Pupils to participate in national assessments

File picture: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Christine Vermooten

More than seven million school pupils will participate in the basic education department’s annual national assessments (ANA), it said on Monday.

“This is an important activity for the department… as these assessments are used to gauge the literacy and numeracy skills of learners at the foundation, intermediate, and senior phases of the education system,” the department said in a statement.

Pupils from grade one to six, as well as those from grade nine would participate in the ANAs. The assessments would be conducted in public schools and independent schools qualifying for government subsidies.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the ANAs were administered since 2011 and were “extremely useful”. “…There has been a steady improvement in learner performance, since the introduction of these tests.”

She said special attention was devoted to the development of the mathematics test for grade nine. “In 2012, the grade nine mathematics performance had been particularly low and this has raised some pertinent questions of mathematics teaching at this level,” Motshekga said.

“We are confident that relevant interventions have taken place and that we will see an improvement in this year’s results.” The department said an “independent agent” was appointed to conduct the tests at more than 2000 selected schools. The agent would also collect and mark the tests.

The ANAs’ results would be used to monitor progress and guide planning and the distribution of resources to help improve pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills.

“This is a mammoth logistical undertaking by the department… and South Africa is the only country that administers such a test on an annual basis,” the department said.

The assessments would not be used to determine whether a pupil could be promoted to the next grade. “It is purely to measure the learners’ progress with the curriculum and to establish the level at which they are performing, and the areas of the curriculum that teachers should concentrate on.”


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