n Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies - Lost in memorization : the case of science instruction in KSA schools and the argument for a promotion of science literacy based on formative assessment practices

Volume 7, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2141-6990
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This study focuses on the connection between teachers' assessment and students' achievement in science instruction in schools of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Specifically, data from TIMMS 2011 were analyzed to answer the question "What is the effect of KSA teacher assessment practices on grade 8 students' achievement in science?" Data were selected for their relevance to the question, including those on approaches to science-instruction as perceived by teachers themselves, data were analyzed with regard to standards set by international discourse, compared with the international average, and were internally weighted to maintain coherent patterns. Findings show a relation between the knowledge-focused approach to teaching and assessing students' achievement prevalent in KSA science instruction and the low achievement results of KSA students in TIMMS 2011. A look at assessment practices in KSA science instruction is called for: There should be a correlation between the extent to which continuous, formative assessment is practiced during instruction and students' achievement as stated by international studies. In our secondary analysis of TIMMS results, we found no traces of an application of formative assessment and indeed no clues as to whether the very concept is known to teachers at all. Professional development about formative assessment and more emphasis on the procedural side of science in KSA instruction are recommended.

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