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Content Validity of National Examinations In Assessing the Curriculum Objectives in Tanzania

Kitila Mkumbo*


Several factors have been attributed to poor performance of students in the national form four examinations in the past five years. These factors include lack of teachers’ qualifications and poor commitment to teach; lack of teaching and learning facilities such as books, laboratory equipment and libraries; and poor teachers’ working conditions. Nevertheless, there has been no attempt to systematically examine the content of examinations as related to the implemented curriculum, with a view to assessing the validity of these examinations. This paper examines the content validity of the Form IV national examinations in assessing the curriculum objectives. The key question addressed is: do students fail examinations, or is it that the examinations fail students? A systematic content analysis was carried out on selected science, language and social science subject syllabi and their corresponding examination papers to establish their relationships. The results show a strong relationship between what is covered in the examination papers and the content of the subject syllabi, suggesting that the examinations themselves may not be a cause of students’ poor performance. Instead, students’ poor performance in national examinations is attributable to the teaching and learning processes.

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