Formative Assessment Practices and its Influence on Students’ Learning and Achievement in Biology: Lessons from a Selected Community Secondary School in Moshi, Tanzania


  • Beatitude J. Mrema
  • Alex Mlemba
  • Winston Massam



Formative assessment, feedback, peer assessment, classroom questioning, student’s learning, and performance


This qualitative study explored current teachers’ formative assessment practices in Biology classrooms and how these practices influence performance in the subject. The study employed a case study design in a single selected community ordinary-level secondary school in Moshi municipality. It purposively involved two Biology teachers and twenty students selected from classes that do not have national examinations. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with teachers, classroom observations, and focus group discussions with the students, as well as a review of students’ exercise books. The data were transcribed verbatim, then coded and themes generated through interpretive phenomenological analysis. The findings showed that teacher’s oral questioning dominated the assessment practices. Other strategies such as peer assessment, student-student interactions, descriptive feedback, and sharing of learning intentions with students seemed to be unfamiliar to the Biology teachers involved. The study recommends among other things, in-service training for teachers on how to employ alternative formative assessment practices during instruction to promote students’ learning and achievement in Biology.

Author Biographies

Beatitude J. Mrema

Reginald Mengi Secondary School, Kilimanjaro

Alex Mlemba

Tengeru Institute of Community Development, Arusha

Winston Massam

The Aga Khan University-IED, East Africa