Exploring experience of Teachers in the implementation of standard-based grading in Botswana Junior Secondary Schools (JSS): a case of Moeti JSS in Maun
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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A survey of literature, both in Botswana and internationally showed that implementation of standard-based grading (SBG) is a common problem in schools. The national educational goal is to raise educational standards at all levels, therefore quality assessment tools such as SBG were adopted to help in achieving this goal. Hence the purpose of this study was to explore the experience of teachers in the implementation of SBG in Moeti Junior Secondary School. Further, the study investigated the aims that necessitated the introduction of SBG. Teachers‟ current grading practices and teachers‟ use of standards in classroom instruction were also explored. The research also sought teachers‟ perception on the benefit of SBG on students‟ performance. The study was structured according to the descriptive case study design. One school was selected purposefully for this study in North West region. Twenty teachers‟ participants were purposefully sampled for this study while two did not take part. Forty students were randomly sampled for focus group interviews but only thirty turned up for the interviews and one student left before the interview started. The study was guided by four research questions. The data from this qualitative case study was collected through open-ended questionnaires for teachers and standardized open-ended questions for focus group interviews for students. The findings indicated that teachers vary in their implementation of SBG as proved by the way they treated the components necessary for implementation of SBG. Further the study revealed that all teachers had limited knowledge on the SBG phenomenon. This was reflected by their level of understanding on the philosophy of this concept. This was reflected by teachers‟ failure to link their planning and lesson implementation to the identified standards. From the study, it was clear that participants believed that SBG as it involved change of curriculum from the traditional curriculum to standard-based has contributed to the school‟s academic performance which was declining in consecutive years since the introduction of SBG. The study established the causes for poor implementation of SBG as being; lack of teacher professional development, lack of resources and lack of stakeholder involvement. The study also developed recommendations to help improve the experience of teachers in the implementation of SBG as being; presentations from experienced teachers or experts, and the study has revealed that for effective implementation of SBG all stakeholders must be taken aboard. Amongst some of the recommendations made by the study is that Botswana Examination Council with the input of the Ministry of Education and skills Development should establish a policy document for SBG. Empowerment for school management on SBG is recommended in order for them to be conversant with the changed curriculum and components necessary for implementation. The study further recommended that there is need for needs assessment in order to determine how well the standard-based grading meets the needs of the learners, teachers and society.