Experiences and practices of form three integrated science teachers with regard to outcomes and assessment strategies : a case study of two schools in Lesotho.
Khanare, Tshepiso Beatrice.
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Studies by different academics (Marsh 1997; Allen 2004; Dunn 2006; Austin, 2010 & Stears & Gopal, 2010) reveal that outcomes and assessment strategies cannot be divorced. Outcomes and assessment strategies are meant for various purposes in education, ranging from establishing the starting point, to monitoring and evaluation of the outputs of what have been planned for the lesson. The study investigates the experiences and practices of Form Three integrated science teachers with regard to the outcomes and assessment strategies. The motivation behind this study is related to the problem that teachers are trained on discipline base while they are expected to teach integrated science in the junior level (form one - form three). Integrated Science plays a major role in the Lesotho education system because it prepares learners at Secondary School level (Form One - Form Three) to study specialised science subjects namely: Biology, Chemistry and Physics at High School level (Form Four – Form Five) and this resulted in learners‟ interest in science at higher education being clearly oriented (Oludipe & Oludipe, 2010). This study was achieved by investigating teachers‟ experiences and practices of outcomes and assessment strategies in the way they do, through the use of the following data gathering instruments: document analysis, observation and semi-structured interviews. This study is mainly qualitative, interpretive case study of two schools and is informed by two theories namely: social constructionist theory and Bloom‟s Taxonomies. Social constructionist underpins social practices and practitioners‟ views on them. On the other side, Bloom‟s taxonomy provides details of construction of assessment tools towards attaining outcomes at the end of the learning period. In terms of analysing the data from the field, the data are presented using the themes and categories generated from the interviews. In addition, in presenting the data, the study would ensure that the voices of the participants were not lost. Therefore, verbatim quotations are infused in the data presentation. The emerging trends and patterns from the presented data are then outlined. According to the findings, the teachers are more interested in their areas of specialisation from the universities and colleges and this resulted in some other parts of the syllabus being sidelined. The study also revealed that teachers still lack knowledge of stating or writing observable and measurable learning outcomes even thought they are aware of theimportance of stating learning outcomes at the beginning of each and every Integrated Science lesson. The research concluded with a set of recommendations to ensure the effectiveness of the teaching of Integrated Science in Lesotho.