Ghana Basic Education Comprehensive Assessment System (BECAS)
The Ghana BECAS project focused on the development of a new comprehensive National Education Assessment (NEA) and School Education Assessment (SEA). The Ghana BECAS project was a three-year project funded by USAID whose objectives were to:
- Design and implement a comprehensive educational assessment system to ensure that various measures of learning and achievement used at different levels and times in the basic education system are systematized. The new system allows assessment information to be clear, non-contradictory, easily interpreted, and used for diagnosis at the level intended-national, district, and school.
- Establish realistic expectations in the setting of examination standards, both in terms of content and difficulty, while at the same time reflecting the essential understandings that underlie the designated curriculum specified by the Ghana Education Service (GES).
- Provide information in an accurate and timely fashion that is less subject to local adjustments and interpretations, using modern scanning equipment and secure environments for test scoring at the National and Regional offices.
- Encourage the use of examination results for program and school improvement through the GES and consultative processes.
- Build capacity in the GES to manage the new comprehensive educational assessment system through training, counterpart development, and creation of a functioning Assessment Unit.
Ghana BECAS focused on supporting the development of tests that relate to grades one through six in the basic education system. The emphasis throughout test development was on the educational relevance and appropriateness of the tests. Every effort was made to develop a comprehensive framework for the various tests, based upon the essential understanding that underlies the curriculum.
Three assessment components made up the BECAS project:
- The National Education Assessment (NEA).
This test is a curriculum-based, competency assessment program that reflects the entire curriculum and samples the performances of schools across the educational regions of Ghana. It provides national indicators for grade three and grade six on educational achievement in English, mathematics, and two Ghanaian languages for a subset of regions. The NEA final report details the 2006 test results.
- The School Education Assessment (SEA).
This test is a minimum-competency-based test that reflects the essential elements of the curriculum considered basic to the grade level performance expected for student continuation. SEA is given at grades two, four, and six and is now adminstered every two years.
- Continuous Assessment (CA).
Part of the plan to ensure comprehensiveness for BECAS is to supplement these larger testing programs with CA procedures and measures developed for grades one and three. The purpose of this systematic assessment is to indicate foundational problems in the classroom, where adjustments by the teacher can be accommodated during the process of instruction.
In order to best understand the needs primary school students, teachers, and managers, the BECAS project undertook an extensive study titled at the beginning of 2004. The results of this study are captured in the Opportunities to Learn report, which has informed the process and content of the NEA, SEA, and CA tools designed by the BECAS project.
Within the assessment categories of NEA, SEA, and CA, this project has produced 17 sets of tests or assessment instruments. These exams were modified in both 2005 and 2006, and the GES has been trained to modify the exams in future years. In addition to the core skills in mathematics and reading, these tests measure school readiness for entering students.
Academy for Educational Development (AED)
January 2004 - October 2006
John K. Adu, firstname.lastname@example.org
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NEA Final Report
Opportunities to Learn