A critical evaluative case study of the B.Ed. module, 'Analysing Education' taught at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
Nxumalo, Gloria Phumelele.
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In this study I set out to critically evaluate the B.Ed 'Analysing Education' module, one of the first OBE programmes to be implemented at a South African academic institution in the Department of Education, at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. I took as my starting point the belief that 'Analysing Education' was a response to the new OBE paradigm, hence it should have been an exemplar of OBE. It should therefore reflect OBE philosophy in its structure; design, implementation and assessment methods and strategies. These are the areas which were evaluated in this research programme. The purpose of the study was two-fold: on one hand, it was to explore the extent to which the module was guided by OBE principles; on the other hand it was intended to evaluate the effectiveness and constraints of the module in implementing OBE principles. In evaluating the module, I consulted the sources which I perceived relevant for the study. 'Analysing Education' learning material, lecturers who designed the module, tutors who implemented the module, and learners of the module were the relevant sources for this study. A naturalistic 'qualitative' and 'descriptive' approach was used to collect and analyse data from all the stakeholders who were involved in this module. The findings indicated that some strengths and weaknesses existed in the module's attempt to implement OBE principles. The strengths were discovered in the use of tutorial methods where learners engaged in group discussions and debates and where they acquired skills of interaction. The success of the module in introducing OBE concepts explicitly to the learners, was another strength. A weakness was discovered in the strategies used to assess the progress of the learners in the module. The findings indicated that this weakness emanated from the module's development strategy - the involvement of external forces such as SAIDE and the Ministry of Education confused the purpose of the module. The confusion of the purpose brought about the failure of the module to address certain OBE principles such as criterion-referenced assessment, and continuous progress assessment. Assessment was found to be a non-formative linear process. The module eventually had to meet three diverse needs: those of SAIDE , of the National Ministry of Education, and of the B.Ed students in the department. At the end of the module students had made good progress towards understanding OBE as a system, but had made considerably less progress in developing skills of analysis, interpretation and argument, which were purported to be the fundamental outcomes of the module.