A recent study on Nigerian primary school children indicates that there is no difference in performance using paper based and computer based assessment delivery methods. The study sought to find out if assessment delivery methods (pen and paper, or computer based) could significantly affect the performance of primary school children on routine tests. Prior research in other parts of the world has shown that children would perform well on both assessment types, with no differences in scores if the conditions under which testing took place was uniform and devoid of extraneous variables which could have affected results. However some would argue that Nigeria is not the rest of the world. The study was done with students from public primary schools in Apapa-Iganmu LCDA of Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s most populous country. Apapa is home to the largest seaports through which majority of Nigeria’s trade passes, yet it is also home to both the affluent Apapa G.R.A (built as a Government Reserved Area by the colonial governments) and low-income dwellings of Malu, Badia, Abule Nla and Ajegunle (popular for its deep array of musical talent). While some of the young students knew the names of computing equipment like the mouse and the keyboard, not many had seen them or knew how to operate the devices. It is in this context that similar conditions were created and all students were randomly divided into different groups to participate in the exercise, which involved completing a timed assessment in pencil and paper format and the Computer Based Test format respectively. The children were assessed using their regular English and Mathematics curriculum currently used in primary schools in Lagos state.
At a time when public exams are more and more being driven to CBT, the results indicated that there were no differences in performance using either paper or CBT. This result is in congruence with other studies conducted on the same variables. The ability to replicate the same results is an indication that our children here in Nigeria are no different in terms of potential ability needed to embrace the use of technology for learning and development. Still, of significant concern however was the observation on the lack of ICT knowledge/skills of school children in the country. The Federal Government of Nigeria made computer education a compulsory subject for all secondary school students with the introduction of the new secondary school education curriculum (SSEC) in 2011.
As ICT proliferation improves, more investment is required to boost education content and delivery using technology. Population projections necessitate that this medium for learning (and for the assessment of knowledge), is an imperative, at all levels of development, from child learning to adult education. The study was conducted by Dragnet Solutions, an indigenous firm with vast experience in deploying Computer-Based-Testing for educational and recruitment purposes, in partnership with Dr. Alex Igundunasse, of the department of Psychology, University of Lagos. He is social psychologist/Behavioural researcher, with published articles in academic journals of international repute and author of several papers on qualitative research using modern tools such as IPA (interpretative Phenomenological Analysis). Findings concluded that children with little or no knowledge of computers were not hindered by the use of CBT for academic assessments.
Source: Vanguard News
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