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Investigating questioning strategies and assessment practices in primary school science classes: the response to the assessment reforms in Saudi Arabi

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posted on 2023-01-18, 16:46 authored by Khalid Abdullah Alotaibi
Submission note: A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

Saudi science teachers in primary schools think that they are practising assessment in an appropriate way. However, it seems that they are doing something different. This misunderstanding has emerged through the overlap between formative assessment and continuous assessment that exists in literature and has been reinforced by the assessment reform introduced in Saudi Arabia. Formative assessment enables diagnosis of the students’ learning. Continuous assessment emphasises time and repetition. Recently, Saudi Arabia has implemented continuous assessment in primary schools. The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia has actively promoted this new form of assessment. It released a student's assessment record to assist teachers in the application of this new assessment process. The local literature has revealed difficulties in implementing the new form of assessment. This study investigates how primary school science teachers in Riyadh practise continuous assessment as promoted in the document policy. Additionally, it explores the difficulties that have emerged for those teachers through the overlap between formative and continuous assessment. To accomplish these aims, the study adopted a mixed methods approach. The study data include questionnaire responses from 112 primary school science teachers as well as observations of and interviews with five of the 112 teachers. The data were collected on two occasions. The first time was at the beginning of the Saudi school year and the second time at the end of the same school year. This research has indicated that there exist an ambiguity in understanding the new policy by Saudi teachers. The key results also that teachers are using continuous assessment in a summative way rather than formative way as desired by Ministry of Education. In conclusion, clarity of policy documents, large class sizes, high workloads and lack of teacher's trainings are among key constraints for successful deployment of new assessment policy.


Center or Department

Faculty of Education.

Thesis type

  • Ph. D.

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


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This thesis contained third party copyright material which has been removed. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

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