RCEC provides Competency-Based Assessment training for the Uganda National Examinations Board

From 19 to 26 June, Arnold Brouwer conducted a Competency-Based Assessment training on behalf of RCEC for some 40 Examinations Development Officers from the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) in Kampala, Uganda.

UNEB is a government organisation established by an Act of Parliament. It is the national assessment body and comes under the Ministry of Education and Sports. UNEB’s functions include conducting national examinations in primary and secondary schools and awarding certificates to successful students.

In the year 2020, the Ministry of Education and Sports has introduced a completely new competency-based curriculum for lower secondary education. The substructure concerns the so-called O-level and consists of the levels Senior 1 to Senior 4, similar to the lower secondary education in the Netherlands. During these four years, students are monitored individually and closely using formative testing and feedback. The focus is on developing competences and skills.

Around mid-2024, the first group of students will have completed this new four-year programme. At that time, all these students, aged around 15, will take a final summative exam. This exam will test the central competences from the seven compulsory subjects and from a combination of 2 of the 29 different electives according to the principles of Scenario-based Assessment. The result on the final test will partly determine the subsequent education the student is eligible for. After the O-level, the student continues his or her education in one of the two continuation courses. The student may qualify for upper secondary education (the Advanced level), in preparation for higher education. Or the student continues his or her education with a vocational course, which is in line with the personal electives the student took in the O-level. With the new competency-based curriculum, the formative feedback cycle and the accompanying final test, the new generation of students is better prepared for the skills of the 21st century. In the process, students develop practical competences in the O-level that prepare them for the future study or work environment best suited to them.

To support the development of this new summative final test, UNEB asked RCEC to provide a customised training in Competency-Based Assessment for its Examinations Development Officers. Besides introducing the theory, the training spent a lot of time using group assignments to directly apply this theory in practice. Each assignment was presented enthusiastically by the groups, after which there was time for questions and discussion. This resulted in an interesting and interactive programme. The training ended with the ceremonial awarding of the RCEC certificates in the official meeting room of the Executive Board at UNEB headquarters.

Together, we made good and huge progress this week and learned from each other. This training provided a solid foundation on which the Examinations Development Officers can continue to build. We agreed that RCEC will remain involved in the further development of this important final test.

We thank UNEB for their trust, their hospitality and friendship and for the opportunity to get to know the Pearl of Africa and the African context of examining in secondary education. We look forward to continuing our collaboration.