BY DAYO ADESULU
Education is an essential part of any modern society’s development and growth, including that of Nigeria.
The Nigerian educational system has witnessed several structural changes over the past three decades, with the first National Policy on Education being developed and adopted in 1982. Since then, it has undergone various modifications, but evaluation and assessment continue to be important.
In many schools, assessment is often concentrated on cognitive performance, but assessment systems that also focus on other aspects of learning such as attitude, interest and aptitude can help schools to improve overall academic performance and student outcomes.
One leading provider of assessment and monitoring systems is the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM) – a partnership between Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press. Cambridge CEM uses baseline and diagnostic assessments to accurately measure a child’s potential and progress in order to understand and respond to their individual needs. The data informs teachers about areas where students need intervention, giving them a deeper understanding of the learning environment.
Some teachers can find it difficult to grade and interpret test scores, which directly affects how students and parents interpret results. However, Cambridge CEM provides teachers with comprehensive reporting to support their conversations with parents. Parents receive clear and easy-to-understand details of their child’s performance compared with expectations. Once the unique needs of a student are identified, parents are also informed about decisive steps that need to be taken to help their child perform at a higher level.
Cambridge CEM tests also help to predict grades in qualifications such as Cambridge International AS & A Level, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge O Level. The tests are currently used across Cambridge International Schools in the Middle East, South East Asia and China, and in a number of UK curriculum schools in Nigeria including Day Waterman College – a secondary boarding school located near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Kevin Moran, Curriculum Lead and Data Manager at Day Waterman College explained how data derived from Cambridge CEM tests has helped enrich teaching and learning while improving the performance of students in the school.:
“With Cambridge CEM tests like MidYiS and Yellis, students who are underperforming, especially in the mid-range results, are identified early and steps are subsequently taken to motivate them in order to enhance performance in areas where improvement is needed”
Data gathered from each child’s tests can also facilitate professional development among teachers, he said:“Typically, data derived from the tests is used to inform teaching and learning, with training being held to further teachers’ professional development. We have had Continuing Professional Development sessions to educate the classroom leaders in using the spreadsheet to analyse data gathered from the Cambridge CEM tests.”
Speaking on the impact of Cambridge CEM tests on the performance of students, Juan Visser, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Cambridge Assessment International Education added: “ Cambridge CEM tests have been able to reveal the cognitive standing of students, and can also expose gaps in the knowledge of students, and thereby showing educators where the emphasis should be laid in teaching. Whilst they are part of the Cambridge family of qualifications, they are applicable to all curriculums and therefore may be applied to any school level studies. Cambridge CEM tests are a truly invaluable resource for schools.”
The use of an assessment provider like Cambridge CEM can therefore support Nigerian schools in maintaining high-quality teaching and learning standards by helping to identify specific issues that students face, prompting the process of understanding and tackling those issues.
Integrating the assessments into the curriculum creates an education system that prioritises the unique potential of each child, improving overall academic performance.