EM III - Assessment systems in Pakistan (2016) [3]

The last few decades have seen a spike in interest in standardized assessments globally. A number of factors – such as the need for comparative data, a focus on teacher accountability, and a desire to implement a uniform education – is driving this interest in assessments as a basis for education reform. Alongside the emergence of these standardized assessments, traditional examinations at the secondary level have continued to exist and remain largely untouched by the reforms movement driving change at the primary and elementary levels in assessment. This report reviews the enabling context of various assessment systems in Pakistan as well as key practices of assessment design, implementation and result dissemination and use. For each aspect the report provides a comparison of existing practices with international standards and best practice.

The report highlights the pressing need to improve the enabling environment by calling for the development of coherent national and provincial assessment policies and investing in higher quality human resources who can design and analyze assessments according to international standards. It underscores the necessity of reform in assessment practices by calling for adherence to internationally accepted standards in the design and implementation of assessment instruments. It also suggests the need for greater emphasis on dissemination and ensuring use of assessment results. It concludes by asserting that assessment systems will have a key role in driving quality in the education system and in positively affecting teaching and learning in the classroom only when governments attend to the task of reforming assessment agencies with the urgency it deserves.

Author(s):
Ayesha A. Awan, Amal Aslam, Irfan Muzaffar, Abdullah A. Khan and Abbas Rashid
Sponsor(s):Open Society Foundations