Higher Learning Research Communications

Digital Object Identifier



Objective: The primary goal of the study was to examine students’ perceptions of classroom assessment at a public university in Afghanistan. Exploring current assessment practices focused on student and faculty members lived experiences was a secondary goal. The study also sought to collect evidence on whether or not the new assessment policy was effective in student achievement.

Method: Authors used an explanatory sequential mixed-methods design to conduct the study. Initially, we applied the Students Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ), translated into Dari/Farsi and validated, to collect data from a random sample of 400 students from three colleges: Agriculture, Education, and Humanities. Response rate was 88.25% (N = 353). Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from a purposeful sample of 18 students and 7 faculty members. Descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, and t-tests were used to analyze quantitative data, and NVivo 12 was used to conduct thematic analysis on qualitative data.

Results: The quantitative results suggest that students have positive perceptions of the current assessment practices. However, both students and faculty members were dissatisfied with the grading policy, reinforcing summative over formative assessment. Results support that the policy change regarding assessment has resulted in more students passing the courses compared to in the past. The findings also suggest improvements in faculty professional skills such as assessment and teaching and ways that they engage students in assessment processes.

Implication for Policy and Practice: Recommendations include revisiting the grading policy at the national level to allow faculty members to balance the formative and summative assessment and utilizing assessment benchmarks and rubrics to guide formative and summative assessment implementation in practice.