DEVELOPMENT-ORIENTED TESTING MODEL: CASE STUDY OF THE WEST AFRICAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL AND CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATIONS
What is not inspected should not be expected. This proven statement succinctly captures the essence and significance of examinations. All over the world, Students and Teachers literally dance to the beats of examinations, especially examinations linked with certification. It is therefore not uncommon to find Teachers and Students concentrating more on topics and activities being assessed and neglecting topics and practical works that are consistently not being assessed by examining bodies. Consequently, examination/certification bodies wield great powers that could be harnessed to catalyze positive development. It is against this background that the Development Oriented Testing [DOT] model was conceived. The questions, however, are: do the examination bodies realize the enormity of the power they have? If they do, to what extent are they pragmatically using this power to catalyze productivity and development in their domain of control? This paper hypothesized that in many African/developing nations, unlike in developed countries, the external examination/certification bodies barely assess true practical work and applied knowledge. The paper further postulates that this trend could be the bane of low productivity/development in these countries. The case study and ex post facto research designs were adopted in this study. To test these hypotheses, comparative analysis of past West African Examination Council [WAEC]-West African Secondary School Certificate Examination [WASSCE] and Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Examination [IGCSE] was conducted. The goal of the content analysis of past questions was to identify questions that tend to mobilize secondary school Teachers/Students to apply knowledge gained in the course of study to evolve useful products and services. The outcome of the content analysis revealed that there are remarkable differences in the number of higher educational objectives examined in Cambridge and WAEC O-level examinations. Cambridge examinations furnished more application questions than WAEC examinations. A quick survey of Teachers and Students on this issue further corroborated the postulations. We submit, based on the inference made from this finding, that this negative trend must be reversed [particularly at the secondary and tertiary levels] for African and related developing nations to experience pragmatic indigenous productivity/development. It was therefore recommended that the Development Oriented Testing [DOT] Model should be adopted to redress this situation.