You are on page 1of 11

IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education (IOSR-JRME

)
e-ISSN: 2320–7388,p-ISSN: 2320–737X Volume 5, Issue 6 Ver. I (Nov. - Dec. 2015), PP 41-51
www.iosrjournals.org

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order
Learning in Science Subjects in Bangladesh
Md. Solaiman Jony
Teaching and Learning Centre, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Abstract: The study is an attempt to find out the influence of assessment process on students higher order
learning in science subjects in Bangladesh. The main objectives of the study are: (i) to identify the nature of the
question items of science subjects, (ii) to examine what kind of learning is influenced by the question items, and
(iii) to identify the role of science exams on students higher order learning. Findings of the study showed that,
majority of the science question items are mostly knowledge based. The nature of the items mainly demanded
the memorizing ability of the learners and it can be said that simple learning or straightforward learning skills
like memorizing is influenced heavily by the question items. It is also found unlikely but truly that; the question
items do not play any significant role on students higher order learning. The foregoing discussions suggest that
the nature of the assessment process used at the examinations make a bad or negative impact on students
learning. Therefore, the nature of the question items of the science examination should be changed for
influencing the students higher order learning and it should cover all the sub-domain of the cognitive domain of
learning. The items should be designed in such a way that it encourages the students for self-thinking.
Keywords: Assessment, Assessment and learning, higher order learning, Influence of assessment on learning,
Relation of Assessment and Learning.

I.

Introduction

The main objective of an educational system is to judge the learning of the students that is related
directly to the teaching-learning process, curriculum development and other related areas. The curriculum
includes assessment techniques so that students learning progressions can be measured. There is a strong
relation between assessment and students learning. Assessment helps to reshape and direct contents, process and
quality of learning. It works as a driven force for education. Assessment indicates students‟ competence for
further education. The assessment and students learning has a strong connection which is established by various
research works. Assessment process determines what the students are going to learn. In Bangladesh the relation
of assessment and students learning has not been given the most priority. Students of our country are still
nervous about the traditional assessment system. Moreover, teachers and parents of the students want their child
to get good marks in the examinations as it appears as a symbol of brilliance of the students. As a result students
are more focused to get good score in the examination rather than learning the content appropriately. It involves
the students in such kind of learning process which will take less time to prepare for the exam and give them
security of getting good marks.
Researcher shown that students who want to make sure about getting good marks in the exams are
often engaged in memorizing the content of the text or note supplied by some sources like teacher, coaching
center and guide book. In fact, the nature of the assessment system helps the students to do this kind of poor
quality learning that is just memorizing the content. However, it is understood very easily that how the students
learning is influenced by the assessment. Therefore, it should be the first work to reassess the assessment system
for improving students learning and include some issues related with assessment and learning such as; in what
kind of learning the students are involved by the current assessment system, what kind of learning is encouraged
by the assessment, what type of assessment techniques should be introduced to promote higher order learning.
1.1 Learning
In simple, by the word learning we understand the process in which students are involved for fulfilling
the need of knowledge and skills. However, according to Bloom learning does not mean simply knowing
something. Learning involves acquiring knowledge and skills as well as the ability to apply the knowledge
properly. In the fields of neuropsychology, personal development and education; learning is one of the most
important mental function of humans, animals and artificial cognitive systems. It relies on the acquisition of
different types of knowledge supported by perceived information. It leads to the development of new capacities,
skills, values, understanding, and preferences. Its goal is the increasing of individual and group experience.
Learning functions can be performed by different brain learning processes, which depend on the mental
capacities, the type of knowledge which has to be acquitted, as well as on socio-cognitive and environmental
circumstances. Learning ranges from simple forms of learning such as habituation and classical conditioning
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

41 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
seen in many animal species, to more complex activities such as play, seen only in relatively intelligent animals
and humans. Therefore, in general, learning can be conscious and not conscious.
1.2 Higher order learning
Benjamin Bloom led a group of educational psychologists in classifying levels of intellectual behavior
within learning environments. Known as Bloom‟s Taxonomy, this hierarchy identifies six levels within the
cognitive domain. The lowest level is simple recall or recognition of facts. The categories represent increasing
complexity and abstraction, with the highest level being evaluation.
Begum, et al (2007) refers that, higher order learning engages students in the process of transformation
of the information and ideas into synthesizing, explaining, generalizing or making decision. Learning which
need critical and creative thinking called higher order learning skills.
1.3 Assessment
In general, judging the learning outcomes of the students is known as assessment. Assessment is the
process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. According to R. J.
Dietel (cited in Ahmed, 2002; p.5) assessment may be defined as “any method used to better understand the
current knowledge that a student possesses.” Assessment may affect decisions about grades, advancement,
placement, instructional needs and curriculum.
There are different techniques of assessment through which the learning of the students can be
measured. In Bangladesh, examination is the most using technique and taken in the form of written, practical
and viva. There are two main public examinations in Bangladesh through, which the learning of the students are
measured after a certain period. These two exams are (i) the secondary school certificate examination (SSC) and
(ii) the higher secondary certificate examination (HSC). For assessing students learning achievement, these
exams play a significant role.
1.4 Connection between assessment and learning
Assessment is a much more comprehensive and inclusive term than measurement or testing. The term
measurement is limited to quantitative descriptions of students; that is the results of measurement are always
expressed in numbers. It does not include qualitative description. Assessment on the other hand may include
both quantitative and qualitative descriptions of students. In addition, assessment always includes value
judgments concerning the desirability of the results (Linn & Gronlund, 2005; p.49).
Researcher engaged in studies of students learning have observed that assessment influence students
learning most rather than the teaching. Students engaged in learning is largely motivated by the assessment
system they are involved (Begum, et al, 2007). Different research shows that, there is a strong connection of
learning and assessment. According to Gipps, subject matters presented in teaching is determined by assessment
system. That is why students learning are also heavily dependent on assessment system and it plays an important
role in students learning. (Begum, et al, 2007)
Holt and Willard-Holt (2000) emphasize the concept of dynamic assessment, which is a way of
assessing the true potential of learners that differs significantly from conventional tests. Here the essentially
interactive nature of learning is extended to the process of assessment. Rather than viewing assessment as a
process carried out by one person, such as an instructor, it is seen as a two-way process involving interaction
between both instructor and learner. The role of the assessor becomes one of entering into dialogue with the
persons being assessed to find out their current level of performance on any task and sharing with them possible
ways in which that performance might be improved on a subsequent occasion. Thus, assessment and learning
are seen as inextricably linked and not separate processes.
According to this viewpoint, instructors should see assessment as a continuous and interactive process
that measures the achievement of the learner and the quality of the learning experience. The feedback created by
the assessment process serves as a direct foundation for further development. The assessing process influences
the students strongly to which kind of learning should be given priority. Therefore, if the nature of the assessing
process is explored it can be detected very easily that which kind of learning is influenced.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to find out the influences of assessment process on students higher
order learning in science subjects.
The following are the key questions of the study:
i. What is the nature of science question items?
ii. What kind of learning is influenced by the question items?
iii. How much effective the exams are in achieving the defined learning outcomes?
iv. What kind of role is played by the science exams on students higher order learning?
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

42 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
II.

Methodology

The methodology of the study is described through: (a) study nature, (b) study areas, (c) the sampling
design, (d) respondents, (e) tools of data collection and (f) data analysis. These are spelled out in the following
sections.
2.1 Study nature
The study is descriptive in nature based on both qualitative and quantitative approach of research. Data
and evidence have been gathered from a range of sources using a combination of different data generating
instruments and strategies. Both primary and secondary sources have been chosen for collecting necessary data.
2.2 Study area
The study has been confined to the capital only. It has included the secondary schools and colleges.
The respondents of the study were: (i) students of grade XI-XII, (ii) students of grade X, (iii) teachers, (iv)
education experts.
2.3 The sampling design
In order to select the sample of schools and colleges, a list of schools and colleges were collected.
Within the schools and colleges, teachers and students have been selected following simple random sampling.
Education specialists have been selected following purposive sampling. Samples of 5 secondary schools and 5
colleges have been chosen purposefully from capital city. The numbers of schools and colleges have been
chosen based on the result criterion and availability of time and financial support.
2.4 Respondents
2.4.1. Teachers: Teachers view about curriculums reflection on SSC question items, nature of the SSC
question items, what kind of learning is achieved by the students, how much learning outcome is achieved, how
much effective the content of the exam is, the role of the content in students higher order learning and so many
related things are very much necessary. Therefore, teachers are important source of information for the study.
Total number of 15 teachers, 3 from each school has been selected randomly for collecting information.
2.4.2. Students: From each school 10 students of grade X have been selected by following simple
random sampling to collect their views about the examination system and its effectiveness on their learning.
Similarly, from the selected colleges a total number of 50 students of grade XI-XII have been chosen. The
college students have been chosen because they have already taken part in the exam and they can give a clear
view of the effect of the examination and assessment system they faced and the influence of the exam on their
further learning. The students have represented both boys and girls. In total, a sample of 100 students has been
selected.
2.4.3. Education experts: Education experts view about curriculums reflection on SSC question items,
nature of the SSC question items, what kind of learning is achieved by the students, how much learning outcome
is achieved, how much effective the content of exam is, the role of the content in students higher order learning
are very important and relevant for this particular study. Therefore, they are important source of information for
the study. A total number of 4 education experts have been selected purposively for collecting necessary
information.
2.5 Data collection techniques
In order to maintain the validity of data, triangulation techniques have been employed for collecting
evidence and information. For the study, two types of data generating instruments have been used. The purpose
and development procedures of the tools are described below:
2.5.1 Interview schedule: A semi structured interview schedule (with open and close ended questions)
for class teachers and education experts has been developed to know their perception and view about the nature
and content validity of science exams and the effect of the exams on students higher order learning. A draft
interview schedule has been administered on a small group of respondents. After reviewing the trialed
questionnaire, the final version has been prepared for administering on the selected samples.
2.5.2 Questionnaire: A semi structured questionnaire (with open and close ended questions) has been
developed for the students. The purpose is to gain insights and feelings of the respondents about the exams and
their learning. The daft questionnaire has been tried out on a group of respondents before collecting data.
2.6 Data Analysis
Data from questionnaire and interview schedule have been presented in both quantitative and narrative
form. The quantitative data have been shown in terms of percentages of total response. In analyzing the
qualitative data and evidence obtained from interview and questionnaire a descriptive approach has been used.
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

43 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
Different themes emerged from the data related to students learning, higher order learning, the nature of items
used in the SSC science examination and their role on students learning have been identified and data have been
analyzed under each theme.

III.

Finding of the Study

By and large it is found that the science exams are mostly dominated by knowledge based and lower
order learning based questions. It refers that; students can answer the maximum number of question by
memorizing which does not fulfill the objectives of learning. Even for subjects like science; students memorize
different formulas, concepts and skills where they ought to understand the concepts of complex things and
realize the relationship of the facts and draw conclusion from experiment and like so many. In learning science,
students need higher order or complex cognitive abilities. As the assessment process of science demand
straightforward learning from the students so the students are not encourage to develop their higher order
learning skills.
For higher order learning students have to understand the matter and apply it properly where needed.
The items must have the ability to judge students higher order cognitive ability like: understanding, application,
analysis, synthesis and evaluation along with psychomotor ability. There are few items in the test materials
which encourage the students to get them involved in synthesizing and evaluating or creating activities. Some
test items have appeared as fully or partially related to the learning skills like understanding and analyzing. But
the fact is that, the prescribed textbook or guide book for these subjects already contains the answers. As a
result, the students can memorize the answers from the text before the exams.
A total number of 96; SSC candidates (50) and SSC passed (46) students were answering the
questionnaire. The required evidence and information about learning, higher order learning, the nature of the
SSC science questions, the kind of learning influenced by the questions, the effect of SSC science questions in
higher order learning and so on were collected through the questionnaire. The following section shows students
view on different issues.
3.1 Students conception about learning
Majority of the students (57.29%) (N55) concept about learning is that learning means application of
the knowledge they have learned. Some of them (16.66%) (N16) said learning is, understanding the text and
some (15.62%) (N15) think understanding their teacher is learning. To a few number of them (12.50%) (N12),
learning is change in their behavior and few (7.29%) (N7) thinks memorization means learning. But the students
who think memorization is learning answer the other options also.
3.2 Students conception about higher order learning
Half numbers (50%) (N48) of students think that application ability of the achieved knowledge and
skill to solve a problem is higher order learning and almost half (46.87%) (N45) answer that higher order
learning means analyzes new problems with the help of previous knowledge. Some students (23.95%) (N23)
said higher order learning means understanding a topic by reading and then write in own word. [Fig: 1]

Number of Students

Students conception about higher order learning

50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Memorization understand by say and write application of analyze a new
reading and answer of a
achieved
problem with
write in own question in the knowledge
the help of
words
language of and skill to
previous
the text
solve a
achieved
problem
knowledge

Fig-1: Students conception about higher order learning
3.3 Students conception about when their higher order learning happens
Majority of the students (60.41%) (N58) answer that if they are able to solve a problem with the help of
previous knowledge then their higher order learning happens, some (44.79%) (N43) thinks if they are able to
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

44 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
analyze problems then their higher order learning is complete. A very few of them (19.79%) (N19) thinks their
higher order learning happens if they are able to answer in own words by reading the text.
3.4 Purpose of passing the examination
According to the students, a huge number of the students (92.70%) (N89) purpose of passing the
examination is to get admission in a good institution in future. A large number (81.25%) (N78) of them replied
their purpose is to get good grades. A good number of students (36.45%) (N35) wants to pass the exams for
their self-satisfaction. Some students also wanted to satisfy their parents (23.95%) (N23) and teachers (13.54%)
(N13).
3.5 Reasons behind the learning according to the students
From the answer of the students it has been found that students have some common reason behind their
learning. The students answered through the questionnaire informed that the reasons behind their learning are:
(i) getting good grade or marks in the examination, (ii) students want to admit in a good institution and to admit
themselves they need to show the institute good results, (iii) students want to do some good jobs in the future
and for good jobs they need good results, (iv) students want to earn social honor for their parents and also for
themselves. To ensure the social prestige of their parents and themselves they want good result in the
examination and that enforce them to the learning.
Without these common reasons the students also mentioned some reasons behind their learning which
are (i) students do have competition with their classmates and they want to overcome one another in the
examination. That act as a strong force for them for learning. (ii) Some students want to increase their
knowledge so that they can cope with the modern world and the society. This also encourages the students
learning.
3.6 Types of learning encourage by the science content according to the students
Most (51.04%) (N49) of the student answered that science content encourages them to memorization.
Some of them (29.16%) (N28) said understanding ability of learning is encouraged and some (26.04%) (N25)
think application ability is encouraged. A very few students (17.70%) (N17) answered that the science content
encourages their analytical ability.
3.7 How the students learn the science content
Most of the students replied that they learn the science content by memorizing from the text (47.91%)
(N46), from the teachers note (39.58%) (N38), from the guide book (25%) (N24) and from the note supplied by
the coaching center (32.29%) (N31). Some students also learn the science by acquiring the skills to solve
problem (27.08%) (N26) and to analyze and explain a matter (21.87%) (N21). Few of them (28.12%) (N27)
answered they learn the science by understanding the theme from the content of the text.
3.8 Types of learning influenced by the question paper
Above half number (61.45%) (N59) of the student thinks the question paper influences them for total
memorization or recalling. A good number of them (36.45%) (N35) said understanding and application ability is
influencing and a number of them (21.87%) (N21) replied solving new problem on the basis of the achieved
knowledge is influencing. [Fig: 2]

Number of students

Types of learning influenced by question paper according
to the students

60
50
40
30
20
10
0
totally
memorization

understand and solving problems
apply
on the basis of
achieved
knowledge

Fig-2: Types of learning influenced by the question paper

DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

45 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
3.9 How students take preparation for the science examination
Most of the students (75%) (N72) take preparation for the science examination by memorizing from the
text, some (35.41%) (N34) memorize teachers note and some students (14.58%) (N14) takes preparation from
the text. A few of them (17.70%) (N17) takes preparation by using the existing knowledge to analyze and solve
new problem.
3.10 Students opinion about how they get more marks in the science exams
Most of the students think that if they answer the science questions according to the text they get good
marks in the examination. In the examination the students have to answer a lot of question which are taken from
the text and to ensure good marks the students have to answer the entire question in limited time. In the time of
assessment the teachers also feel bored to check the whole answer script through reading. Then the teacher tries
to find that whether the student follow answer of the text book or not, and gives marks to them. So the students
who want to secure good marks anyhow try to follow the answer given in the text. Some students also think
oppositely that if they follow something different from the text it helps them to get good marks in the science
exams. The students think that if they answer differently from the answer given in the text it will impress their
teacher and then they will get more marks than the others.
3.11 Role of the science question items on students learning
The students have some common feelings and thoughts about the role of the science question items on
their learning. The students expressed their feelings in two steps about the science question items: (i) the current
role of the science question items on students learning that means what kind of learning is encourage by the
question items and (ii) the role of the science question items on students‟ further learning or higher order
learning.
Most of the students answered that the current role of the question items on their learning is that, the
question items are making them more courageous for memorizing the answer from the text and deliver it in the
time of the examination. The students mentioned that the items of the science examination are repeated in every
year and most of the items are taken directly from the text or exercise given in the text. So it is easier for them to
find out the answers of these questions easily from the text and then memorize the answers. The students also
said that they want to get good marks in the exams in easiest way which is one of the main reasons of their
learning. In the science exams the students get the chance to predict the question and as a result they memorize
the answer of those questions which gives them security of the marks but not developing any kind of learning
skills.
Some students answered that the role of the science exams question items are very much helpful for
their learning and it is making their learning meaningful. These students give some reasons for this which is: the
question items are including the understanding and application ability along with knowledge based and
analytical ability. According to those students it helps them to shape their complete learning which will help
them in future. But the numbers of these students are very low compare to the total student number.
The students who thinks that the items of the science question is influencing them towards
memorization also thinks that the items are not helpful for students higher order learning as the items does not
include any higher order learning skills. The answers of these items can be given easily by memorizing. For
higher order learning skills students need to understand a context, analyze the content and apply proper solution
to any problem. But to answer the question items students need not to achieve either of these skills except
memorizing. The question items do include some items demanding some understanding, application and
analytical ability from the students but the students need not to apply the higher order skills as they can find the
answer in the text and memorize the answer.
The analysis of the teachers thought about students learning, higher order learning, nature of the
science questions used at SSC and the effect of these questions on students learning are presented below.
3.12 Teachers conception about students learning
Majority of the teachers (60%) (N9) conception about student learning is the application ability of the
students what they have learned. Other teachers (40%) (N6) think students learning are the ability of analyzing
the content. A good number of teachers (46.66%) (N7) belief that students learning means change in their
behavior due to some reason. Some (26.66%) (N4) teachers also thinks that students learning also include the
understanding ability and explain the topic in own words and some teacher (20%) (N3) thinks students learning
is the memorization ability.
3.13 Teachers concept about students higher order learning
Almost all of the teachers (86.66%) (N13) think that application ability of the students based on their
knowledge can be considered as higher order learning. Some of them (40%) (N6) said higher order learning
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

46 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
understands a matter and then explain it. None of the teacher said that student‟s higher order learning means just
knowing the content.
3.14 Teachers opinion about how the students learn
Most of the teacher (60%) (N9) replied that students learn something by memorization and a good
number of them (53.33%) (N8) think students can learn by discussing any matter with their class mates. Some
teachers think students learn by reading the text (20%) (N3) and by thinking themselves (20%) (N3). A few of
the teacher (13.33%) (N2) thinks students learn by getting help from the coaching center and house tutor.
3.15 Teachers opinion about the process which makes students learning effective
Majority of the teacher (73.33%) (N11) thinks that if the students are able to solve a problem with the
help of achieved knowledge and skills it makes their learning effective. Some (40%) (N6) teachers think that,
students learning are effective when they are able to explain anything with logic and few (26.66%) (N4) thinks
if the students are able to understand something and then able to answer in own words. Only 2 of the teacher
(13.33%) thinks if the students can remember the content it will make effective learning, but they also
mentioned the ability of solving a problem with the help of knowledge and skills.
3.16 The reasons working as a factor for students learning
According to the teachers there are some common reasons working as a factor for students learning.
The reasons which encourage the students for their learning are: (i) making secure for getting good marks in the
examination, (ii) the need and expectations of their parents and teachers which work as a force on them to make
them bound for their learning, (iii) students want to get themselves admitted in a supreme educational institution
in the future and for admission in a good institution they need good marks or grade which is another common
reason behind their learning, and (iv) students want to get rid from the social pressure created for them if they
are not been able to succeed in the exams. So they want to pass the exam in the easiest way and want to secure
their position in the society. Students also want to get a good job after completion of their study. They think
without good marks or good result it would not be possible for them to get a good job. That also works as a
factor for their learning mentioned by the interviewed teachers.
3.17 Teachers thought about assessing a student
Majority of the teacher (80%) (N12) thinks that the purpose of assessing a student is to promote into
the next class or stage and to judge a student‟s achievement. A good number of them (73.33%) (N11) think that
the purpose is to identify the number of pass or fail, some teachers (53.33%) (N8) answers that they want to
compare the students with each other and some (46.66%) (N7) thinks that the purpose of assessing students is to
help their learning. A few (26.66%) (N4) mentioned about giving feedback to the students.
3.18 How do the assessment techniques influence students learning?
The teachers that had been interviewed think that assessment has a great influence on students learning.
They think assessment is the most important part of teaching learning activities. According to the teachers the
assessment techniques and assessment process gives a guideline to the students to shape their learning. The
students can know their learning status through the assessment and then they can take decisions on how to
improve their learning and do better. By the assessment students are informed about their present condition of
learning and on which point they need to improve and give preference. If the assessment process include the
techniques to judge the students various learning skills like thinking ability, application ability, analytical ability
and others higher order learning ability then the students are interested to achieved these skills and that helps
them to format their learning.
Again if the assessment technique only includes some routine ability likes memorization ability or
recalling ability then the students will be interested to achieve only that kind of learning skill. Because the main
target of a student is to get good marks in the examination and for ensuring the good marks students want to
make preparation according to the assessment style and techniques used in the examination. So ultimately
students are influenced by the assessment to select the type of learning.
3.19 How the students take preparation for the examinations
According to the teachers 86.66% (N13) of them think students take preparation for the examination by
memorizing the text. A number of them (73.33%) (N11) think students memorize the guide or note for taking
preparation for the exam. Very few of the teachers (20%) (N3) think students understand the content and few
(13.33%) (N2) thinks students take preparation by acquiring knowledge and skills.

DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

47 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
3.20 Teachers concept about how the students learn the science content
Almost all the teacher (93.33%) (N14) answered that students learn the science content by
memorization. Some also thinks students learn the science content by understanding (20%) (N3), by acquiring
the knowledge and skills to solve new problem (13.33%) (N2) and by acquiring analyzing skills (13.33%) (N2).
3.21 Type of question influential for students higher order learning
Most of the teacher (66.67%) (N10) commented that if students can answer the question by applying
their knowledge and skill it can be influential for their higher order learning. Some teacher (33.33%) (N5) think,
the question which makes students thinking is the one that influences higher order learning. Some (20%) (N3)
said answer of those questions which can be written from students‟ practical life is influential for higher order
learning. [Fig: 3]

Number of Teacher

Questions influential for students higher order learning according to the
teachers

10
8
6
4
2
0
makes student makes student answer can be
memorize from
thinking
written from
text or note
practical life

students‟ can
answer by
applying their
knowledge and
skill

Fig-3: Types of questions influential for students higher order learning
3.22 Types of learning encourage to the students by the science question paper:
A very large number of the teachers (80%) (N12) think the students are encouraged for memorizing the
text by the science question papers. Some teachers (66.67%) (N10) feel students are encouraged to memorize
the guide and note. Few of the teachers (20%) (N3) said the question paper encourage the students to understand
and write the answer in their own word. [Fig: 4]

Number of Teacher

Types of learning encourage by the question paper according to the
teachers

12
10
8
6
4
2
0
encourage to
encourage to
encourage to
encourage to
memorize the understand and memorize the
apply the
text
write in own guide and take
achieved
word
help from note knowledge for
solving problem

Fig-4: Types of learning encourage to the students by the science question paper
3.23 Teachers view about the science examination and students higher order learning
Teachers thought that for learning science students need to develop their understanding ability,
analytical ability and application ability properly. Because the main objective of the science learning is to
develop the students higher order learning skills or critical thinking ability, and complex learning. Through the
examinations students are being tested whether they achieved these skills or not. So the examination specially
the question items and assessment process plays an important role for the students to achieve higher order
learning skills. In our country the examination of science subjects are totally knowledge based. It only asks the
students to memorize the answers from the text or other sources and deliver it at the time of the examination. It
basically encourages the students for straightforward and temporary learning. Most students of our country want
to do well in the examination without taking proper preparation. So they search for those types of questions
which can be memorized easily as memorization is the easiest way of preparation for the exam. Also there are a
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

48 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
good number of items in the question paper of the examination which demand the same (recalling) from the
students. So if a student wants to get good grades or marks, he or she can just achieved this easiest learning skill
and do well in the exams.
In the question papers lots of items are taken directly either from the exercise of the text or from the
content of the text. As a result of that students have the chance to get familiar with the question items which also
leads their learning to memorization. The items of the question papers also repeated from the previous year
which makes it easy for the students to guess the items and prepare the answers by memorizing. The teachers
also mentioned that the question papers do have some items which demand some higher order learning skills but
those items are very low number compare to the total number of items. And without answering these items
students can still secure good marks in the examinations.
According to the teachers the question papers should include more of the higher order learning skill
related items which will test the students real learning rather than recalling or memorizing. The teachers think
that if the items are new and critical thinking related which demand the understanding, analyzing and
application, evaluating ability; it will help the students higher order learning.
3.24 Experts concept about Students learning
Students learning is not just recalling or memorizing or some particular skills like understanding ability
or analytical ability or presenting ability. Rather it is an integral combination of all the skills. For learning
students need memorizing ability though it is the base of all higher order learning like understanding,
application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Therefore, students learning mean acquiring all the higher order
learning skills including memorizing skills.
3.25 How students learning become effective
The experts think that students learning can be effective if they learn something and then able to
analyze it with logic, if the students are able to understand the topic and explain the topic with their own words
and if the students are able to solve new problem relating their old knowledge and learning experience. The
experts also think that if teachers encourage the students for their learning it could also make the students
learning effective.
3.26 Effect of the assessment on students learning according to the experts
According to the experts the assessment influences the students learning by introducing the learners or
the students to the assessment system. If the assessment system is knowledge based the students are encouraged
for recalling or memorizing. The assessment determines in which way the students learning should advance and
how. By the assessment tools and techniques the students get idea and direction which learning skill is wanted
from them and which one will give them the maximum benefit for the examination that is the marks.
3.27 How the question items should be?
In the opinion of the experts the question paper of the science subject should include all the sub-domain
of cognitive domain of learning that is knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and
evaluation. For science subject the items should be taken from the knowledge (30%), understanding (20%),
application (20%) and the higher order learning skills: analysis, synthesis and evaluation or creation (30%).
[Fig: 5]
Nature of the question for higher order learning according
to the experts
Knowledge
20%

30%

Understanding
20%
30%

Application
Analyze, Synthesis &
Evaluation

Fig-5: Nature of the question items for higher order learning
3.28 What kind of learning is influenced by the current question items?
The experts think that the current science questions using in the examinations do play role only for
students‟ lower level learning or root level learning as it is not covering all the sub-domain of cognitive domain.
As a result of that students are only guided to the direction of straight forwarding learning that is recalling the
DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

49 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
answer because the majority of the items are from the knowledge sub-domain. According to the experts the
current items of the science question paper do not encourage the students higher order learning. The cause is that
the majority of the items are knowledge based and the answers can be memorized earlier. Students can
memorize the answers and answer very easily without achieving the other skills. Even the mathematical items
are taken directly from the text and students memorize the answer. Besides the number of items which supposed
to judge the higher order learning skill of the students are very low.

IV.

Conclusion

Examination is one of the important forms of assessment in students learning process. Students try to
do a good result through the exam. But the main focus of the exam is not having a good or excellent result by
the student. The objective of the process is to measure learning outcome of the students. Measure of learning
outcomes means not only the learning achieved through memorizing but also the learning which is called higher
order learning. According to Blooms domains of learning; analysis, synthesis and evaluation sub domains of
cognitive domain, affective and psychomotor domain are well known as higher order learning. Science subjects
are the most important subjects through which the higher order learning ability of students can be measured. The
objective of science subjects is to judge the understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation ability
of the students along with the knowledge so that it can have effect on students higher order learning.
In general, the items of the examination question paper ask from the students the answer of „what‟
rather than „why‟ or „how‟ (Ahmed, 2002). According to the Criteria the language of some question items
demanded some higher skills like understanding, application and analysis. So it may be assumed that these items
involve the students in critical thinking ability and application and analytical ability. But it has been found that
the students are actually encouraged and involved in memorizing the answers as the answers are given in the
text.
The nature of the question items is such type that it encourages the students to memorize the answer of
some previous selected and constructed items. Though there are some question demands some higher ability
than simple recalling but in reality the students do not get the chance to practice these abilities as they find it
easier to find and memorize the answer. From teachers, students and experts response it has been cleared that
science question items influence the students mainly for memorizing or recalling which represents the lowest
level of cognitive domain. The question papers are developed in such a way that students only practice their
knowledge ability for good result. It is also come out from the study that the science examination does not play
any role for significant higher order learning. The content or item of the exam is knowledge demanded and it
does not make the students to understand, apply and analyze or achieve other higher skills according to Bloom‟s
cognitive higher order learning.
From the study, it has been found that the current assessment process and the nature of the question
items do not influence the students learning to the direction of higher order. The items of the science
examinations are designed in such a way the students do not feel the need to achieve the higher order learning
skills. From the study it has also given a clear idea that the examination system only gives preference for good
marks rather than acquiring the higher order learning skills like analysis, synthesis and evaluation. By the
current assessment system students are more influenced to get good marks in the examination, which in fact
might not has any role on their learning except the lower order learning like memorizing. The test items need to
be like that in which the learners are not engaged in finding the answers from some source and memorized it.
The items should be designed in such a way that it encourages the students for self-thinking.
The study is an effort to make people understand the relationship between the examination and students
learning. Attempts have been taken to examine the assessing process of the science exams that are being used in
the examination. The study has also investigated the concept of teachers and students about the learning
influenced by the science exams and the role of these particular exams on students higher order learning. The
findings will give the relevant educators, teachers, parents, students and concerned authority a clear idea and
knowledge about what kind of learning is encourage by the exams and does it help the students higher order
learning. It would make them thinking alternatively about the exams nature, which might be helpful for students
higher order learning.
As this is a small-scale study and because time was limited, the researcher has selected only the capital
area to select samples of students and teachers from some selected schools and colleges. Students and teachers
of science group of secondary education have been selected for the study. Therefore, the Result of the study
would be restricted for the specific group rather than to a general group.

References
[1]
[2]

Shah Shamim Ahmed, The Effect of Public Examination on the Process of Students‟ Learning, Master‟s dissertation, Institute of
Education and Research, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2002.
HosneAra Begum, Shah Shamim Ahmed and Jahirul Islam Mullick, Impact of Assessment on the Quality of Students‟ Learning at
Secondary Level of Education in Bangladesh, Peoples‟ Republic of Bangladesh: NAEM, Ministry of Education, 2007.

DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

50 | Page

Influence of Assessment Process on Students Higher Order Learning in Science Subjects…
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
[22]
[23]
[24]

Linn, R. L. and Gronlund, N. E., Measurement and assessment in teaching (8 th ed.) (India: Pearson Education, 2005).
Holt, D.G. and Willard-Holt, C., Let's get real - students solving authentic corporate problems, Phi Delta Kappan, 82(3), 2000, 243.
Best, John W. and J. V. Kahn, Research in Education (New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India Privet Limited, 1996).
Bloom, B.S., Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., and Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds), Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the
classification of educational goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain (New York: Longmans, 1956).
Bloom, B. S., Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain (New York: David McKay Co. Inc.,
1956).
Brown, S and Knight, P., Assessing Learners in Higher Education (London: Kogan Page, 1994).
Brown, S., Gibbs, G. and Rust, C., Diversifying Assessment (Oxford Centre for Staff Development, Oxford, 1994).
Brandt, Ron, Assessing Students‟ Learning: New Rules, New Realities (abstract). Educational Research Service Bulletin, 26 (2),
1998. Retrieved from, http://www.ers.org
Gay, L. R., Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Application (New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1996).
Gipps, Caroline, Beyond testing: Towards a Theory of Educational Assessment (London: The Falmer press, 1994).
Huitt, W., Bloom et al.'s taxonomy of the cognitive domain: Educational Psychology Interactive (Valdosta State University, 2000).
Retrieved June 2007, from http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/bloom.html
Kothari, C.R., Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (New Delhi: Willey Eastern Limited, 1994).
Louis Cohen, Lawrence Manion and Keith Morrison, Research Methods in Education (5 th Edition) (New York: Routedge, 2000).
Ministry of Education, Education Research Methodology (Dhaka: National Academy for Educational Management, 2006).
Max D. Engelhart, Methods of Educational Research (Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1972).
Mcniff, Jean, Action Research: Principles and Procedure (New York: Routedge, 1995).
Pedersen, Susan & Williams, Doug, A Comparison of Assessment Practices and Their Effects on Learning and Motivation in a
Student-Centred Learning Environment, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(3), 2004, 283–307.
Robert L. Linn and Norman E. Gronlund, Measurement and Assessment in Teaching (New Delhi: Pearson Education Pte. Ltd,
Indian Branch, 2005).
Rowntree, Derek, Assessing Students: How Shall We Know Them? (London: Harper and Row, 1987).
Shahjahan Tapan and Abdur Rashid, Measurement and Evaluation in Education (Dhaka: Metro Publications, 2003).
Shahjahan Tapan, Writing Thesis and Assignment: Methods and Techniques (Dhaka: Protiva Prokashoni, 1987).
Zinat Zaman, Methods and Techniques of Educational Research (Dhaka: Shilpotoru, 1987).

DOI: 10.9790/7388-05614151

www.iosrjournals.org

51 | Page