Programme-Based Assessment Mechanisms for Establishing a Culture of Excellence in Open and Distance Learning at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU)

Daniel Ndudzo, Douglas Gasva


This study sought to interrogate programme-based assessment mechanisms (PBAMs) for establishing a culture of excellence in open and distance learning (ODL) at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). The study utilized a qualitative research methodology and adopted the case study research design. A population comprising Regional Programme Coordinators (RPCs) of the ZOU from two Regional Campuses was considered from which a sample of 20 (N=20) was selected. The purposive sampling technique was utilised in selecting the participants. The study used Questerviews as the primary research instruments. Data collected from the study was analysed based on the different thematic areas which were designed by the researchers as well as ranking specific service areas for programmes. The major findings of the study were that the ZOU academic programmes have official assessment documentation at Regional Campus level and are provided with maximum administrative support. The study further revealed that the programmes are assessed in a benchmarked way basing on the trends and standards of leading international universities. The study recommended that higher education open and distance learning (HEODL) institutions should generally have in place a standard and broad framework of programme-based assessment mechanism which covers key areas including programme design, implementation, review and assessment.


Programme-based assessment, higher education, open and distance learning, culture of excellence in education

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