Metaphysical Representation of Ethics for Scholastic Dimension and Assessment

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  1. AbstractThis paper hopes to ascertain the pragmatic implication of the employment of ethical principles in the educational dimension and evaluation. It is from conception that the human individual as a learner or an instructor should be ethically progressed according to natural dictates towards the realisation of the objectives of education as specified in National Policy on Education that has its philosophy as a guide. It beholds on him or her as teacher or learner to build moral restiveness that could be associated with his or her educational development. Since, education cannot be extricated with the working of measurement and evaluation, the work posted that educational evaluators should employ the values of ethics in their engagements.

    Keywords: Pragmatic implication, Ethical principles, Objectives of education, philosophy, educational development, values of ethics.1. Introduction The fundamental role of education in human society has been conventional from the earliest history of human existence. The traditional form of education was informal and oral. Modern society is characterised by a complex system of formal structure education system. In either case there was always some goals and objectives to be achieved, a process engaged in for the purpose of achieving the desired objective and some form of judgment regarding the quantitative and qualitative value of the outcome and ultimately some decisions based on the national development, governments seek to achieve their national goals through their educational policies (Ijeoma 1999).

    Every aspect of human enterprise demands estimation, so that there are reasons to assess the past form the present, and then, in the present we project the future. The educational sector and engagements are not exception to this development. The policy in education as we may say is a statement of educational goal of a people, community state, nation and so on, it means a procedure and method of implementation, content guideline of education and the agents responsible for formulation and implementation of the educational goals. It could also mean the general rules or guidelines which direct or govern decisions relating to school admission, results, finance, recruitment, management, structure and other related matters. It also extends toobjectives, philosophy, goals, evaluation, implementation, content of the education process and the ways to achieve the objectives and goals (Afariogun, 2011).

    All these are situated in the domain of educational ethics which consider the development and growth of such institution. Education is ethics itself, because it is about the changing of the individual behavior to adapt meaningfully and judiciously in the society. It is concern the valuation of the learners and teachers. The major role that ethics should play in education is to direct our attention to human integrity in particular, and to values in general. It should also provide us with the right principles as a basis for indoctrinating the right typeof knowledge to the learner (Agulana, 2011), and in holistic consideration, also to the teacher as well. In this work, our focus will be on the value of ethics in educational measurement and evaluation.

    2. Conceptualising Education Education as the means and goal of every instruction is a holistic enterprise that lies at the nerve- center of human existence. The need to utilise all available tools to improve its „lot¥ need not be overemphasized (Ozumba, 2011). It is in the hand of every human being to educate the other, whether formally or informally. Etymologically, the word „education¥ is derived from the Latin word „educare¥ which means „to lead out from¥ or „bring out from¥. This ideal implies the liberation of the individual who is been educated from the shackles of ignorance and illiteracy and acquitting such person with some forms of knowledge.

    Education is not limited to what is mainly done in an academic institution or a formal gathering. It also involves the whole process of transmission of intellectual, cultural, moral, religious and social values from an individual to another or a group of individuals for continuity and proper ordering of the society. To strength of the meaningfulness of education, In his thought of resiliency and hopeful consideration of purpose, in his message of the 2012 World Day of Peace, he greatly emphasised on the need to educate the youths of the society, starting from their home formation and socialisation processes by and within the human family, as the bedrock for proper conscience formation towards peaceful and just living, before the extended responsibility is given to other agents of socialisation. With this He will define education as follows:

    Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life. Educating – from the Latin educere
    –means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality,
    towards a fullness that leads to growth. This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms,
    that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must
    be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready
    to give of themselves. For this reason, today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and
    not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther
    than others because their life is so much broader. A witness is someone who first lives
    the life that he proposes to others (Message for World Day of Peace, 2012. No 2)

    Education alsoinvolves the training of individuals in order to acquire a particular skill or skills and also the formation and development of moral character and mental power. The whole aspect of education is centred towards the formation of the human person in order to make such person or persons capable of utilizing their entire resources for the good of the society to which they belong. It is about a recognised procedure of learningand teaching, from the regulatory bodies has put in place that is called curriculum. Education is mainly divided into formal and informal education.

    Prescribededucation has to do with the kind of education giving in an academic institution where there is a laid down curriculum or programme which the students follow. This is done in order for the students to acquire the proficiency that is demanded by the very nature of the educational institution. This form of education is also regarded as western education. On the other hand, Informal education on the other hand, has no particular curriculum or programmethat the learners follow. It is a transmission of ideas which will enable the learners to acquit themselves with some basic knowledge such as some historical and cultural facts, moral values, character formation, and acquisition of skills that are useful to the learners. In earnest, education has to do with the process of transmission of positive values from one person or persons to another.Education is widely viewedas a moral enterprise. It is that field of activity which seeks to expand the mind, to give direction, to endorseawareness, to allow us "to use things which the under-educated do not see. And as a functional part of a total society, its purpose is "the inculcation of knowledge, values, skills, and attitudes by means of institutions that have been created for this end." But in ``practical activity¥, "man is neither concerned with knowledge for its own sake, nor with the production for immediate needs, but with living a distinctively human life of virtue and perfection (Agulana, 2011). All its purposes are met to shape the personality of the individual towards proper integration into the society that which he or she belongs.

    3. The Meaning of Ethics The connotationof ethics is about the showing-off the positive values which an individual has internalised and inducedof to others in the society. It is the internalisation of the ethos and norms of the society for the ordering of human affairs. It is about total disciples of the individual. It is about the oughtsor ought to be in human conducts. Ethics has been pronouncedas a science. But to help our understanding of how it is so, we should perhaps explain a few points (Agulana, 2011). R. G Collingwood (1962:85),

    …….the word 'science' covers'not natural science' alone but orderly and systematic thinking on every subject, not orderly and systematic theoretical thinking alone but orderly and systematic 'practical thinking as well.However, to describe ethics as a science does not in any way commit us to the position that there can be a „science¥ of values in any way analogous to the physical science mentioned above. On the contrary, ethics is said to be a „normative science¥ –normative because it studies the norms of human behaviour. Ethics is not a science in the sense of the physical sciences. That field of activity which is concerned with virtues or „the life of virtue is known as ethics or moral philosophy. Ethics is as important branch of philosophy because it directs our attention to human morality andvalues. As the normative science of human conduct, ethics is not only concerned with showing us the ways to conduct ourselves so as to live a good and happy life… (Agulana 2011). For the purpose of the work, it will be proper to relate the meaning of ethic to the meaning of morality.
  2. Both morality and ethic are subsumed in each other. Human morality can be easily evaluated on educational organisation in according with the ethical principles of such institution. According to Himmeifard (1968:42) "morality refers to free decision and the values upon which it is based and not to the resulting act in itself. The moral life has to do with the very core of personal existence and not with the external and observable of existence." The society presents before man what he will consider moral or immoral according to the norms and customs which he has already internalised in the understanding of natural order. The human being is so constituted, that, it is not all kinds of actions that befit his nature and lead to happiness and self-fulfilment, certain kinds of actions befit his nature, promote his general wellbeing and lead him to happiness and self-fulfilment (Omoregbe in Ndubuisi 2011:42). The understanding of the natural order of human affairs and actions is evaluated on the use of human reasoning in knowing what is good and then do it, and what is bad and then avoid it.Having said the foregoing, it is important to see how the above discussion helped our discourse on education. We cannot rule out the importance of morality in education. When we talk of liberal education, we have at the back of our mind, education for its intrinsic rather than a wholly extrinsic quality, we talk of what education can put in a man to make him first and foremost an educated man in the „whole¥ sense of it rather than the transmission of skills to provide job or for some other extrinsic goals (Ozumba 2011b). In education, the individual is judged in character and learning, in which the former is ethically and needs the culture of proper and uncorrupted methods, skill and dispositions of measurement and evaluation as the latter, which the learning aspects of the judgement or end-point assessment, also do. This brings us the analysis of the conception of educational measurement and evaluation in the work.

    4. The Conception of Measurement and Evaluation Evaluation is the process of investigating the consequences of programmes aimed at altering key variable in people¥s lives. All forms of evaluation involve the notion of judging merit, examining the weighing. Evaluation data provide objective information on outcomes which inform wise decisions on the phenomenonbeing evaluated (Ijeoma 1999). According to Ibeh& Abe (2006) the word "Evaluation" is often confused with the related terms "measurement", "test" or "examination. In general, classroom evaluation refers to the continuous process of making careful observation upon which relevant judgment is made about an individual ability, personality adjustment, social adjustment, academic achievement and aptitude. To Borishade (2006) evaluation can be through the use of pre-test and post-test scores. If there is a change, we then take a decision, based on the result.

    A classroom teacher can assess his subject and look critically as the syllabus and modifyor reshuffle the areas to be covered. If need be, assess the overall objectives of the subjects and take necessary steps towards the realisation of these objectives. While Popham (1993) contents that a systematic educational evaluation consists of a formal appraisal of the quality of educational phenomena. It is the one that involves making decisions or judgments about students based on the extent to extent to which instructional objectives (or educational programmes) are achieved by them. Hence, evaluation of learners involves judging students relative strengths and weakness in relation to selected characteristics (Ibeh& Abe, 2006).

    Arikpo (2011) test are unit measurements which quantity the mind. By the themes of freedom of choice, authenticity of being and the quest of selfhood which pervade existentialism, tests will have to be dynamic in outlook. On the other hand, test and measurement experts will need to regard them more as activities; what learners do. It will need to have notion of self-discovery connected with it. It will emphasise a learner¥s discovery of events, circumstance, influences, and courses of actions for himself. Test and measurement will emphasise theory and inter-connected conceptual schemata that the learner will have to fruitfully manipulate before he obtains a further answer. Tests and measurement will assume a heuristic view.

    They would be a plunge by which the learner or one being tested will gain a foothold at another shore of reality. The learner will progressively stake his cognitive and inquisitive life on such a plunge. The tests and measurement will need to be problem-solving. So, should they be connected about intelligence, they must reveal the learner¥s ability to see relationships between objects and ideas and his application of these relationships to new, but similar objects and ideas. They must assume more of the forms of special aptitudes.

    Philosophically, since there are methods associated with the adoption of the usefulness of educational evaluation and measurement, it becomes, or it can be regarded as a science. Since it has been considered as a science due to its methodologies and the resultant effects of its adoption and consideration which are centred on the improvement of the human person with his or her relationship towards the national development as specified in the national policy on Education, it requires the tools of the pragmatic relevance of ethics to monitor its efficiencies and limitations in the hands of the evaluators, this is because every scientific methodologies requires the workability of ethical principles to checkmate its boundaries directly or indirectly. It becomes a tool in the hands of philosophy to monitor the rate of development andachievement of the individual as a student or a learner, and more importantly as a dignified entity whose rights and personhood deserved to be respected and protected, and that of the evaluators as well.

    5. The Implications of Ethics in Educational Measurement and Evaluation The whole understanding of ethical codes have to do with the individual, as a teacher who is the chief of this paper, being decent, fair, good just, moral, noble, principled, righteous, upright or virtuous in the managementand administration of assessment. According to Agulana (2011) In relating all these to education, we could agree that as a practical activity, education is also a „science¥ since it involves not only orderly and systematic theoretical thinking but orderly and systematic „practical¥ thinking as well. Ethics and education are both normative disciplines. They presuppose ideas about the nature of knowledge and the nature of what is valuable. Values abound everywhere in education; they are involved in every aspect of school practice; they are basic to all matters of choice and decision-making. For example, it is with values that teachers evaluate students and students on their part evaluate teachers. In like manner, society evaluates courses of study, school programmes, and teaching competence. In another perspective, society is itself evaluated by educators.

    To Ibeh& Abe (2006) the educational evaluator should a systematic analysis of the learning situations before the commencement of implementation of curriculum. In fact, evaluator should carry out this diagnostics evaluation if good decision must be made concerning content, methods and materials for the curriculum implementation process. It demands the placement of the values of the human persons in the adoption of anyeducational policy that must be implemented. It highly demands the sense of confidentiality, trust and reliability. Hence, to Ozumba (2011); whatever can be done to articulate an enviable and sound educational programme that will take care of the present lapses in our educational life should be encouraged. Life is dynamic; education should also be qualitative and pre-emptively dynamic. Education should both predictive and should be able to tell us the possible direction of change and what should be done to cope with such change; it should deal with the present and the future. Education should be all-embracing, imbuing us with the necessary knowledge indispensable for coping with the vagaries of life.

    Taking the note, the evaluation of process or transaction strictly speaking focuses as five major elements namely:- The Syllabus, The Individual Lesson Plan, The Conduct of Individual Lessons, Student Achievements and Student Attitudes (Ibeh& Abe, 2006), should be ethically based, to avoid compromise, bias, and mischiefs. To reiterate a point we have made already,
    education is a moral enterprise. Its true purpose is to equip the student (be it in a formal or informal way) to fulfil himself in the larger society, where greater opportunity prevails, rather than to perpetuate old inequalities and disparities. It is for this reason that we have described education as „a functional part of a total society¥ (Agulana 2011). Evaluation is the ability of the individual to think in a flexible way when confronted with an unfamiliar problem, aside, evaluation also focuses more on the cognitive aspect of the learning than the affective and psychomotor areas (Borishade 2006). On a general note, all vagaries of life demand ethical evaluation or assessment so that there is healthy and viable development and growth, in educational sector, for proper internalisation of the human person in the society which he or she belongs (Ozumba 2011).
  3. The affective outcomes which include interest, motivation, attitudes, etc. are non-cognitive, but nevertheless important aspects of the instruction and shouldtherefore be of importance at this evaluation level. Those traits which already exist in the student before taken of part in the instruction should be evaluated at the beginning of instruction and at the end to estimate the level of change (Ibeh& Abe 2006). All these steps of evaluation should not be compromised in all anyway, but follow the actual ethical standards, regulations and dispositions that are associated with it.

    In Nigeria, many teachers re not certified. Some of them now, never had training in the principles and practice of education and would not have studied measurement and evaluation techniques. The implications are that such teachers may use tests that are not reliable or valid. Such tests may not be stable and of adequate quality (Badmus and Omoifo 1998). Also, most teachers demonstrate a lack of understanding of how continuous assessment is implementation in their school. This is evidenced in the lack of uniformity and inconsistency of continuous assessment practices and procedures (Ijeoma 1999). Some of them know to it takes to have proper assessment but chose to do it in their ways, just for selfish and corrupt reasons. Then, the ethical consciousness of it is thrown to the wind. But, ethics demands the proper placement of priority in the national implementation of educational policies regarded the employment and training of educational personnel.

    6. Conclusion In summary, the ethical thrust of educational measurement and evaluation calls for the following:

    1. The value of the human personhood and the respect of human rights in the assessment process on the part of the instructors and administrators for the learners, and vis-à-vis.
    2. The building up of moral restiveness in the assessment process.
    3. Commitment to students without any bias or partiality
    4. The respect for the academic ethics and refrain from leaking or disclosing official materials, especially examination materials and other confidential materials.
    5. The increase in the rate of job or service efficiency by the reduction of work load of the teachers. Then, teachers should develop high commitment to proper students¥ continuous assessment.
    6. The structuring of healthy socialisation process and relations amongst the instructors and learners.
    7. Live within the expected roles and behavioural expectations of the community.

    In the course of work, we have seen the meaningful placement and relevance of ethics for proper educational measurement and evaluation. It all border on the value of the human person (Isanbor 2013) in the assessment and implementation of educational procedures. The evaluators as instructors are called to be ethical and moral in engagements, by moral values to eliminate compromise, bias and mischief in measurement and evaluation, so that, the learners will be properly judged in learning and character formation. Ethics is a spice of good living due to the values it presents to humanity, and education cannot do without the adoption of ethical principles to achieve its intended holistic results. In a nutshell, test, measurement and evaluation of student achievement or knowledge should accurately reflect mastery of content and should be conducted with adherence to the ethics of test, measurement and evaluation. Teachers need to be well trained to abide by the ethical codes of the teaching profession and be loyal to their profession and employer in the discharge of their duties should be more diligent. All these will bring dignity to the teaching profession and positively enhance the quality of education and national development.

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