Internal assessment versus external assessment
The external examination or external assessment serves the purpose of providing information about students, information that may be used by teachers and others to find the suitability of students for a subsequent course of higher education or job in an establishment. So teachers are also too impressed with the suitability of exam results. They are tempted to distort teaching in order to obtain satisfying results in the examinations without caring whether students have gained knowledge or not.. Experts feel that in universities there is no system of education but system of examination. University examinations whether at the end of the year or at the end of the semester asses the abilities to recall the facts, recall of principles, use of numerical data, construction of hypotheses, assessment of hypotheses, design of experiments. But they do not measure the students' abilities to the use of single technique they have studied.
Students appearing for entrance tests for higher education are tested for their comprehensive ability. Students studying for end exams or external exams cannot get through in these entrance tests.
Some of the possible outcomes of learning should be knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, drawing and sketching skills, ability to handle instruments, communication skills (skills in writing, talking), social skills (team work and leadership), personal interest (regularity, hard work, inventiveness, originality, initiative), positive and scientific attitude, appreciation and creativity.
These qualities cannot be attained by the end examinations or external examinations. So there is a need for continuous internal assessment. Assessment is taken to mean the terminal decision and grading, while evaluation is a constant probing for the best way to move forward.
Internal assessment is a continuous, periodic and internal process. This means that assessment is done in relation to certain abilities and skills in certain subject areas periodically and continuously. This has to be planned at the time of curriculum development, syllabus interpretation and clarifying objectives of learning. This is known as internal, because evaluation is done by teacher in the institute and no external agency comes in. It does not necessarily replace end examination. The end examination is to be taken as part of the internal assessment. Also it does not mean only a few mid term examinations in place of final examinations and demands that the outcomes of learning a particular subject must be spelt out perfectly. Internal assessment should test those skills and abilities which cannot be tested through a written examination at the end of course.
Proper importance should be given to internal assessment and end examinations. Internal assessment and external end university examinations marks or grades must be shown separately in mark sheets. Teachers should do internal assessment of students, by taking into account all aspects of students' work such as assignments, tutorials, practical, seminar contributions, project works, as well as periodical tests of achievement.
Students may be tested by questions like short quizzes, objective type questions, short answer essay type, long answer essay type, structured essay type, problem solving type, performance type and assignments, tutorials, projects.
The success of a system of internal assessment will largely depend on teachers; their understanding, training, potential, honesty, unbiased attitude and above all the "professionalism" they bring to their work of teaching-learning-testing.