To test farmers at the beginning of an FFS we use a “ballot box test”. It is not really about testing the farmers’ knowledge, but rather a way of showing them the gaps in their knowledge as a way of preparing them for what they can expect to learn during the coming FFS sessions.
Usually a test consists of about 20 questions. Farmers answer each question by choosing between 3 answers. They select their answer by putting a piece of paper in the ballot box. The paper could have the name of the farmer on it, but this is not really necessary because we are not testing the individual but rather we want to find out how many farmers knew the correct answer and how many did not. The results of the test can then immediately be used to start discussions about these topics.
The questions are presented by using actual organisms and symptoms which can be examined by the farmers (not by using pictures).
Design three types of questions in such a way that they can measure:
- Understanding of ecology and natural control mechanisms.
- Ability to identification pests, natural enemies, diseases, and damage symptoms.
- Knowledge of crop management methods
- Show one pest insect and three different natural enemies. The farmers have to indicate which natural enemy can help control that pest.
- Show one pest insect and three types of crop damage. The farmers have to indicate what damage was caused by the insect.