The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has said this year all examination classes will be subjected to a new model that will combine marks for continuous assessment as well as final examinations.
The Education Ministry said the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) examinations and the Continuous Assessment Framework will now form part of the weighted contribution to learner performance outcomes in Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six public examinations.
The Continuous Assessment Framework ultimately sets out what learners are expected to know and be able to do as a direct result of their learning in schools and non-formal education, starting from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to Secondary level.
It emphasises the assessment of knowledge, skills, abilities, values and trends to ascertain the achievement of desired learner exit profiles at any level.
At the moment, it will only apply to examination classes.
In an interview, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Ambassador Cain Mathema said the adopted system will ensure fair marks for every pupil.
“Schools are opened and learners will be continuously assessed. We want to move from the past where learners are awarded pass or fail grades at the end of the year. We acknowledge that some learners may not be good in particular subjects but are good in others, we want to observe that so that learners are awarded the marks that deserve,” he said.
“We have combined the continuous assessment and the Zimsec examination that learners write at the end of the year in order to award learners a fair mark. Learners have written examinations under Covid-19 hence our continuous assessment strategy will not be affected by the pandemic.”
A document on the new strategy says the philosophy of Ubuntu/unhu, which is catered for, will prepare learners for appropriate roles in society and the real world of work.
The document also says the Continuous Assessment Framework will accord teachers/facilitators the opportunity to participate fully in the assessment of their learners.
“The new curriculum framework prescribes a new model of assessment which is a hybrid of assessment for learning, assessment as learning and assessment of learning,” the document reads. It accommodates diverse needs such as different aptitudes, talents, gender, disabilities, socio-economic status and vulnerabilities. It sets out the parameters at which schools can build interactive education programmes that learners achieve desired outcomes and function productively and efficiently in their societies.”
The framework says continuous assessment takes on board Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a key learning area and an enabler of teaching and learning processes.
“For the first phase the framework will focus on examination levels, that is, Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six in 2021.
“The strategy thus strives to ensure the effective assessment of learners with different aptitudes, interests, disabilities, skills, attitudes, competencies and its thrust is the effective examination of learners knowledge, skills and competencies in appositive and transparent manner,” it says.
“While attempts have been made to develop a comprehensive strategy, teachers are also encouraged to be innovative.
“It is envisaged if properly implemented the catch-up strategy will help close the existing teaching and learning gaps emanating from disruptions due to emergencies and help learners to improve their performance.”
A catch-up strategy to compensate for lost learning time, and a coordinated system for accelerated learning, all of which involve the use of alternative learning platforms such as WhatsApp for the benefit of pupils is now in place.
Chronicle could not immediately establish yesterday how marks will be allocated under continuous learning model but previously officials said pupils were supposed to be graded based on 40 percent theoretical examinations, 30 percent practical examinations and 30 percent continuous assessment.
The introduction of continuous assessment is set to ensure that the pupil and the teacher concentrate continuously instead of wasting time in between and only concentrating on the eve of final examinations.