Assessment In Education: A Case For Quality And Standards 
Within The Context Of Open And Distance Education: 
A Case Study Of One Zimbabwean University


Wellington SAMKANGE


ABSTRACT
A study was carried out to assess the assessment procedures used at one Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution in Zimbabwe. The study focused on the views and perceptions of current and former students of the university. The study also analyzed some documents on assessment procedures at the university. The study used the qualitative methodology and data was qualitatively analyzed. The focus was on fifty current and former students in the Bachelor of Education in Educational Management (BEDM) and Master of Education in Educational Management (MEDM) programmes. Results indicated that both current and former students were generally satisfied with the assessment methods used in their programmes. These included assignments, examinations and research projects/dissertations. It was noted that examinations had the highest weighting in both programmes. However, the study also noted that there were some practices that compromised quality if not carefully handled. These included the supervision of research projects and dissertations by only one supervisor per student. There were fears of bias in that regard. The study came up with a number of recommendations. These included the need to reconcile and align regulations in Tutorial Letters with General Information and Regulations currently in use. Other recommendations included the need to review the study period without compromising the quality of education for BEDM, and the need to deal with issues of plagiarism of assignments. It should also be mandatory for Masters’ students to attend a viva voce to defend their dissertations. Finally, ODL demands innovative assessment methods which should be clearly distinct from conventional modes of assessment.


KEYWORDS: Quality; Assessment; Standards; Open and Distance Learning.

[PDF]