know all the topics of the book, I have to give the examination. This time I will sit for getting a certificate with good result, nothing else’. That means the students knew that, they only read for an extrinsic reward. Theses behavior got strength from some teachers’ behavior. From OBA and OBB it was found that, most of the teachers used to ask questions as a medium of giving the important questions for the examination. That means teachers also gave emphasize on getting better numbers rather than knowing a subject very well. One of the teachers was showing the questions that are important for the examination and also explained how to give the answers and also said that for what reasons the answer might be given less numbers. Another teacher did the same thing. The teacher of class eight and ten were mainly doing those things. One of them also said that, ‘the questions that I asked you are the most important questions about this chapter’.5.7. Growing of Self-fulfilling Prophecy
Some students talked like that they had a self-fulfilling prophecy in their mind. Giving the data about responding in the classroom IG1 said that, ‘I will not give the answer whether my teacher gives me extra mark or a gift or not. I do not like to give answers in my class. Because at the end of the day all proud goes to the good students. So it is wise not to give the answer in the class.’ She also mentioned that, ‘one day I gave only one wrong answer and my teacher punished me for two class periods’. Another student, IB1 also mentioned that, ‘as teachers always like good students it is idiocy to give an answer to the teachers, because the teacher does not like my answer as I am not a good achiever’. He told a funny story to the researcher that, ‘One of his friends got 1 mark out of 5 marks and when he noticed his number he started to laugh and announced his number loudly with a big smile’. IB2 also added that, ‘Now punishment is nothing to me, it is a source of recreation when all students get punishment together’. Though there was nothing found from classroom observation directly about self- fulfilling prophecy but some students from the entire three category schools were found less interested in giving an answer or writing given task in their notebook.5.8. Assessment Reduces Self-evaluation Opportunity and Students Become a Cue Seeker
About grading system, all the students argued that, grading system did not allow them to know their actual position in the class. But they also stated that, through grading system they could achieve more marks than number system. IB2 said that, ‘there is no chance of self-evaluation for students’ because of the grading system. Because of the grade, I could not understand my position in my class. Grade system is good for board examination but not for school examination’. Other students, IB1, IG1, FGB3 and FGG5 also mentioned same type of statement that grade system is good for board examination but not good for school examination. The students also mentioned that, grade creates a category in the class like high class people, middle class people and lower class people. They do not like or support such categorization.
It is also found that, in our assessment system, most of the time teachers use specific assessment styles or prepare students for a specific assessment system. That could also create a side effect. About the specific style of assessment, IB2 stated that he will study according to the specific style of assessment. Among the students, FGG4 mentioned that, ‘I will study for my exam according to the specific system of assessment, because if I do not study according to my exam style I will not get good number, so if I want to get good numbers in examination I must follow the specific style of assessment’. Other students, FGG1 and IG1 said that, ‘I follow the assessment style for my study’. But FGB4 argued that, ‘I will not study according to the specific style of assessment, whether it is a multiple choice question or not.’ One question was asked to them that, if you do not know what will be the assessment style then what you will do. Most of them then answered that they will then read the whole book and try to understand the main theme of the topic.
6. Major Findings
From the above analysis the researcher found some major issues that were related to side effects of assessment. The major findings are:
• Some side effects of assessment do exist in secondary school of Bangladesh. These side effects of assessment have generally influenced student’s affective domain and their ethics, value and morality.
• Though side effects are related to assessment system but the implementation techniques and the implementers were also responsible for the side effects of assessment.
• Students lost their self-confidence and suffered for self-inferiority complex for giving reports of their poor result and also for teachers’ behaviour in classroom during assessment.
• Students also had a disrespectful behaviour in their mind for teachers and for schools for assessing them wrongly or partially. Sometimes they wish to do maltreatment with their teachers and school. This mainly occurred when teachers used assessment techniques for controlling class and as a medium of giving punishments.
• Giving reports of assessment sometimes affected students’ self-respects and insist them to hurt themselves. This kind of mentality was found in majority of students. But the level of hurting themselves is different. Some wished to flee from home, some wished to commit suicide.
• Classroom assessment sometimes caused mental pressure to students and this pressure also caused harm to their physical fitness. However, it depends on their teacher’s behaviour during assessment time.
• Assessment also increased the competitive mood among the students. For this competitive aspect of assessment, students sometimes refused to help each other or to work in a group. Students also feel jealous and selfishness in their mind; because they thought if they help others, the other students might get more number in examination paper than them.
• Students sometimes suffer from self-fulfilling prophecy. This happened mostly for assessment techniques used and feedback giving techniques. Meanwhile whenever feedback was provided, it was in evaluative mood. Therefore, students did not get any chance to correct themselves and gradually they became less interested to respond in classroom.
• It was also found that students with low achievement sometimes select wrong path. And high achiever students start to hate them. This created division among students and consequently created different groups with the classroom. Teachers in the class also recognized the difference among the students in their practices. For example, the students who were high achiever were getting less punishment than low achievers.
• Grading system also had some side effects in assessment practice. Most of the students dislike the grading system. They could not evaluate themselves in this system as they did not have their accurate scores. Grading system only gave them some grades but the students want exact number and feedback of their assessment. Students thought that grading system also created division in classroom.
• Because of assessment system, students slowly deviated from the main objective of learning and getting passionate for extrinsic reward, like: certificate, good marks, good classroom ranking (roll) and others.
• The assessment system influenced students to be a cue seeker. Most of the time the assessment techniques were remained same. Therefore, students tried to learn their lessons according to assessment system rather than developing their understanding about the topic.
7. Discussion with Related Study
As described before, the study proceeded in qualitative approach. 15 students were selected conveniently. Required data was assembled from selected students. For the purpose of additional data, additional tools were selected. Additional tool of this study were classroom observation with field note. With a view of getting a better insight of data, a number of themes were formulated. These themes were analyzed in qualitative approach. This chapter is comprised of those findings precisely as well as interpretations of the findings sequentially and also attempted to bridge between the findings and study of literatures.
The following discussion proceeds on the findings and their interpretations considering the research questions of this study. The whole discussions pursuing the findings are also presented below under the respective paragraphs of those indicators. These paragraphs also converse and argue many aspects of the findings.
First of all, it was found that, the side effects of assessment generally influenced students’ affective domain and their ethics, value and morality. By supporting this statement, Tarana (2011) also stated that, assessment has affective impact on individuals. Generally assessment is a process of teaching and learning. Students improve their cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain through learning. And most of the time effective learning affects students’ affective domain rather than cognitive or psychomotor domain. Similarly any kind of negative effects affects students’ affective domain. And if it related with assessment system it will affects most . Moreover it was found that, for side effects of assessment, students lose their self-confidence and suffer for self-inferiority complex for giving reports of their poor result and also for teachers’ behavior in classroom during the of assessment. Similarly Tarana (2011) stated that, ‘the result of assessment affects students mind as when s/he gets poor marks that de-motivate him/her’. However, she also stated that, motivation from assessment is not always regarded as an advantage. Some students expressed the de-motivated role of assessment. Furthermore, unclear question resulting in failure to answer, decrease in confidence due to poor result, moral degradation due to the limitation of current assessment system . In Bangladesh, teachers sometimes previously construct beliefs about their students (both good and weak) and likely about particular answers influence their classroom assessment practice. The influence is reflected on different attitude of the teachers. Generally teachers punished the weak students when they failed to give correct answer but not to the good students. Even when weak students were able to give correct answer, teachers sometimes did not want to believe that and justified their accuracy. Teachers’ behavior towards weak students forced them to make believe that they are not able to learn anything. Moreover, Students also hold a disrespectful behavior in their mind for teachers and for schools due to assessing them wrongly or partially. Also students sometimes wished to maltreatment their teachers and schools. This mainly occurred when teachers used assessment techniques for controlling class and as a medium of giving punishments. According to Ahsan (2007), the purpose of classroom questioning, to the students, was not always found to be for assessment of and for learning . Sometimes the learners had been using it as a technique to punish the students who made chaotic situation and interrupt in the classroom activity. But an argument arise in Islam (2009) that, basically most of the question were asked for the purpose of assessing the students. In few times questions were asked to give clues in order to understand and answer the previous question or motivate students towards learning .
It was also found that, giving reports of assessment sometimes affects self-respects and made them to hurt themselves. This kind of mentality was found in every student’s mind. But the level of hurting themselves is different. Some wished to flee from home, some wished to take attempt to suicide. A similar scenario was found from an Indian study that, examination anxiety has significant effect on suicidal. Students having high examination anxiety have high level of suicidal ideation in comparison to those who are having low level of examination anxiety. In a study of completed suicides in adolescents from Delhi, 56% of the suicides occurred in the months from March to July. These months correspond to announcements of results, entrance into college and beginning of new academic session .
However, classroom assessment sometimes caused mental pressure to students and this pressure also caused harm to their physical fitness. Most of the Students felt nervous and panic during assessment. Moreover they also mentioned that this depends on their teacher’s behaviour in assessment time. Ahsan (2007) also showed in her study that, questioning was found to be a terrifying event to the learners as many of them had been found to be mumbled while answering the questions, but mumbling was not their usual habit . Students, who could not prepare themselves to respond, immediately tried to learn the particular answers by opening their text book hiding from the teacher. She also stated that, questioning was proved to be a state of fear to the students, which was being revealed in their expressions. That was prominent among those who were sitting towards back benches. Furthermore, it was revealed from the study that, assessment also increased the competitive mood among the students. For this competitive mood students sometimes refused to help each other or work in a group. Students also feel jealousness and selfishness in their mind; because they thought if they help others, the other students might get more number in examination paper than them. Similar finding were found in the study of Islam (2007). According to Islam (2007), teachers’ assessment activity in the classroom encouraged students to answer perfectly in any way rather than qualitative learning. This creates a competitive mentality among the students rather than co- operative attitude. As a result, students did not share their learning among themselves. They also did not want to help each other. This tendency also encourages them only to memorize the subject matter well .
Students sometimes suffer from self-fulfilling prophecy for assessment system. This happened mostly for assessment techniques and feedback giving techniques. Teachers in our schools, most of the time, forget to give any kind of feedback. Or whenever they gave any feedback, the feedbacks were in evaluative mood. So students did not get any corrections from the teachers and at last they give up trying for good result. And also lose their interest to give answer during the time of assessment. Similar scenario was stated in Rahman (2009) that, in most classes, teachers did not encourage and congratulate those students who answered questions. In almost all classes students were given feedback through orally (95%) and written (85%). Most of times the feedback was right and wrong answer oriented (70%) and teachers hardly followed descriptive feedback. Sometimes teachers did behave in negative manner with the students who failed to respond. Teachers’ favored good student, on the other hand, weak students failed to draw teachers’ attention. Majority questions were asked to high achievers and few were passed to low achievers .
Besides, grading system in assessment had some side effects also. Every student dislikes this system. According to them students could not evaluate themselves because of grading system. Grading system only gives them some grades but the students want exact number and feedback of their assessment. Students also mentioned that grading system creates divide in classroom. Similarly, Tarana (2011) states that, this system considers as a faulty system and it deserves to be modified. The system aims at ensuring the upper grade, not the intellectual development of the learners. But about grading type Todd L. Cherry and Larry V. Ellis said that student performance is significantly improved when facing a grading system based on student ranking (norm-reference grading) rather than performance standards (criterion-reference grading). The improved outcomes from rank-order grading largely arise among the high performers, but not at the expense of low performers. Results indicate rank-ordering may eliminate the incentive for high performing students to "stop" once they achieve a stated objective, while not diminishing the incentive for lower performing students .
Additionally, students slowly deviate from the main objective of learning and getting passionate for extrinsic reward because of assessment system like: certificate, good marks, good class roll etc. Islam (2007) also mentioned that, students memorize their subject matter in order to get teachers praise or good marks. He also mentioned that, they do it just for pleasing their teachers and getting good marks. Also our assessment system made students a cue seeker. Most of the time the assessment techniques were remains same. So students only try to learn their lessons according to assessment system rather than understanding the topic. It is also found that, basically most of the question was asked for the purpose of assessing the students. In few times questions were asked to give clues in order to understand and answer the previous question or motivate students towards learning .
However, from the above discussion it was also found that not only assessment system but also teachers’ behavior in assessment time as well as teacher’s perception about assessment, teachers’ personal choice and teachers’ prejudicial practices in assessment were also related for creating side effects of assessment. About teachers’ behavior during assessment, Tarana (2011) stated that, students suggested that there are some halo effects in assessment where students are known to be meritorious got good marks and who are engaged as weak students got poor marks. Moreover, bias in giving marks on SBA (School Based Assessment), content narrowing and lick of question paper is also highlighted in their responses. In addition, they expressed their concern about the teachers being unapproachable when it comes to understanding assessment question which made things difficult for them. She also mentioned that, some students also questioned the valid use of assessment in public exam where students were given good or bad marks based not on their subject knowledge but their hand writing . In another study, Rahman (2009) stated similar behavior that, teachers ask questions to particular students, they hardly threw questions to the whole class. High achievers and front benchers got more priority in classroom for replying questions . In contrast, in Tarana (2011) study it was also found that, teachers perceived assessment results as undoubtedly important for teaching learning. The cause they have shown, for the future job, for leveling or grading students, for students learning and as well as for identifying the teaching problem .
All of the above discussion showed us how assessment system has a negative effect on our students. However, as assessment system also related with our teachers’ concept and behavior it is we could not only accused our assessment system for side effects of assessment. We should also try to look after our teacher’s behavior at the time of implementing the assessment system.
Based on the emerged findings of this study the following recommendations have been made to ensure quality learning:
• Classroom assessment should be valid, appropriate, reliable, flexible, fair and sufficient. It should be an integrated part of teaching learning process as well as a method for success. It should be a continuous activity for assessing knowledge, skills, values and achievement of critical cross-field outcomes.
• The criteria for assessment and learning achievement must be made transparent to students to enable them to have a clear overview, both of the aim of their work and of what it means to complete it successfully. Such criteria may be abstract, but concrete example should be used in modelling exercise to develop understanding.
• For classroom assessment to be productive, students should be encouraged in self-assessment so that they can keep in mind the aims of their work and assess their own progress toward meeting these aims as they proceed. Then they will be able to guide their own work and become independent learners.
• Students should be taught the habits and skills of collaboration in peer assessment, both because these are of intrinsic value and because peer assessment can help develop the objectivity, cooperation, collaboration which required for effective self- assessment.
• Teachers should be sure that students are active participants in the lesson and emphasize that learning may depend less on their capacity to spot the right answer and more on their readiness to express and discuss their own understanding.
• Teachers should not teach, rather facilitate learning by stimulating creativity, self-learning, critical thinking etc. The role of the facilitator is to enable learners to master: critical cross-field outcome, the required knowledge and values, and skills.
• Collaboration between teachers and students and between students and their peers should be increased so that it can produce a supportive environment in which students can explore their own ideas, hear alternative ideas in the language of their peers and evaluate them.
• Class work and exercises can be an invaluable guide to learning, but the exercises must be clear and relevant to learning aims. The feedback on them could give each student’s guidance on how to improve, and each must be given opportunity and help to work at the improvement.
• Feedback to any student should be about the particular qualities of his or her work with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other students.
• In a nutshell, to ensure quality learning of all the students, we have to move forward from assessment of learning to assessment for learning, with no child left behind.
9. Concluding Remarks
Based on overall discussion it can be said that students are seriously affected by the side effects of assessment. From the emerged findings the researcher tried to recommend one more step to ensure quality learning. Students should be taught the habits and skills of collaboration in peer assessment, both because these are of intrinsic value and because peer assessment can help develop the objectivity, cooperation, collaboration which required for effective self- assessment. And lastly, Collaboration between teachers and students and between students and their peers should be increased so that it can produce a supportive environment in which students can explore their own ideas, hear alternative ideas in the language of their peers and evaluate them.
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