Lecturer proposes new approach to teaching, learning – at pre- tertiary level

A lecturer at the Department of Educational
Foundations of the University of Cape Coast,
Professor Y. Kafui Etsey, is proposing a new
approach to teaching, learning and assessment
at the pre-tertiary level.
Under the new approach known as the
metacognitive approach, students are actively
engaged in the process of monitoring their own
learning, and are allowed to reflect on their work
on a regular basis, usually through self and peer

Introducing the new approach to staff of the
West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and
other stakeholders at the monthly seminar of
WAEC, Professor Etsey explained, “The purpose
of this approach is to increase learner autonomy,
advance understanding of the subject, involve
students in critical reflection and demonstrate to
students the concepts of subjectivity and
He said he had not yet approached the Ghana
Education Service (GES) with the new proposal
but was of the conviction that such an approach
would produce critical thinkers badly needed for
He indicated that the new approach was being
implemented in some countries, citing the United
States of America as an example, explaining that
the new approach would enable students to
learn about themselves as learners and become
aware of how they learn, “that is become
What is learning?
Presenting a paper titled, “Assessment as
learning: A metacognitive approach to teaching,
learning and assessment”, Professor Etsey
explained that assessment as learning emerged
from the idea that learning was not just a matter
of transferring ideas from someone who was
knowledgeable to someone who was not, but
rather “an active process of cognitive
restructuring that occurs when individuals
interact with new ideas. Within this view of
learning, students are the critical connectors
between assessment and learning”.
He was of the view that for students to be
actively engaged in creating their own
understanding, they must learn to be critical
assessors who made sense of information, relate
it to prior knowledge and use it for new learning.
Types of assessments
Professor Etsey said there were three
assessments models and mentioned them as
assessment of learning, assessment for learning
and assessment as learning.
He said the time had come for Ghana to move
away from the assessment of learning to
assessment as learning, which focused on the
process of developing and supporting the
student’s metacognition.
Describing it as a life-long learning process,
Professor Etsey said with instructor guidance
and through focused activities, learners were
encouraged to think about and assess their
learning, adding that “teachers only assess
students’ ability to assess themselves”.
He explained that under the new approach, the
status of the student was to be elevated from a
passive learner to assessor and that students
would not always depend on the teacher as the
overall assessor.
Targeting training institutions
During open forum, participants were of the view
that for such an approach to be effective, the
colleges of education should be the starting
point, where the teachers would be educated on
how it works.
For those who are already on the field,
participants called for in-service training for
them, stressing that the success of the new
approach depended on the acceptability of the
The Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC,
Very Rev Samuel N.N. Ollennu, who chaired the
function, thanked Professor Etsey for ably
handling such an important issue, breaking it
down to the understanding of the participants.