I Am Asking the Scope of the Paper: Negative Washback and Examination UnderPreparedness in South AfricaReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Education and Practice, v6 n24 p30-37 2015

University education has been massified in South Africa and this has disrupted conventions and practices of assessment. Universities are perceived as promoting complex achievements and complex skills through rigorous curriculum specifications and assessment instruments. Due to experiences in high school and the novelty of university education, students have begun to enquire about the "scope of the paper." This enquiry has tended to destabilise the reliability of assessments and judgments in universities in South Africa. Grades and symbols certified by some universities have become both indeterminate and ambiguous. A qualitative, quantitative design was adopted to identify and interrogate university research participants' views on experiences about examinations at university level. In the process, the meanings that first-year degree-level test-takers ascribed to the concept of "the scope of the paper" were unpacked. It was determined which aspects of the test scope students had studied in order to prepare for tests. Inferences were made about the concepts that the students marginalised because they were perceived to be "out of the scope" of the examination. A holistic and broad educational experience for university students is recommended in spite of the daunting numbers enrolled in certain university courses.

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Tests, Test Wiseness, Student Attitudes, Test Preparation, Bachelors Degrees, College Freshmen, Questionnaires, Test Content, Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis, Semi Structured Interviews, Content Analysis

IISTE. No 1 Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong SAR. Tel: +852-39485948; e-mail: JEP[at]iiste.org; Web site: http://www.iiste.org/Journals/Index.php/JEP

Author: Hove, Muchativugwa Liberty; Hlatshwayo, Abigail

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=2759&id=EJ1078856

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