This refers to the efforts a school may make to determine the extent to which it achieves the objectives of the syllabuses it teaches. The evaluation may involve all subjects or may be directed at certain subject areas only as the need may arise. It focuses on whether the national and school curriculum objectives are being translated into learning experiences during the teacher student classroom interaction.

The school is the ‘pot’ in which the curriculum objectives of a nation or a community are processed. All that takes place in a school has some impact on the society in which students live and will work. It is therefore necessary to investigate whether the resources allocated by the central government for educational purposes are being used to achieve the intended outcomes.

In addition to governments, other stakeholders who invest considerably in education at the school level also need to know whether children actually learn during their stay at the school. The only way to objectively discover what occurs at a school is to evaluate its objectives, content, processes and outputs.

In other words, the school is evaluated in order to determine how it is succeeding at educating students. In order to determine how a school performs in its endeavors, it is necessary to compare it with schools of its own status in terms of human and material resource allocation.

According to Gatawa (1990), the following should be used as the basis for establishing the criteria for evaluating school curriculum.

  • Objectives
  • Content as outlined in the syllabuses
  • Materials
  • Process or methodology used by teachers and administrators.

The following questions must be raised when evaluating objectives:

  • Are they worthwhile?
  • How do specified objectives compare with possible objectives?
  • Can they be achieved?
  • Can they be accepted by teachers?
  • What are the expected outcomes?

With regards to content evaluation should focus on:

  • Its suitability, and
  • Its correlation with the specified objectives.

Materials are evaluated in order to determine whether they are:

  • Simple to use,
  • Easy to produce, and
  • Cost-effective

The instructional methodology and administrative processes must be evaluated to determine whether they are consistent with the objectives or if the processes employed assist and support the teachers.

Planning for curriculum evaluation puts in place the mechanisms to support reflection and improvement on the delivered curriculum. While assessment focuses on student learning, curriculum evaluation considers the effectiveness of the whole learning experience. Once a topic is in place and being offered it needs to be refined and improved to ensure that it retains its relevance, currency and appropriateness for the students.

An evaluation strategy should be developed during the detailed design of the topic. Evaluation, like assessment, serves both summative and formative purposes, that is, to communicate the current standard of the topic and as a basis for improvement.

Forms of Evaluation

There are two forms of evaluation:

  • Formative evaluation
  • Summative evaluation.

With regards to the evaluation of the school curriculum, formative evaluation is the process of looking for strengths and weaknesses in content, materials and methodology as the evaluation process unfolds. Weaknesses are attended to before the whole process is completed.

Formative evaluation (or evaluation of a topic in progress) can be extremely valuable for ensuring that the topic is fulfilling its intent. Students are an invaluable source of feedback especially on topic delivery.

Summative evaluation is conducted at the end of an activity. Its purpose is to ensure that the necessary processes have been carried out and that the objectives of the curriculum are being met.

Evaluation is used to:

  • Select appropriate content based on the aims and objectives. of the curriculum;
  • Select appropriate methods to address the content and purpose;
  • Check the effectiveness of methods and learning experiences used;
  • Check on the suitability and the appropriateness of the curriculum in answering social needs;
  • Give feedback to the planners, learners, teachers, industry and society, and
  • Provide a rationale for making changes.

It should be noted that in conducting evaluations, judgments must be made regarding:

  • Inputs
  • Means,
  • Content
  • Outputs, and
  • Outcomes of the whole learning process.

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