Measurement of Essential Skills in Mathematics: A Comparative Analysis of SSC (Grade-X) and GCE (O-Level) Exam Papers
Keywords:assessment items, cognitive demands, essential skills, intellectual development
The major focus of school education is the intellectual development of students and mathematics is a very effective subject in this regard, if taught and assessed properly. For this study, papers of SSC (Grade-10) for the years 2014 and 2015 set by the Board of Secondary Education, Karachi were scrutinized to know if the items of these papers had measured essential mathematical skills or not. These items were then compared with the items set by General Certificate of Education (GCE: O-Level), University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) for mathematics papers, serving as a benchmark for this study to highlight the shortcomings. The results revealed that the items of SSC papers were highly biased towards ‘Factual Knowledge’ and ‘Routine Procedures’. The study concluded that these items assess knowledge of facts and algorithms only and do not measure essential mathematical skills (involvement of higher levels of thinking processes) of students. The study recommends to improve the items of papers so that essential mathematical skills can be measured rather than the capacity of memorization because with this practice, thinking habits cannot be inculcated among students.
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