The experiences of students and staff of assessment practices at one agricultural institute in the Western Cape Province

Abrahams, Hilton John (2018-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Assessment plays a key role in determining the quality of student learning and is the tool used at many academic institutions to help gauge student performance and determine student success. In view of the myriad of factors that may influence the learning environment and particularly student performance and success, a need was identified to investigate the potential influence of assessment practices on student performance at an agricultural institute. In higher education students move from secondary education practices into a tertiary academic sector that may not adhere to the same assessment criteria. This sudden change in assessment environment could have an effect on student learning and student performance. Several authors have highlighted the fact that assessment drives learning while several have indicated assessment practices plays a role in student performance. Very few studies have been conducted on the assessment practices at agricultural education institution in South Africa. Such knowledge may provide valuable information to first-year students, lecturers and policy makers of foundation programmes at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute and similar agricultural training institutes. In this study the research problem originated from staff observations and concerns at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute (EATI) which included the quality of students that enter the institute, coupled with seemingly low throughput rates as well as first year success rates as well as the confusion around the existence and use of a teaching; learning and assessment policy. Thus, the aim was to investigate the experience of assessment practices at one agricultural institute potentially influence first year students’ and staff’s perceptions regarding academic performance. Two data sources were used, the experiences of the BAgric and Higher Certificate first-year students and the opinions of the lecturers involved in the teaching of first-year students. These data sources contributed to determining the perceptions of the tested parties on whether assessment practices had an impact on student performance. In conducting the study, a pragmatic stance on knowledge was taken and questionnaires for students and for teaching staff were used with qualitative and quantitative data sections. The findings of this inquiry indicate that there exists a perception amongst both staff and students that assessment practices (and several other contributing factors) could potentially impact on students’ academic performance at the EATI. Implications flowing from this study for the Elsenburg Agricultural training Institute as well as possibilities for future research are pointed out.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Assessering speel 'n sleutelrol in die bepaling van die gehalte van studenteleer en is die instrument wat by baie akademiese instellings gebruik word om studente se prestasie te meet en om studentesukses te bepaal. In lig van die magdom faktore wat die leeromgewing en veral die student se prestasie en sukses beïnvloed, is daar 'n behoefte geïdentifiseer om die potensiële invloed van assesseringspraktyke op studenteprestasie by 'n landbou-instituut te ondersoek. In hoër onderwys beweeg studente van sekondêre onderwyspraktyke na 'n tersiêre akademiese sektor wat nie aan dieselfde assesseringskriteria voldoen nie. Hierdie skielike verandering in assesseringsomgewing kan 'n uitwerking op studenteleer en studenteprestasie hê. Verskeie outeurs het die feit beklemtoon dat assessering leer dryf, terwyl verskeie aangedui het dat assesseringspraktyke, 'n rol speel in studenteprestasie. Daar is baie min studies gedoen oor die assesseringspraktyke by landbouonderwysinstellings in Suid-Afrika. Sulke kennis kan waardevolle inligting aan eerstejaarstudente, dosente en beleidmakers van grondslagprogramme by Elsenburg Landbou-opleidingsinstituut en soortgelyke landbouopleidingsinstellings verskaf. In hierdie studie het die navorsingsprobleem ontstaan uit personeelwaarnemings en bekommernisse by die Elsenburg Landbou-opleidingsinstituut (EATI) wat die gehalte van studente wat by die instituut ingeskryf het, tesame met skynbaar lae deursetkoerse sowel as eerstejaarsuksesyfers asook die verwarring rondom die bestaan en gebruik van 'n onderrig; leer- en assesseringsbeleid. Die doel was dus om te ondersoek hoe die ervaring van assesseringspraktyke by een landbouinstituut moontlik die eerstejaarstudente en personeel se persepsies rakende akademiese prestasie beïnvloed? Twee databronne is gebruik, die menings van die eerstejaarstudente BAgric en Hoër Sertifikaat en die menings van dosente betrokke by die onderrig van die eerstejaarstudente. Hierdie databronne het bygedra tot die bepaling van die persepsies van die getoetsde partye oor die vraag of assesseringspraktyke 'n impak op die prestasie van studente gehad het. By die uitvoering van die studie is 'n pragmatiese houding geneem en vraelyste vir studente en vraelyste vir onderrigpersoneel met kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe afdelings gebruik. Die bevindings van hierdie studie dui aan dat daar 'n persepsie onder personeel en studente bestaan dat assesseringspraktyke (en verskeie ander bydraende faktore) potensiële impak op studente se akademiese prestasie by die EATI kan hê. Implikasies wat voortspruit uit hierdie studie vir die Elsenburg Landbouopleidingsinstituut sowel as moontlikhede vir toekomstige navorsing word uitgewys.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103584
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