The assessment of students at the university level is variable from country to country and also among the universities within a country. Assessment is necessary to know whether the students understand and digest the subjects taught. Students need to be professional in learning and to acquire skills to shape the destiny of the nations of the world. Several factors play a role in achieving the goal of human resource development. The method followed by the universities, its implementation, the quality of the teachers, the seriousness among the students to acquire knowledge, sincerity of the academic and administrative staff, etc are some of the prerequisites to achieve the objective or the goal of any educational institutes.
Case Study: Ethiopian Universiities
Ethiopia has been employing teaching staff from several countries such as India, to develop its higher education quality further. Most of the universities in Ethiopia offer only the graduation level courses. Hence some students pursue their masters degrees from foreign universities too.
Semester system is being followed in Ethiopia. The students are assessed based on a system known as "Continuous assessment system" (CAS). During each semester, all the regular students are assessed for 100 marks. 40 marks are for the semester end examination and the remaining 60 marks are for: 5 marks- attendance, 10 marks- individual assignment, 10 marks- group assignment, 15 marks- chapter quiz, and 20 marks are for mid-term examination.
The instructors or teachers are given freedom to assess their students the way they wish to assess. The teachers can modify the syllabus of the subjects taught, they can also adjust the marks awarded in the continuous assessment system. For instance, the instructors can reduce, increase or even completely modify the marks awarded to several parts of CAS. All the teachers must submit their continuous assessment report within the specified time period. The students will be given grades like A, B, C, D, and F. Here, F indicates a failure grade and A being the distinction grade. The final year students CAS report does not need to follow the university's prescribed grade limits, but for the first and second year all the instructors must follow the rules formulated by the universities in awarding grades to the students. The CAS reports will be signed by the respective subjects teachers, course coordinators, deans of respective colleges, and finally by the university registrar. Each teacher should make four copies of each CAS report. The original copy will be retained by the registrar, one copy each to the dean, coordinator, and the instructor.
Modification in CAS (Continuous Assessment System) is Required
Most of the Ethiopian as well as the foreign teachers are not satisfied with the present method of assessing the students at the university level. For instance, Some teachers award 5/5 for attendance blindly, as such teachers do not take the attendance regularly and seriously. Similarly, though most of the teachers give thoughtful topics to write the assignments, it was found that most of the students copy from the text books and demand maximum marks from their teachers. It was also observed that most of the questions in the final and even in the mid-term examination are of multiple choice questions or objective type questions. Some teachers complained that the students quality deserves only such simple question papers.
The above draw backs would seriously affect the quality of the human resources in Ethiopia. The quality of a nation could be modified by the quality of its people. Hence the assessment system needs to be modified keeping in view the deficiencies in the present system and also the changes taking place in several universities around the world.