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Study Guide

Study Guide

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Sections

  • Historical background to assessment
  • INTRODUCTION
  • 1.1 HISTORICAL ISSUES AND ASSESSMENT
  • 1.1.1 The Chinese literati
  • 1.1.2 The feudal system in Europe
  • 1.1.3 Colonialism in Africa
  • 2.1 THE EXAM CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS
  • 2.1.2 Are tests and exams still useful forms of assessment?
  • 2.2 THE INFLUENCE OF CONTEXT ON THE EDUCATIONAL SITUATION
  • 2.2.1 The key economic forces that drive our new education system
  • 2.3 CHANGES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT
  • 2.3.1 Changes in South Africa's social context
  • 2.3.2 Changes in South Africa's political context
  • 2.4.1 The National Curriculum Statement
  • 2.4.2 Change as a process
  • 2.5 OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION AND ASSESSMENT
  • 2.5.1 The term ``outcomes-based''
  • 2.6 REFLECTION ON THE CASE STUDY
  • Why assess?
  • 3.1 CHOOSING A PURPOSE FOR ASSESSMENT
  • 3.1.1 Assessment in order to grade or sort
  • 3.1.2 Assessment in order to promote or select
  • 3.1.3 Assessment in order to evaluate
  • 3.1.4 Assessment in order to predict
  • 3.1.5 Assessment in order to control
  • 3.1.6 Assessment in order to diagnose
  • 3.1.7 Assessment in order to guide and motivate
  • 3.1.8 Assessment in order to learn
  • 3.2 KEY CONCEPTS IN ASSESSMENT
  • 3.2.1 Approaches to assessment
  • 3.2.2 Assessment involves comparison
  • 3.2.3 Fairness in assessment
  • 3.3 THE TEACHER AND ASSESSMENT
  • 3.3.1 Planning an assessment cycle
  • 3.3.2 The focus and purpose of assessment
  • Effective assessment
  • 4.1 ASSESSING WITH OUTCOMES AND INTEGRATION IN MIND
  • 4.1.1 Planning to integrate teaching and assessment
  • 4.1.2 Planning the assessment strategy
  • 4.2 THE ASSESSMENT OF HIGHER-ORDER THINKING SKILLS
  • 4.2.1 Bloom's taxonomy of thinking
  • 4.2.2 Questions and answers
  • 4.2.3 Instructions and action words
  • 4.2.4 Activities
  • 4.3 FAIRNESS
  • 4.3.1 Curriculum fidelity and diversity
  • 4.3.2 Eliminate gender and cultural bias
  • 4.4 ASSESSMENT AND MODERATION
  • 4.5 USEFUL FEEDBACK
  • Reporting and recording
  • 5.1 REPORTING ACCORDING TO OUTCOMES
  • 5.2 CRITERION-REFERENCED REPORTING FOR GRADES
  • 5.3 CRITERION-REFERENCED REPORTING PER OUTCOME
  • 5.4 REFLECTION ON EFFECTIVE RECORDING
  • ADDENDUM A
  • Bibliography

# 2006 University of South Africa All rights reserved Printed and published by the University of South Africa Muckleneuk, Pretoria EDAHOD-5/1/2007-2009 97989266 A4 Icon Style

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EDAHOD-8/1/2007±2009

Contents

Study unit
INTRODUCTION The role of assessment Changes in assessment Expected outcomes: what to expect from the course Reading the course material A two-way conversation Application Ð a practical approach Planning your study 1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO ASSESSMENT Introduction 1.1 Historical issues and assessment 1.1.1 The Chinese literati 1.1.2 The feudal system in Europe 1.1.3 Colonialism in Africa RE-EVALUATION OF ASSESSMENT IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT 2.1 The exam crisis in South African schools 2.1.1 How valid or reliable is the Matric exam as an assessment method? 2.1.2 Are tests and exams still useful forms of assessment? 2.2 The influence of context on the educational situation 2.2.1 The key economic forces that drive our new education system 2.3 Changes in the South African context: social and political context 2.3.1 Changes in South Africa's social context 2.3.2 Changes in South Africa's political context 2.4 The influence of educational system, infrastructure and policies on assessment 2.4.1 The National Curriculum Statement 2.4.2 Change as a process 2.5 Outcomes-based education and assessment 2.5.1 The term ``outcomes-based'' 2.6 Reflection on the case study WHY ASSESS? Introduction 3.1 Choosing a purpose for assessment 3.1.1 Assessment in order to grade or sort 3.1.2 Assessment in order to promote or select 3.1.3 Assessment in order to evaluate 3.1.4 Assessment in order to predict

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Study unit
3.1.5 3.1.6 3.1.7 3.1.8 3.2 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.3 3.3.1 3.3.2 4 Assessment in order to control Assessment in order to diagnose Assessment in order to guide and motivate Assessment in order to learn Key concepts in assessment Approaches to assessment Assessment involves comparison Fairness in assessment The teacher and assessment Planning an assessment cycle The focus and purpose of assessment

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32 32 33 33 33 33 34 39 42 44 45 46 46 47 48 56 57 57 58 59 69 69 69 71 71 74 74 74 78 78 80 81 93

EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT 4.1 Assessing with outcomes and integration in mind 4.1.1 Planning to integrate teaching and assessment 4.1.2 Planning the assessment strategy 4.2 The assessment of higher-order thinking skills 4.2.1 Bloom's taxonomy of thinking 4.2.2 Questions and answers 4.2.3 Instructions and action words 4.2.4 Activities 4.3 Fairness 4.3.1 Curriculum fidelity and diversity 4.3.2 Eliminate gender and cultural bias 4.4 Assessment and moderation 4.5 Useful feedback REPORTING AND RECORDING Introduction 5.1 Reporting according to outcomes 5.2 Criterion-referenced reporting for grades 5.3 Criterion-referenced reporting per outcome 5.4 Reflection on effective recording ADDENDUM A BIBLIOGRAPHY

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EDAHOD-8/1

Introduction

THE ROLE OF ASSESSMENT
The way teachers think about assessment and assessment practices reveals much about their thinking about the teaching-learning situation per se. Why would we say that? Just think about the following: . What teachers assess indicates what they see as important and applicable. . Who assesses whom tells us much about power relationships as well as about how learning occurs. . How and when the assessment takes place says much about the reasons for assessment. . The ways in which teachers mark, record and give feedback reveal a lot about their thinking with regard to learning as such. It is clear, then, that the way in which a teacher assesses is related to that teacher's beliefs about content, the teacher's role, learners and the purpose of teaching and learning. For this reason it is also clear that there is an interrelationship between teaching, learning, curriculum and management, and that ideas about teaching cannot change without influencing the thinking about assessment.

CHANGES IN ASSESSMENT
To see whether our past and, in many cases, current methods of assessment (that is, tests and exams) are appropriate to the purpose of assessment, we have to think about the choice of modes (forms), media and frames of reference. The British writer Elizabeth Bray, in Lubisi (1999:20), calls this phenomenon ``fitness for purpose''. According to her, your assessment methods should ``fit the purpose'' of your assessment. This means your method should be right for the purpose or the reason you are assessing. Fitness for purpose is a key concept in assessment. Very early in the planning of an assessment strategy you are faced with certain key questions: . Why are you assessing? . What are you assessing? . How will you assess? Bray says the why and the what will determine how you assess. Remember that, so far, we have only been referring to tests and exams Ð the Matric exams in particular. Think about why we assessed in this way in the past. What did we assess? Was the method (the how) appropriate or not?

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EXPECTED OUTCOMES: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE COURSE
The chief aim of this module is to increase your understanding of outcomes-based assessment so that you can evaluate its worth and possibly start changing the way you think about assessment and the way you apply assessment in the teaching-learning situation. The module aims to give information about the following: . . . . Historical background of assessment practices from the past Reasons for assessment The influence of change on assessment Effective assessment

LEARNING OUTCOMES By the end of this study unit you should be able to . demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of traditional assessment practices . determine whether these methods of assessment were appropriate to the context we lived in . interpret the value of these methods from a historical perspective . make a value judgement about whether these methods of assessment meet the demands of current educational trends and a rapidly changing world . demonstrate an understanding of the significance of new developments in assessment

Reading the course material
This study guide operates much as a teacher does. It will structure your learning, explain concepts and direct you to other parts of the module at appropriate times. It will facilitate your learning. We suggest you purchase a hardcover A4 book or a file in which to do the activities, write notes and generally record your ideas as you work through the module.

A two-way conversation
The study guide is not like an old-fashioned textbook, to be read and learnt by heart. We have written it in the form of a conversation on OBA. Like all good conversations, the study guide works best if you participate. To encourage your participation, we have included many activities and requests to ``think!''. In fact, it is probably true to say that your work is the most important part of the guide. If you do not do the activities, you will be ignoring the major part of the learning experience, which is your own understanding of particular concepts. Another very important aspect of this ``conversation'' with the content of this study guide is to rethink and reflect on what you have read so as

It will become the record of your thinking Ð and of the changes in your thinking Ð about OBA. debates and mind maps to structure the teaching. it seems strange and confusing. Application of theory to practice Although the study guide already constitutes a conversation. This makes your workbook a very important part of your learning strategy. Think about how we get to know things in the world. if you keep a record of your understanding throughout the course. which means you will be arriving at the principles yourself. we believe you should also set aside time to talk with other students. RETHINK AND REFLECT Reflect on the previous discussion and find your own meaning and understanding. The study guide makes use of a variety of techniques that include dialogues. It is important to know that understanding (as opposed to rote learning) develops in layers. You can then return to the earlier work and see how your understanding has changed. Comments and guidelines will accompany this icon. COMMENT Pay special attention to this icon: it points to important information about the particular topic under discussion. especially if you have debates and arguments. is an effective way of studying this module. A vital learning skill is the ability to plot your own progress. Only when we think. This is only possible. read and write about things on a regular basis does their full importance become clear to us.(vii) EDAHOD-8/1 to understand it. talk. When we are first introduced to an idea. Note the meaning of the following icons ACTIVITY This icon indicates a formal activity which you should do in your workbook. scenarios. case studies. Talking about assessment issues. It is presented inductively. however. . It will allow you to ground in your own context many of the theoretical ideas that are presented. The comments and explanations throughout will highlight the important principles.

time spent in writing assignments: 20 hours (the time it should take to write the assignments you will submit to your tutors) Good luck and enjoy the learning experience! . as well as other learning material that you receive with the study guide) . In other words. you should set aside about 120 hours of study time. activity time: 40 hours (this includes the time it takes you to think about your readings. But. reading time: 60 hours (this includes reading the study guide. so you may well find you need more (or slightly less) time.(viii) Planning your study We believe this module requires about six hours of work a week for a period of about 20 weeks. of course. we expect that you would spend the 120 hours as follows: . not all students work at the same pace. do activities and write these down in your workbook) . Generally speaking.

Evaluation enables an educator to answer the questions: ``How good?'' or ``How well?'' Let us take a closer look at the structure of the word ``evaluate'': e-value-ate. we have to explore some of the traditional assessment practices and decide on their worth. in our current educational system. An important reason for these disagreements has been a recognition of the crucial role that assessment plays in society. It means ascribing a value to something. How often have you seen schools come under fire for allegedly ``lowering standards''? ``Lowering standards'' can mean something like reducing the role of the final examination as the dominant form of assessment. deciding on the worth of something. 1. Schools are a part of society. Schools have particular social roles which have an impact on what you can or cannot do in your school or classroom. performance and behaviour.1 HISTORICAL ISSUES AND ASSESSMENT Assessment has always been characterised by disagreements about the purposes it should serve.1 EDAHOD-5/1 STUDY UNIT 1 Historical background to assessment INTRODUCTION According to Freiburg and Driscoll in Van der Horst and McDonald (2001:180) many terms in the language of assessment are interrelated. In this study unit we intend doing just that and it will be up to you to decide whether. it is still worthwhile or appropriate to assess in this way or not. Evaluation requires you to make a judgement about learners' knowledge. Isn't this one of the ongoing arguments we have about our current assessment practices? . Why did we assess in the past? Did we assess worthwhile things? What did we assess? Did we employ an adequate method? To answer these questions. but the starting point is evaluation.

through examinations. The rise of capitalism did away with feudalism. If you happened to be born into the upper class or aristocracy.1 The Chinese literati Since about 200 BC China has used assessment. In order to lay claim to membership. they maintained control by way of examinations over what was taught in the schools. Let us look at this issue from a historical perspective. we said that assessment can represent certain social interests and that such assessment usually takes a specific form. they had to write examinations on classical texts. In Southern Africa.3 Colonialism in Africa Many African countries were once colonies of European powers. By ``cultured'' they meant that the person had to be well read in classical literary texts. If your father was a king. It has a long history. you were allowed to occupy a high social position. For this reason more people were educated and. namely examinations or tests. Zambia. a strong base of skilled middle-class professionals was needed. in the form of examinations. Zimbabwe. qualified for various professions. as a way of selecting people for its public service. You might ask: ``What type of exams were these?'' The Chinese established the principle that only people who were ``cultured'' should form part of the public service. This ``cultured'' elite group became known as the literati. In order to grow economically. Schools in countries like Lesotho. Botswana. you would probably become a feudal lord as a matter of course. Remember. This is a good example! The Chinese literati used assessment (in the form of literature exams) to select their members. Even after the British had left. 1.1.2 The feudal system in Europe Europe went through a prolonged period of feudalism.2 In fact. Britain colonised South Africa.1. Swaziland and Zimbabwe .1. Lesotho and Swaziland. These were the criteria they used for selection. is not a recent phenomenon. 1. The feudal era was characterised by the rule of kings and feudal lords over servants. the dominance of this one form of assessment. 1. Botswana.

3 EDAHOD-5/1 required their students to write the so-called O-level and A-level examinations Ð set in Cambridge or Oxford Ð to obtain school-leaving certificates. you need to make sure that you are taught what the Cambridge examiners consider to be worthwhile knowledge! It is clear that social interests (colonial interests in this case) are served by some forms of assessment (in this case O-level and A-level exams). . if your exam is set by people in Cambridge. Obviously.

. the examination system became problematic. The ``philosophy'' that underpinned the actions of these departments was that schools had to develop citizens who were respectful to God and to authority. This is not surprising. The state. The ``old'' South African education departments assumed that good learning and teaching depended on listening. On the next two pages you will find two examples of Grade 12 essays written under exam conditions. was obviously in a position to control what constituted valuable educational knowledge. By implication this would create citizens who obeyed the governing authority of the day. In a situation where the school system was regarded as discriminatory and the curriculum as suspect. Those who met the requirements obtained certificates and thus a passport to all sorts of options in society that were denied to others.4 STUDY UNIT 2 Re-evaluation of assessment in the South African context 2. It seems that Matric examinations not only served the purposes of selection and grading in the apartheid era.1 THE EXAM CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS During the apartheid era. but also of monitoring and controlling what was regarded as valuable educational knowledge. This encouraged a view of assessment that focused on the ability of learners to recall the inputs made by authorities (such as teachers and textbooks). remembering and obeying\ the ideas of people in authority. Read both essays and give them each a mark according to the assessment grid. which controlled both the curriculum and the certification procedures. Exams became a mechanism for disciplining learners. according to King and Van den Berg in Lubisi (1999:96). Most South African schools still understand assessment to be written tests and high-stake examinations. Schooling has also been viewed as imposing a particular ideology on the nation's children. schooling for the different cultural groups was provided unequally in segregated schools. Assess each essay according to form and content.

Truly het delivered the passenger and found me another taxi. Our school has many bullies but none of them is as terrifying as TB. I still ask myself that did I know that I was going to write geography or Physical Science. I was relieved because I was not that late. TB is very meaning of terror itself. Even today I don't know what happened in my mind and life that day. It was fine day no clouds and no wind birds were singing joyfully. The people gave us question papers to my surprise it was no a geography paper but a Physical science paper. The driver stopped and I went back home took the money and I went to catch another taxi. I found out that I was in a wrong taxi. Essay 2 Topic: For a whole year you suffered at the hands of a school bully. At about 8H00 I took my belongings and went to catch a taxi I realised that I leave the money at home. And I passed my Physical Science with a ``E''. My brother was then discharged from the hospital. Bullies are as common a phenomena in school as brilliant children. I showed. Once she has singled you out as her enemy you dread every morning on which you have to go to school. Luckily I found another taxi and I was off to the correct place.5 EDAHOD-5/1 Essay 1 Topic: Write a narrative essay on ``The day everything went wrong''. dress and eat my breakfast as usual. The previous night I slept very late because I study. When I arrived in the examination rooms all students were seated waiting for the question papers to start writing. But at the end everything went wrong for me. I woke early that day. I was very prepared for the paper. But thank God because everything afterwards became right. it was getting late. I was very confused. And what if I didn't realise that I had money or not what would have happened. I was so confused and I was not taking notice of what was happening. he told me that he will first deliver the other passengers then he will find another taxi for me. Write an essay on your experiences and how you finally brought an end to the bullying. he was involved in a serious car accident. I was going to write my final Geography paper. I was one of the unfortunate ones for the whole of last year . I tried to tell the driver that I was in a wrong taxi he was very angry. When I got home I found out that my little brother was in the hospital. I was going to write the paper at 9H00. I went to see him and found that he was seriously injured. I was running out of time. promising to be a fine day for me too. I was very worried because that day was not meant for me.

She pounced on me like a lion. come here right this minute!'' I went meekly to her. She held out her hand and I gave her all the money I had (which was more than R2 by the way). My books flew into the air. a newcomer the right to be more popular than them i. my uniform was dirtied and torn and everybody was having a jolly good time Ð laughing at me. I would even steal the money if I hadn't been given enough at home. I collected my books and went home. So whenever TB saw me she would humiliate. TB did not like this in the least. There appeared TB with her group and I froze because I knew how she liked to show off. One day one of the teacher had sent me to fetch her some water in a bowl. rying (and failing) to cover my face was all I could do. she held me by the ears and pinched them so hard they became red and my eyes filled with tears. When she got tired she let go of me and said.'' I felt so humiliated especially because she was lying. I ran after her crying like a maniac. That was the last day she bullied me. I hit her again and again. She headed straight for me and before I could stop her she had tipped the bowl. Before I could deny it she was already on me with her fists. On my way to the staff room there appeared TB. I simply nodded my head. like a sheep to the slaughter. And so began months of paying two rands every day. but all this was to stop TB's bullying. She let a few days pass and then she saw me in the school tuck-shop she shouted ``Hey Favourite. All the time I was crying. . I just cried and asked for permission to go home. One day on my way from school I was walking with some friends. I bit her. But TB had not been satisfied. She said: ``From today onwards you have to pay a protection fee of R2 a day or you'll curse the day you came to this school. ``That's what becomes of school-girls who fall in love with teachers. I started to collect my books and for one moment I stood still. threaten or bully me in any way she saw it.e. I decided enough was enough. I strangled her. Anyway she headed for me and started accusing me of having an affair with one of the teachers. Is that clear''. I was so angry! I pounched on her before I knew what was happening. all those who were not new in the school. My only crime was that my teachers were fond of me (and to tell the truth I don't know why). But anyway if anything had to be done I was always one to do it. frighten. As she said this.6 because TB singled me out as an object of her hatred. She tried to free herself but I strangled her until she fainted and I released her. Afterall what gave me. Fists and slaps rained down on me in rapid succession. thus spilling the water all over my uniform Ð and then she smiled that horrible smile of hers and I was too shocked to speak and too terrified to tell the teacher.

and/or incoherent overall structure. correct. well chosen language & correct spelling and punctuation C2 Ð clear link to the topic Ð present applicable ideas and elaborate with creative background on the problem Ð refers to only 1 or 2 ideas re topic Ð exemplars not really applicable to core of topic Ð shows good evidence of understanding the meaning and associations with the topic C3 Ð gives a detailed discussion of all aspects of the question Ð has insight into linking creative ideas to core of the topic Ð can apply ideas to evaluate and describe Ð use language to paint a picture Ð good background reading visible C4 in addition to all in C3: Ð convincing information and evidence from a range of readings Ð provides thoughtful and appropriate ideas Ð is able to analyse and evaluate Ð topic is a wellthought through and verified writing Below 45% 45%±49% 45% -49% 50%±59% 60%±69% 55%±64% 65%±74% 75%±80% 75%±80% 80%±100% (1) Assess the two essays by using the assessment grid. intro. good spelling and punctuation F4 Clear. paragraphs. creative ideas. . conclusion. F2 Reasonable structuring of essay in form of paragraphs and flow of ideas. Fluent. (2) Which of the two essays do you think is the better one? Give reasons for your answer. Ideas elaborated. well integrated with topic. sentence structure and spelling average F3 Coherent structure.7 EDAHOD-5/1 Essay assessment grid CONTENT C1 Ð cannot clearly formulate ideas linked to the topic Ð cannot present background on the problem Ð refers to only 1 or 2 ideas re topic Ð exemplars not really applicable to core of topic Ð shows little evidence of understanding the meaning and associations with the topic Form F1writing consists of isolated ideas. Some attempt to use examples. poor spelling rhetoric/.

1 Validity When we say in our daily conversation that something is ``valid''.8 (3) Do you think the opinions of fellow students/colleagues will differ from yours? (4) What percentage would you give the second essay? (5) Do you think other students will differ from you? Here are our thoughts on these questions: (2) We thought the second essay was definitely of a higher standard than the first. is another story (pun intended!).1.1. this learner's performance was measured against the average level of performance of others in the `'normative'' group. This is because these concepts are often discussed in the literature in technical or theoretical terms. which makes them very difficult to understand. all the matrics in the country who wrote English. This is clearly a norm-referenced assessment for purposes of grading. This means that there may be a discrepancy of up to 5 percent between our mark and that of the examiner. The most obvious reasons would be that the second essay is more grammatically correct. (4) Your answers possibly ranged between 50 and 60 percent. 2. that is. Do you agree? (5) It is clear that different people can come up with different marks that would ultimately determine the future success of this learner. According to him. educational or otherwise. validity and reliability are two of the most important aspects of any assessment. we . the external examiner failed this candidate on firstlanguage level.1. 2. however. In other words. the standard was too low and there were too many grammatical mistakes. (3) Although students may phrase their opinions differently and probably elaborate a bit. ranking and comparing. It is also rather captivating and invites one to read on (although it ends rather violently!). we believe most of their reasons would boil down to the same thing. The first essay. displays a richer vocabulary and meets the criteria for a good story or narrative essay. In fact. Yet the two are often the most poorly understood concepts in assessment. We will try to illustrate them in a different way.1 How valid or reliable is the matric exam as an assessment method? According to Lubisi (1999:91).

There is no major difference between the use of the term ``valid'' in daily conversation and the way it is used when talking about assessment in education. It was claimed for the traditional Matric exam that it could actually predict a learner's future academic performance.) (5) What consequences could the assessment have for the learner? (Consequential validity is concerned with equity or fairness in assessment. These questions serve as criteria against which you can measure the examiner's assessment of the first essay. and illustrate the meaning of some difficult concepts regarding validity at the same time. It simply means that their excuse or argument is sound or justifiable. we are going to ask you some questions. This means that an assessment can be more valid in one aspect and less valid in another. For instance. What we need to recognise with regard to educational assessment. Do you agree with this claim?) (4) To what extent will the learner's performance on this assessment correlate with his performance on another assessment that evaluates the same thing? (Concurrent validity refers to the correlation between a learner's performances in two or more assessments. when we consider the same variable or when the same thing is being assessed. people say: ``Maggie gave a valid excuse for not learning for her test''. For ease of reference we will make use of a table: (1) On the face of things. does the mark that the examiner gave look valid? (2) To what extent does the assessment cover the content of the course? Does it cover the content adequately? (This is called content validity. do you think the mark that the examiner gave the learner is valid or not? Give reasons for your answer. however. Learners may be assessed on one chapter when they have in fact gone through ten chapters!) (3) How well does this assessment predict a learner's future performance? (This is referred to as predictive validity. to help you. Let us look at the first essay again. We want you to look at it from various angles and.9 EDAHOD-5/1 often mean that it is sound or justifiable. In this way we hope to stimulate critical thinking. .) Considering the abovementioned questions with regard to validity. is that ``soundness'' or ``validity'' has various dimensions. or ``Izak's argument about the problems around examinations is valid''.

the student must write on a specific topic. . and most rubrics will award some marks to the relevance. cannot be brought into the equation. although the examiner thought differently. Suppose an essay topic required students in deep inland rural areas to write about their experiences when visiting the seaside! (3) We are not sure whether the assessment has predictive validity. However. on that particular day.10 This is not an easy question to answer. yet fails his final Matric exams! If this in fact happened. what do you think could have gone wrong? (5) Consequential validity is a type of validity that has only been identified fairly recently. It is essentially concerned with issues of fairness or equity in assessment and raises the question whether failing English at Matric level should determine whether a student can pursue a course in dancing or the trade of carpentry thereafter. Imagine if this learner had passed English in the record exams and usually gets approximately 50 percent for his essays in class exercises. (4) Concurrent validity is definitely an aspect one should take into account. On first impressions he believed his assessment was sound. therefore. The assessment has little relevance to the actual skills and knowledge needed subsequently and yet has a direct impact on the choices available to the student. although you may disagree with us: (1) On first impressions (face validity) we would possibly have passed this learner. undermining the predictive validity of this form of assessment. it is always possible to improve one's language skills. What do you think? (2) Content validity is not a criterion this assessment can be measured against. depth and insight displayed by the student in her handling of the topic. On the other hand. not specific content which. and could have written informatively and accurately on many other topics. Even if the exam were a true indicator. Failing English at Matric level may suggest that the learner will have difficulty studying through the medium of English at a higher level. Here is what we thought. A lot of different factors may have influenced the learner's performance at that particular time. Suppose the learner simply had no interest in the topics that were set. because writing a narrative essay assesses language skills and a bit of creativity. suppose the learner just had a cold on the day of the exam and so did not perform well.

Of course one is more anxious in a formal exam setting than when doing an ordinary assignment for homework. . From the learners' performance in these tasks. we assume that they would perform the same if we set similar tasks. . When is an assessment reliable? We think it is safe to say that an assessment is reliable if it can be trusted to help us make generalisations about a learner's knowledge. For example: . we often choose specific tasks.1. Surely there is something wrong if two assessors use the same assessment instrument and criteria and award completely different marks for the same work by the same learner? Can one measure reliability? An interesting question. they usually mean that it can be trusted. To what extent would different assessors award the same value to a learner's performance in an assessment activity? Look and compare how we differed from the examiner who assessed the first essay! Which of these criteria can you apply to the examiner's assessment of the first essay? .2 Reliability In our everyday conversations the word ``reliability'' has something to do with trustworthiness. Think about the difference between an essay you had to write for an ordinary homework assignment and one you had to write in a formal exam situation. there are a few criteria that one can apply to assess whether an assessment is reliable or not.11 EDAHOD-5/1 2. Is the learner's performance likely to remain the same if the assessment is done at different times? There are obviously temperamental and other issues that would cause a learner's performance in the same assessment activity to be different at different times. the principle of reliability means much the same as in everyday usage. When people say something is reliable. To what extent would a different sample of similar assessment tasks deliver the same level of performance? When we assess learners. In education. skills and attitudes in a variety of contexts and with minimal variation between the judgements made by a variety of assessors.1. However.

Any final. Our mark differed from the examiner's mark. This form of assessment is highly competitive. Those who met the requirements obtained certificates and thus a passport to all sorts of options in society. without a doubt. Therefore. which means that the teacher was primarily responsible for imparting the knowledge. high-stake examination plays havoc with the nerves and has a negative effect on most learners. but also of monitoring and controlling what was regarded as valuable educational knowledge. So. Tests and exams are summative. . . (3) We often hear of two teachers giving completely different marks for the same essay. . because learners are selected for further career choices and the job market by means of grading and ranking. Final assessment occurred at the end of a course or schooling and was based on the curriculum that was taught. Assessment took the form of an external examination and was therefore set and marked by external agents (examination boards).12 (1) We assume that the considerations mentioned in the first criterion would definitely have had an impact on the reliability of the assessment. the reliability of the assessment would also be affected. The examinations not only served the purposes of selection and grading in the apartheid era. in terms of the second criterion. . Let's summarise what has been noted regarding the Matric exam in the past: . especially with regard to those learners who were disadvantaged in the past. Fundamental to the Matric examination is the concept of . this variability would affect the reliability of the assessment. and this was demonstrated with regard to the first essay. (2) We believe that most learners score a better mark for an essay under relaxed conditions. . the most formal assessment mode being the final Matric examination. . The curriculum was mainly knowledge-driven and therefore input-based. Tests and exams were mainly formal. . . ranking and selection purposes. All these factors raise the question of the validity and reliability of this form of assessment. which means that a final ``summing up'' of the marks is done and the results are often used for grading.

Madaus further argues that because exams impose such high stakes. To stress the ongoing debate about tests and exams. . Compare their reasons with the reasons you gave and see if they are similar or whether they touch on issues you have not thought about in that particular way. In other words. in Lubisi. As you read what they each have to say. He argues that people have so much faith in tests and exams that marks are considered to indicate educational quality. quality education. Why are we still using tests and exams as a form of assessment if their reliability and validity are being questioned? The value of exams is an ongoing debate in education. The choice of media was mainly written forms (such as pencil and paper). For instance.2. 2. instead of using a variety of forms of assessment. According to him. we have decided to highlight some of the views held by two writers. this simply is not true.1 Madaus's arguments against testing Madaus. teachers tend to change the syllabus. In other words. They prepare learners for exams by setting the types of question they are likely to get in their Matric exams. Madaus and Ebel. 2.13 EDAHOD-5/1 `'norms''. teachers narrow down their methods of teaching and assessing.2 Are tests and exams still useful forms of assessment? This must be the next obvious question.1. the performance of all the higher-grade English candidates in the country. Another point Madaus makes is that the high stakes in exams tend to distort the way in which learners are taught. people believe that a school which produces good Matric results must be a school which offers educational quality. Parker and Wedekund (1998:24).1. is opposed to testing and so tends to focus on the detrimental effects of testing on education. teachers will skip those sections that are not for ``exam purposes'' even though they might be very important educationally. Norm-referenced assessment therefore compares learners' performance with the performance of other higher-grade English learners. Performance is measured against a norm for example. Some schools will get learners to ``spot'' and rote-learn for exams Ð which gives them a reputation for high marks but offers little by way of a broad. it is important to consider how they support their arguments. . We are sure that you as students also hold a variety of views on this issue.

Assessment for selection also takes place if a learner chooses to go to university.14 2.2. media and frame of reference serves the purpose in the case of tests and exams. a learner's marks say a lot about the quality of education. In countries like the United States of America. technicon and college courses on the basis of their Matric results. learners write entrance examinations before they are admitted to university. students are selected for university. selection and certification. What type of assessment practice will be appropriate or worthwhile in our current educational approach? Will tests and exams still have a place? What does continuous assessment really mean? These questions will be addressed in the following study unit.1. So the choice of mode (form). That is why this method of assessment fits the purpose. In a school. Finally. and are also powerful means for the inspection and control of the educational process and the school bureaucracy. on the other hand.1. If the learner obtains a Matric exemption and gains a specific number of marks. where we shall be taking you further on the journey of assessment in education.3 Fitness for a purpose From the discussions up till now it is clear that examinations serve to select and monitor. In other words.2 Ebel in defence of tests and exams Ebel in Lubisi et al (1998:26). This selection is based on the learners' performance in various assessment tasks. then our past assessment practice may be regarded as fit for purpose. . According to him. 2. if you only want to test a learner's recall of knowledge for the purposes of grading. she can enrol for certain programmes at university. argues that writers like Madaus are wrong in assuming that the quality of what learners learn is unrelated to the marks they achieve. He argues that it would be unfair to expect learners to be assessed on work they had never been taught to perform. Ebel further asserts that the content tested in high-stakes exams is identified by experts as being important for learners to learn. In South Africa. We will be exploring what outcomes-based assessment entails and why it is more valuable and worthwhile in preparing learners for a fast-changing world and the challenges of life. particularly in terms of an outcomes-based approach. Ebel sees no problem with teachers preparing learners to answer questions similar to those covered by tests and exams.2. So it is in the interest of the latter that teachers should teach the things that will be covered in the exams. You should remember that selection not only happens in an employment situation. learners are often selected to enrol for certain subjects or courses such as Mathematics and Science.

and on what.2. Bertham. Why is this so? Has it got something to do with how we were educated and how. The economy of the country therefore has to grow at a rate comparable to the growth rates of countries in the rest of the world. we were assessed? Did the education system focus on providing the learner with the right skills and attitudes to enter the job market? We need to develop economic capital. 2. money and physical resources as well as ``human'' capital. and the type of learner we produced in the past no longer meets the requirements of our rapidly changing world. In this way. A shocking statistic. Mthiyane and Avery (1999:23). . provide employment for themselves and others (Ndhlovu et al 1999:54). political and social changes in recent years which are driving the new educational policies in our country. Because the context we live in has changed radically. only one was employed. These changes are not necessarily of South Africa's making but economic imperatives driven by global factors.15 EDAHOD-5/1 2. This suggests that our country is not producing people capable of competing with their counterparts in other parts of the world in terms of producing highquality goods cost-effectively.2 THE INFLUENCE OF CONTEXT ON THE EDUCATIONAL SITUATION According to McGregor in Ndhlovu. isn't it? We need to develop and assess entrepreneurial abilities to enable them to start their own businesses.1 The key economic forces that drive our new education system One of the forces that drive our new education system is called globalisation. skills and attitudes (Ndhlovu et al 1999:54). Since South Africa's democratic elections in 1994 we have re-entered the world economy. we have to explore a variety of forms of assessment to ``fit the purpose'' today. It was estimated that for every ten matriculants in 1996. Why is this so? How should the education system respond? Does this mean knowledge is not important any more? Think of reasons for your opinion. people with knowledge. the context we live in has undergone significant economical. But has this happened? It is said that South Africa is currently rated 93rd out of 178 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. It is also said that South Africa as a country has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

(2) Indicate why you think the changes in the South African context will influence the way we teach and assess.3. It is logical. Democracy has also found its way into the school structures. 2. there have also been enormous political changes that are specific to this country. business education and skills such as innovation. ``independent study''. It also reflects a global move towards a world in which the spiritual aspects of our existence are valued. continuous assessment''. (1 Write down what social.3.16 This probably explains the increased emphasis on life skills. This might explain the new policies' emphasis on holism and on educating the whole person. understand and organise information and to use it in solving problems.1 Changes in South Africa's social context The new education system encourages learners to develop attitudes of tolerance and understanding towards people who are different from themselves. particularly segregation and inequality.2 Changes in South Africa's political context Since South Africa's first democratic elections. The emphasis has been on getting rid of the legacies of the past apartheid regime.3 CHANGES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT 2. rather than simply our rational thinking abilities. Do you agree? Education should help learners to find. and . risk taking and problem solving in the new curriculum. It becomes vital for learners to demonstrate that they are able to solve problems. should the focus remain on testing memory of content or should we ``examine'' different things? 2. analyse information and use technology (Ndhlovu et al 1999:55). economical and political changes you can identify that took place after 1994. The social aim is to shift people's attitudes from the prejudice and stereotyping of the apartheid era. therefore. (3) How will you assess learners' skills and attitudes? (4) Will tests and exams be sufficient? Even if we retain tests and exams. that the new policies make frequent reference to ideas like ``thinking skills''. be creative. and ``formative. think critically. select.

tightly controlled bureaucratic system of the past to a more open. Schools are central to building a new culture of tolerance in South Africa. democratic and participatory system. what and how you learned. Visualise the teachers. by promoting tolerance of differences.17 EDAHOD-5/1 school governance is now in the hands of the school community: the parents. ACTIVITY (Suggested time: 15 min) To help you reflect. eliminating racist and sexist attitudes and other prejudices and (promoting) respect for the shared environment (Ndhlovu et al 1999:56). on what and how you were assessed. what and how they taught. and even the classroom organisation and learning environment. is by building more democratic and participatory structures: Another way will be through teaching learners the skills and attitudes that will enable them to participate critically in our new democracy. flexible. not only of our assessment practices but also of changes in the system. educators and learners. why. according to Ndhlovu et al. . This signals a move away from the highly centralised. the curriculum. Simply picture yourself back at school and try to remember yourself as the learner. One way in which this can be achieved. You do not have to look very far to see the effects. you can choose some of the headings and write down some facts under each heading on the board to summarise your experiences at school.

and that some curricular objectives cannot be assessed adequately by traditional methods.18 A few ideas: The teacher takes responsibility for the learners. Many teachers (like yourself. . and could be selected for a particular course of further studies. the assessment was aimed at passing or failing the learner. including its particular assessment practices. Syllabus is content based and broken down into subjects. By implication. content placed in rigid time frame. While we are not completely rejecting traditional modes of assessment. Certification simply meant that learners passed the required standard. democratic South Africa? This does not mean that we should do away completely with tests and exams as means of assessment in the new curriculum. new emphases are appearing and we will have to open our minds and the discussion in order to explore new territories. or not. Yet they are uneasily aware that many of their learners are not best served by the assessment practices they are using. Learners motivated by constant feedback and affirmation of their worth. they may still be useful methods of assessment. perhaps) may not be fully acquainted with the range of assessment possibilities our current education system offers. rigid and non-negotiable. which influences the way we assess. Thus we will be taking the first steps towards a paradigm shift. Today we realise that this form of assessment is of very little value in a fast-changing world. Assessment that is aimed only at passing or failing the learner is of very little value. Although we recognise that tests and exams were ``fit for purpose'' in the past. Can you understand why the past education system. our current education system has a different focus. needed to change? Would the type of learner that this system produced have been able to keep up with such a fast-changing world and meet the economic and other needs of the `'new''. How motivation takes place depends on the personality of the teacher. Assessment is worthwhile only if it enhances the learning process! We have seen that our past assessment practices were aimed at grading. selection and certification and that tests and exams provided the means of measuring whether the learner either made the grade or standard. In fact. curriculum-as-blueprint.

Specific outcomes describe the competence that learners should be able to demonstrate in specific contexts and particular areas of learning at certain levels. which flowed from a vision of a truly democratic South Africa. but also it was unique in many ways.1. on o mi c Sp li tic a l. Te c hn o log o texts ic a l r y. It was similar to models of outcomes-based education found in other countries. Re s u n ity a ce .1 The National Curriculum Statement 2.4. Curriculum 2005 was designed to change the face of education in South Africa. When our educational planners initially went to the drawing board to draw up a plan to implement an outcomes-based approach to education.1 From Curriculum 2005 to the National Curriculum Statement The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 188 of 1996) provides the basis for curriculum change and development in South Africa. Education and the curriculum have an important part to play in realising and developing the full potential of each learner as a citizen of a democratic South Africa. they designed a framework called Curriculum 2005. These critical outcomes laid the foundation for developing more specific outcomes (and all other outcomes).Infrastructure and P s y st e o l ic n ie s a ti o t r uc t u r e a n d Ðs uc cultu o nt e xt s al c re o Ed tion f O H r n ga iza Teaching practice sc ho o l 2.19 EDAHOD-5/1 2. We know that the implementation of Curriculum 2005 was complemented by appropriate OBE teaching. INFRASTRUCTURE AND POLICIES ON ASSESSMENT o u rc es . C o m m T i m e . Part of these strategies was the development of the critical outcomes. learning and assessment strategies. P S o ci i sto Contexts m .4. E cetal cona l.4 THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. .

evidence of achievement was based on performance indicators. the specific outcomes were the focus. as well as inform you about your teaching practice. it will also inform you about your teaching and your learners' learning. . . . OBA uses a set of criteria (as opposed to a norm. together. These include knowledge. which evolves informally and in a noncompetitive way. We refer to this type of assessment as formative assessment. How did you react to all the changes in teaching and assessment? And what about all the new terminology you were confronted with? Did you think the change was worth the effort? . OBA yields information that can help you monitor a learner's progress. This is the whole point of continuous assessment. In this way you can monitor your learners' progress as well as adapt your teaching approach on an ongoing basis. That is why assessment can be described as a process. When summative assessment is well-developed and matched to individual learners. it can include summative assessment Ð but only to the extent that it enables you to sum up the extent of the learners' progress. . Assessment must be built into a regular pattern of classroom activities as a cycle of plan-do-assess-review. Therefore Curriculum . assisted the assessor and learner in understanding what needed to be achieved. which were elements of the assessment criteria. such as the performance of other learners) as the basis of assessment. . The word ``outcomes'' in OBA refers to the things we want our learners to know and be able to do by the end of a learning programme. skills and attitudes. Furthermore. You must have felt exactly the same way at some stage.20 For the purpose of assessment in the classroom. The specific outcomes were accompanied by assessment criteria and range statements and these. The Constitution provides the basis for curriculum change and development in South Africa. Performance indicators could be seen as the building blocks that gradually constructed the assessment criteria for a particular specific outcome. . Think about your initial experience of OBE. Although OBA is of a more formative nature. This type of assessment is broadly known as criterionreferenced assessment.

learning and assessment strategies. (4) Write down a valued judgement on whether OBA practices meet the demands of current education trends and a rapidly changing world. . assessment criteria. The education planners have taken into account our confusion and frustrations with all the . . Give reasons for your answer. The Revised National Curriculum Statement has done away with the specific outcomes. assessment should concentrate on selected learning outcomes and be built into the process of teaching and learning from the start. if applied appropriately.4. The Revised National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for Curriculum 2005 (C2005 is still the overall name of the curriculum) has been put in place to improve on the original Curriculum 2005. can still be a worthwhile method of assessment. easier to work with and easier to assess. range statements and performance indicators. the activities should be realistic and authentic and match the desired learning outcomes. . We have to reflect. (3) Explain why summative assessment. This is why the implementation of the new curriculum is a dynamic process. as this will determine the best method of assessment. ACTIVITY (1) Explain what you understand as the main purpose of OBA. 2. (2) Compare the characteristics of OBA to the characteristics of traditional assessment practices and write some notes on your comparison. modify and adapt continuously in order to improve things when necessary. it does not have to be cast in stone. There are a few basic principles of assessment that we should uphold when planning an assessment. These outcomes laid the foundation for developing more specific outcomes. because these outcomes are fewer.2 Change as a process When one plans and implements something as important as a new curriculum for the first time. Part of these strategies was the development of the critical outcomes which flowed from a vision of a truly democratic South Africa. Any assessment should have a clear focus and purpose. and it should be learner paced and learner centred. range statements and performance indicators and replaced them with learning outcomes and assessment standards. assessment criteria.21 EDAHOD-5/1 2005 was implemented and complemented by appropriate OBE teaching.

The core content and concepts that have to be covered in each phase are listed within these subareas. The reason may be knowledge. . 2. Learning outcomes are usually more general and there are fewer of them. assessment structure or methods but no change on the part of the participants or institutional settings. and replaced them with more understandable learning outcomes and assessment standards. The revised NCS also stipulates the core content that must be covered in each phase. adaptability. . This may happen because of resistance to change or inadequate help for the implementer.2. . performance indicators and so on. . and they are now called . range statements. The main reason is maybe that implementation per se is a dynamic organisational process that would be influenced by goals. flexibility and openness (or not) to application. Within each area there are subareas. Each learning outcome will have assessment standards. organisational structure and even the beliefs of the participants.1 Reaction to change Teachers may react in different ways to ``change''. . support to implement.22 specific outcomes.4. have its own learning outcomes. It's therefore clear that implementation of change does not merely involve the direct and straightforward application of an educational plan. commitment. Languages Mathematics Natural Sciences Social Sciences Arts and Culture Life Orientation Economic and Management Sciences Technology Each learning area will. methods. The content is outlined in the document and is divided into various areas of knowledge. The difficult and sometimes tongue-twisting names for the eight learning areas have also been simplified. in future. which will guide the assessment process and indicate which of the content can be used as a basis for developing the outcome. a Co-optation as reaction to change Co-optation signifies adaptation of the teaching strategies. This means that some strategies would only be modified to conform in a pro forma ``face-value'' fashion to the traditional practice. . . contexts. These outcomes should be easier to work with and easier to assess. .

For this reason we require a kind of assessment that assesses more than just content. Doing this can be exciting. . 2. This means that the implementation is characterised by a process of mutual adaptation in which the structures. methods. The questions we shall pose. The easy way out would be to carry on with the familiar traditional practice and structure. encompassing knowledge. In this study unit we explore the types of assessment practice that are adequate to the challenges of a fast-changing world. are designed to engage your participation and structure the learning process in a meaningful way. settings. We will provide you with some stimulating and thought-provoking analogies. It should capture whole and integrated performances. skills and attitudes. cases studies and examples.23 b Non-implementation as reaction to change EDAHOD-5/1 Teachers may be so scared of the change or the results of change that they decide not to apply it at all. we would like to assess a learner's competence in an integrated way. layer by layer. c Mutual adaptation as reaction to change Mutual adaptation occurs where the implementation was successful and there is visible and significant change in the participant's attitudes. scenarios. In other words. This is what OBA is all about. I would ask such a person to actually drive the car and measure her competence against indicators like ``he is able to pull away on a hill'' and ``he is able to change from first to second gear''. would you assess that person by giving her a written test on road signs? I wouldn't. strategies. and so forth are modified to suit the needs and interests of participants and in which participants change to meet the requirements. This is what we will attempt to do in this study unit Ð help you explore OBA in an adventurous spirit. skills and behaviour. Our aim is to build your knowledge. as well as the activities you will be required to do. We would like our assessment to focus on empowering the learner.5 OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION AND ASSESSMENT INTRODUCTION If you were interested in knowing whether someone could drive. especially if we tackle the challenges of understanding new policies and confusing terminology in an adventurous spirit.

and that which you already know and can do will make more sense to you and ultimately form a meaningful whole. The same thing happens in OBA. However. When you think you have reached your destination. The same is true of learning. You start by deciding on the outcomes you want your learners to reach. you do a final check with them to make sure. You may already know the answers to many of these questions. As they say when you embark on a journey: bon voyage! We would like to start the journey by way of an analogy.) . While the learners are working on these activities. The whole process of finding out where the learners are. Now read the following analogy carefully: Imagine that you are setting out on a journey to a place you have not been to before. you check again for landmarks or signs that will confirm where you are. You start by deciding exactly where you want to go and then plan a route to get there. We must accept that we will not always achieve our planned outcomes. Along the way you keep your route in mind. even with the best-planned journeys we sometimes lose our way and sometimes discover new and unexpected things. When both you and the learners think they have attained the desired standard of performance with regard to the outcome. Each step involves a learning activity that the learners have to do for themselves. it is seeing things in context that makes learning more meaningful. However. and by finding out where your learners are in relation to those outcomes (1) Then you plan a learning programme that will steer them towards the outcomes one step at a time. provided we ask the right questions. and every now and then you check for landmarks or ask directions to make sure that you are still on course. We can deduce a lot about OBA from the analogy. and by the same token we must learn to celebrate the achievement of additional and unforeseen outcomes. This means we want to compare the partial likeness between two things. is called continuous assessment (See Study Unit 4 for more on continuous assessment.24 We hope that your journey into OBA will unfold like a story. you constantly check their progress and give them feedback to ensure that they know how they are getting on. how they're getting along and how far they've got.

5. In other words. to assess your learners' progress towards the desired outcome. progressing well towards that achievement. in effect. skills and attitudes.25 EDAHOD-5/1 2. or having problems. with the focus on knowledge. ACTIVITY (Suggested time: 5 min) Write down what you understand by the term ``outcomes-based''. Do you remember that traditional assessment practices focus mainly on recalling input (knowledge)? OBA assesses knowledge.1 The term ``outcomes-based'' Understanding the term ``outcomes-based'' will help you understand what to assess. Do you recall that traditional assessment is norm-referenced. demonstrations of learning Ð that is. which means that the learners' performance is assessed against the class average? . and also to help you understand difficult terminology and concepts about assessment. OBA uses a set of criteria (as opposed to a norm. These will give us an idea of whether the learner is achieving the outcomes. skills and attitudes with regard to a specific task. They are. The word ``outcomes'' in ``outcomes-based assessment'' refers to the things we want our learners to know and be able to do by the end of a learning programme. You will notice that we compare the characteristics of OBA with traditional assessment practices throughout our discussion. you must provide opportunities for them to demonstrate that they are competent and have acquired the desired knowledge. An outcome includes knowledge. skills and attitudes. Our answers may be a bit longer than yours. That is why we say the assessment model has moved from input-based (knowledge-driven) to outcomes-based. When we are assessing a learner's demonstrations or performances. Here are our thoughts on this question. as we shall be giving you more information to think about. we assess them against assessment criteria. This is a very important concept and the first departure from traditional assessment practices. In this way we hope to review your knowledge of the previous study unit. visible activities performed by learners to show what they have learned. This type of assessment is broadly known as criterion-referenced assessment. such as the performance of other learners) as the basis of assessment. skills and attitudes.

26 The shift to criterion referencing reflects a desire to move away from an assessment system which is primarily designed to select. You can hear a pin drop in the class. Imagine him writing notes on the board with one hand. Keep the Natural Sciences lesson in mind and try to visualise Mr Cele as a facilitator of learning. teaching Science . ACTIVITY Compare the following two classroom situations. A Image of how Mr September teaches and assesses Try to visualise him standing in front of the class. . the textbook in his other hand. towards one which is primarily designed to credit achievement at different levels. because his motto is: sit down. be quiet and listen! B Image of how Mr Cele teaches and assesses Now think of Mr Cele's class and the way he teaches and assesses.. because next week they will be writing a test on this section. The learners know that they dare not ask Mr September any unnecessary questions. The learners are copying the notes from the board about a navigator's compass..

In this way he manages to build their knowledge layer by layer until they are able to classify things and find relationships and are willing to test their ideas through prediction and by applying them to other materials. like watches. Mr Cele gives each group a small red-and-blue bar magnet and some items to test. Continuing the lesson. since these steps apply to all three learning outcomes. Mr Cele facilitates the learning process by means of thought-provoking questions. The learners test to see which items stick to the magnet and then go on to test a variety of other objects. because the learners do not have compasses of their own to refer to and have to rely on their memory of the compass on the table. the learners grow restless and unruly. Changing the plan. He thinks the learners will learn a lot about science if they actually go through the five steps themselves. Analyse the information and come up with solutions. Try out the solutions Evaluate the solutions to find the best one. which work with the earth's magnetic field. Mr Cele begins by asking the learners questions about compasses. Collect information about the problem. but allows the learners to experiment and interact with one another in a meaningful way. using simple science to solve practical problems. but they are not sure how these work. so he moves on to the topic of navigational compasses. He wants to find out more about the particular difficulties they have in order to adapt his lessons and address their needs.27 EDAHOD-5/1 Visualise the learners making their own navigator's compass. Mr Cele's lesson unfolds as follows: Planning the lesson. He is not sure if all the learners have understood the principles of magnetism. He does not provide the answers. The particular activity he has planned does not work too well. After a number of false starts and setbacks. Mr Cele feels confident that the learners have grasped the basic concepts of magnetism. These steps are: Identify the problem. buttons and so on. Starting the lesson. Mr Cele begins by referring to the learning outcomes for the Natural Sciences learning area in the NCS. He has decided to plan his lesson around five basic steps in the scientific process. Mr Cele then tells the learners to write a report on what they have learnt about magnetism up to that point. He then divides the class into groups of four and asks them to write down everything they know about magnets. The . Doing diagnostic assessment.

Instead. ACTIVITY (1) Write down some notes on how teaching and learning take place in Classroom A (Mr September) and Classroom B (Mr Cele) with regard to the following: . (3) Write down some ideas of how assessment was built into the process of teaching and learning from the start in Mr Cele's class. (4) What baseline assessments did he perform? (5) How did he benefit from doing a diagnostic assessment? (6) What formative assessment did Mr Cele do during the lesson? (7) Comment on Mr Cele's methods of assessment. Mr Cele brings along a shoebox full of scrap materials and after some discussion about the earth's magnetic field. while having fun at the same time! Obviously Mr Cele still has to do a summative assessment (see Study Unit 3) to complete the cycle. Do you think they were appropriate or not for the particular purpose and focus of each assessment? (8) If you were the teacher. Remember. lesson preparation teacher activities learner activities classroom setting assessment (2) Explain which one of the classrooms you would associate with OBA? Give reasons for your answer. this form of assessment is aimed at finding out how much the learners have progressed over a period of time.28 lesson is beginning to disintegrate. First the groups discuss at length the problem of how to use a strong permanent magnet to make a magnetic compass needle from a piece of metal. . so Mr Cele decides to abandon this activity. the learners try to make a simple navigational compass themselves. how would you do summative assessment in order to assess the learners' performance up to that point? . Then they try out their ideas and so they continue until they discover that the end of the metal which last touches the S-pole of the permanent magnet becomes the N-pole of the newly magnetised needle. he plans a new activity and draws on what he knows the learners are capable of doing by themselves. They are delighted and start experimenting with even more advanced principles of magnetism. During the next phase. or through doing a particular section of work. . . .

When your assessment activities. you must provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their progress. skills and attitudes your learners will need in order to make progress. then you will be able to decide on how to make the assessment. you also have to know why you are assessing: Are you assessing to find out what the learners already know about the topic (baseline assessment) or are you assessing to find out how they are progressing/getting along (formative assessment)? You may also assess to try and find out why the learners are struggling (diagnostic assessment). so that they knew exactly how well they were doing and where they could improve. Mr Cele's assessment was built into the process of teaching and learning from the start. To assess your learners' progress towards the desired outcome. which means that the teacher had in mind to teach the learners about how people can use simple science to solve practical problems. He organised his teaching around a cycle of plan-do-assess-and-review. This would also tell you more about the appropriateness of a particular method. start by asking yourself what you want to find out. To do this. Your assessment must focus on those desired learning outcomes. or when you have completed the section. which is the whole point of continuous assessment. Mr Cele's assessment activities ultimately matched the desired learning outcomes. with a clear purpose in mind. As much as you need to have clarity about what you are trying to assess. If you know what you are assessing and why you are assessing. techniques.29 EDAHOD-5/1 2. We know how Mr Diphoko has applied these assessments throughout his lesson. This implies that a variety of methods can be used. The focus and purpose of an assessment determines the best method. Go back and look again at the various methods that Mr Cele used and you will be able to infer why he used those methods and what he was assessing. tools and methods get learners to do things that clearly form part of a particular outcome. you may assess the learners to find out whether they have made satisfactory progress (summative assessment). you gain accurate and reliable information about how your learners are progressing towards that outcome. . This is the what part of assessment. Mr Cele's assessment has a clear purpose.6 REFLECTION ON THE CASE STUDY Mr Cele's assessment has a clear focus. When planning an educational assessment. consider what knowledge. This enabled him to give the learners constructive feedback on their work.

This makes the activity more interesting and more challenging to the learners. Authentic activities are those that closely resemble the things people do in ``real life''.30 The more realistic and ``authentic'' an assessment activity is. . the more likely it is to produce accurate and reliable information.

or C or whatever. Teachers read learners' work and assign a grade or mark to indicate the value of the work. By allocating grades to the work. The education system allows entrance to higher education depending on Matric or Grade 12 results. B. Educators should always be able to say why they assess. learners should prove their competence by passing all tests and examinations.1. Languages or Science. It's also possible to decide whether a learner passes or fails that specific subject at a particular grade by adding up the number of marks he has accumulated. Learners performing well in a particular field would be selected. select and so forth. . 3. who will benefit from the assessment and why a particular form of assessment was chosen. To be promoted to a higher level. it is possible to sort the learners according to their performance. The underlying principle in selecting and promotion is to keep the group more or less at a similar level and to facilitate teaching from the front. 3.1 CHOOSING A PURPOSE FOR ASSESSMENT The Department of Education (DoE) has indicated on more than one occasion that assessment could be used to diagnose. This means that the teacher forms a judgement as to whether the work deserves an A.1. but the teacher has to be sure that the purpose would be applicable to the particular field. 3.2 Assessment in order to promote or select The main reason for this way of assessing is to select. for instance.1 Assessment in order to grade or sort Grading is the most common purpose of assessment. grade. content and reason for assessment.31 EDAHOD-5/1 STUDY UNIT 3 Why assess? INTRODUCTION Everyone in the educational field agrees that there should be a reason or purpose for assessment. guide. to complete a project in Environmental Studies.

with the indication that if a learner does well in a particular field.5 Assessment in order to control Assessment for the sake of control is a highly controversial use of assessment! In such cases the teacher will use the assessment as a ``stick'' to control bad behaviour. In OBA this is an extremely unfair practice and should never be part of any assessment. For example. Unfortunately this had exactly the opposite effect on the learner Ð she decided to stop working! Rather than addressing bad behaviour separately from achievement. wellbehaved learners are sometimes rewarded with marks for their good behaviour. careers associated with that field ought to be considered. 3.6 Assessment in order to diagnose Outcomes-based assessment is designed to promote diagnostic assessment: it enables the teacher to adjust teaching to where the learners are. and to plan how to teach and assess further. 3. 3. they will do well in something else as well. On the other hand. if learners are doing well.3 Assessment in order to evaluate Schools and training institutions are judged by the performance of the learners. if learners do well in that particular assessment.4 Assessment in order to predict Existing assessment tools are used for the purpose of prediction. therefore society often uses the results to evaluate the quality of education. A variety of tasks designed to find out where learners are struggling will help the teacher change the teaching strategy so as to make teaching and learning more effective. . Teachers may also evaluate their own teaching according to the performance of the learners.32 3. For instance.1. In other words. assessment in order to control is still sometimes used for ill-disciplined learners by marking their work strictly. a learner ``underachieved'' in the eyes of the teachers in a particular school. The teachers decided to mark her down in an attempt to make her work harder and achieve according to her ability. Career guidance leans heavily on prediction for future career options.1.1.1. a school with a high Matric pass rate will be seen as a ``good'' school and the teaching will be considered effective and of a high standard. teachers would feel that their teaching is effective.

1.7 Assessment in order to guide and motivate Teachers want their learners to do well! By giving positive reinforcement. selection. then any teaching or support during an assessment task is considered ``unfair'' because it helps learners to do better than they should.2. Many teachers do formative assessment even if they don't use the term.2. Summative assessment is often done at the end of a programme to sum up what the learner has achieved. ``I will teach you something and then test how well you've learnt it''. In class this means using tests as a basis for further learning. 3. If all assessment is summative.1 Summative assessment Summative assessment is known as the traditional mode of assessment where a judgement is made. prediction and control. if not always in reality. In this manner assessment becomes an integral part of teaching. or doing informal assessment during group work or while the learners are busy with a project. Summative assessment is used chiefly for grading. great care is taken to provide accurate information and judgement about a learner's ability Ð especially when the consequences are important.1. 3.1. teachers can use assessment to create a stimulating environment that encourages learners to learn while at the same time guiding their progress.1. In this way learners become self-motivated to learn more and better and to master the next step. but assessment for learning involves integrating the three. Traditionally teaching. learning and assessment have been kept separate.33 EDAHOD-5/1 3. Central to summative assessment is the idea. This is usually done in the form of a mark indicating the learner's level of competence.8 Assessment in order to learn Assessment for learning underlines the entire approach of the Curriculum 2005 Assessment Policy Document. This is possible when learners are given credit for what they can do rather than being penalised for what they have not yet mastered.2 Formative assessment Formative assessment is designed to support the learner's development and to provide feedback that shapes the teaching and learning process. 3. It separates teaching and assessment in time as well as in concept. . Teachers use it to diagnose problems and make the learning more effective.1 Approaches to assessment 3.2 KEY CONCEPTS IN ASSESSMENT 3. In theory. hence assessment for learning.2. as in the case of promotion to a higher grade or obtaining a certificate.

Unfortunately. To illustrate: A class undertakes a Science project. however. If. They are a valid means of assessing the set criteria. the assessment is used to decide whether or not a certain outcome has been achieved. As you can see. it will also tell you more about your teaching and your learners' learning. and they comply with the requirements of OBA. or listening carefully while a learner is reading. There are strong arguments in favour of using them. Formative assessment is used chiefly in diagnosing. the results of the same means of assessment can be used in a formative and a summative way. we have to acknowledge that assessment shapes and forms the learning process as well. Therefore we say OBA is formative by nature but can include summative assessment. however. but they can offer an opportunity for learners to demonstrate what they have learnt. For this reason. provided they are not the only means of assessment used. In some ways it turns the traditional logic of assessment on its head. Instead of thinking of assessment as always summative and always a test. it is called summative assessment. This practice has led to strong criticism of summative assessments. or looking over the shoulder of a learner who is writing. 3. If the assessment is intended to find out who needs special help in Science.2 Assessment involves comparison Any assessment scheme works by comparing the Performance of an individual with something else Ð Dylan William . summative tests and exams are often used to test learners' recall of knowledge only. To some people it might appear that OBA has done away with tests and exams. It is important to keep in mind that summative and formative assessment support each other in the teaching-learning process.2. They use such clues to build a theory about the learner's level of competence. It involves a teacher in looking for clues when listening to group work. formative assessment happens informally and at all times. The reply to this is that there is no reason why tests and exams should not be used to test the achievement of outcomes.34 These teachers watch out to see which learners are struggling and which are coping. They know when to adjust their teaching methods to meet the needs of learners: it's just that they don't record these observations formally. motivating and learning. When summative assessment is well developed and matched to individual learners. it is called formative assessment.

It is clear. there would be no spread in the results. how well or far the soccer player is able to kick the ball). you pass.2.2. another is heading the ball) and the second refers to the standard or level of performance (for example. so that most learners would score around the class average (60±65%) while some get A's and E's. or for different levels of competence in swimming or athletics. The teacher judges how well the learner performed compared with the performance of the group. If everybody were able to answer a particular question correctly. you must try again. It means that questions and tests should be designed in such a way as to ensure that there is a spread of marks. . producing some distinctions some failures and a whole lot of learners in the middle: 50±65%. Criterion-referencing is the practice of comparing a learner's performance with a well-defined standard (criterion).35 EDAHOD-5/1 We normally compare a learner's performance with one of two types of ``something else'': The norm set by others in the group. in other words. the teacher compares the learner's performance with that of other learners or the `'norm''. These criteria can be explained to the learners and are clearly indicated in the marking memorandum for that task. 3. If you reach the required standard. if you have not reached it. Statistical analysis therefore developed the theory that `'norm'' means a regular distribution of test results in any context. then. Teachers check whether the learner has achieved an identified level of achievement by ascertaining whether the set criteria have been met. In criterion-referenced assessment. what is worth a B. The question here is to decide what is `'normal''. One refers to types of competence (for example. the word ``criterion'' can have either or both of these meanings. The average performance of the class sets the standard.2 Criterion-referenced assessment The word ``criterion'' has two meanings in the English language. This means that a ``good'' test will spread the learners.2. certificates awarded for playing instruments. Standards and criteria.1 Norm-referenced assessment By using norm-referenced assessment. This has some major implications for the design of tests. that criterion-referenced assessments record positive achievements at different levels Ð for instance. and so forth. Teaching contexts the world over are so diverse that a single standard cannot be taken as the `'norm''. This actually means that there are clear criteria described and defined to indicate what level of achievement is worth an A. which means comparing the learner's performance to what is normally expected from people in that group.2. one type of competence for a soccer player is being able to kick the ball. 3.

. As Firth and Macintosh (1984) note: A swimming test demands certain levels of performance and is ostensibly criterion-referenced. The educator explained that she had marked it out of 20 and subtracted a mark for each spelling. This reflects a desire to move away from an assessment system which is primarily designed to select toward one which is primarily designed to give credit for achievement at different levels. Criterion referencing and norm referencing are not mutually exclusive. Make it interesting.36 Criterion-referenced school assignments and examinations try to provide measurable criteria. The work was returned and the learner was puzzled by her very poor mark. The shift from norm-referenced to criterion-referenced assessment is part of an international trend in education. which implies that if a swimmer were to set a new world record. so that learners know exactly what will be assessed and what proportion of credit will be allocated to particular efforts.'' A learner wrote a very interesting story. This means that anyone who meets the criteria set for a field of knowledge and skill can pass the subject. The assessment criteria in criterion referencing are quite explicit. Similarly. the criteria for matching that record would have to be adapted. It is also appropriate to the changes that are happening in our society at the moment. In practice. That learner was very unhappy with the result of the assessment and was discouraged from trying to write interesting stories. smell the damp and share the fear in the story. stretching her vocabulary. every educator should be able to explain results with reference to the stated criteria. punctuation or grammar mistake. For example. assessment and evaluation processes tend to involve elements of both approaches. so that every learner should be able to understand how the work is assessed. using all her creative powers to create a powerful atmosphere. so that a learner's progress can be monitored and particular achievements acknowledged. Those who read the story could feel the loneliness. yet the criteria can change with improvements in levels of performance. An example An educator told her class: ``Write a story with the title `Alone in the forest'. Criteria are set with the cooperation of the learners before an assignment or test. Criterion referencing is also used to bring the learner into the assessment process. the qualifying times for the Olympic Games are governed by the norm.

Everyone seems able to achieve the outcome (to add and subtract money. Are we assessing what we think we are assessing? In the past we often tested learners. We did not think very precisely about what we were assessing. to find out.37 EDAHOD-5/1 What criteria did the examiner use? What criteria did she give the learners? Was the assessment fair? Imagine if the educator had said: ``Write an interesting story. A case study in Maths Mr Ludritz's class has been working with the commercial value of money. allocated marks. The test looks something like this: . The learners have role-played shopping. and then made sure that there was a range of marks. Mr Ludritz. Mr Ludritz wants to find out how much the children have learned. so he has designed a test. I will mark your writing as follows: Assessment criteria Creative use of language Expressing feelings clearly Punctuation Spelling Total mark Mark 20 5 5 5 5 20 Had the learner then seen the assessment. but our strategy actually assessed something else. give change and calculate sums to the value of 100) in these ``pretend'' real-life contexts. working out the total cost of shopping lists and doing some calculations. What often happened was that we thought we were assessing one thing. What do we mean by this statement? Let us consider the experience of a Maths educator. she would have understood what her strong and weak points were.

Let us take a look at what happened here. Mr Ludritz was doing a good job. Mrs Ngwenya. He could then simply have observed his learners in their games and decided who was using money well and who was not. His colleague. The test introduced too many things at the same time.98 R22. Fruit: Cereal: Canned food: Bread and buns: Tea and coffee: Milk: R43. how much would you have to pay for 20 of the same workbooks? Mr Ludritz is pleased with the test he has compiled.80 R41. .00 and had to fill up the car as well.68 R11.30 each. . . He took a class list and put each of his outcomes in columns next to the names. How did Mr Ludritz adapt his assessment technique? He made a list. . But the best way to assess whether his outcomes have been achieved is to get the learners to use money. but nearly all the children have done badly. tells him this proves that his practical.45 R34. He had moved too quickly from the skill of manipulating money to the skill of adding figures that represent money (the calculations in the test).60 How much did you pay for all the groceries? (2) You have bought groceries for R187. You have R250 in your purse.60 R10. He cannot. explain the poor results. Mr Ludritz knows that this is not true. because he has seen the children handling and calculating the play money correctly. laying solid foundations for a genuine understanding of the manipulation of figures representing money. noting down the different things he wanted his learners to be able to understand and do. hands-on approach to Maths is not working.38 Maths test Grade 9 (1) You have bought the following items: . How much petrol can you buy? (3) If you bought 12 workbooks and paid R2. something like this: . . however. He did not need a written test! So Mr Ludritz's problem was that the test he set did not test what the children had been learning to do.

2. . Instead. He is integrating assessment into his teaching. He is dedicated and does good preparation for his lessons. His learners experience him as a teacher .39 Outcomes Knows how to add rands Can add rands and cents Can read. asking questions and making notes against his check list. He has also left a space on his check list for comments. In general terms it means that the teacher cannot assess content and skills which were not taught. He puts a tick next to the child's name when he is satisfied that one of his selected assessment criteria has been met. .3 Fairness in assessment 3. Think about the following: Mr Botwick is a Mathematics teacher.1 Curriculum fidelity Curriculum fidelity is a requirement for fairness in assessment and means that there ought to be a clear relationship between what is taught (curriculum). He is using a form of criterion-referenced testing. 3. he assesses the children constantly by observing them at work. how it is taught (teaching processes) and assessment. interpret word sums correctly Can subtract totals Can multiply and find the correct total Name Fikile Tsepho Karin Siphiwe Á Morne EDAHOD-5/1 During the next two lessons. In other words. Mr Ludritz is doing three key things in his adaptation: . he did not just allocate a mark in some arbitrary way. that a teacher cannot test Grade 10 learners on Grade 12 work Ð unless your purpose with the assessment is diagnostic (to find out what the learners are capable of).2. he assessed his learners' performance against a list of criteria which he believed they should meet in order to achieve his outcome. He is making more use of observation as a form of assessment. listening to their communications with each other.3. because he has found that he sometimes wants to add a note (because people often learn things that are not in the educator's plan). It means. for instance.

There would be learners as well who like music. Therefore we can say that he unfortunately did not adhere to the requirement of curriculum fidelity. He is a skilled teacher. Usually teachers are aware that different learners have different learning styles.3. as in the Grade 12 or Matriculation exam. The reason? He suffered so badly from test and exam anxiety that he struggled to finish tests and exams. Mr Botwick's learners didn't perform well. many teachers forget about individual learning styles when they teach and assess. writing songs or designing posters. Other learners like to act or write a play which illustrates that the new learning works for them. externally marked and externally moderated. He involves learners in class with practical activities.2 Diversity and opportunity The application of diversity and opportunity in assessment means that all learners must have maximum opportunity to reveal what they know and understand and what they can do (Parker & Rennie 1998:898). Mr Botwick realised a bit late that he would not be able to complete all the subject content in the syllabus with his learners and therefore left out sections of the work.40 who would do his utmost to enable them to understand and apply concepts. Some learners can learn on their own. concerned about the performance of learners. competitive. The final exam at the end of the year included questions on the whole syllabus. externally set. Although Mr Botwick felt very bad about the situation. The argument in favour of such formal assessment is that it is objective. hands-on designer and planner the .2. Unfortunately. The most extreme sort of formal assessment tasks are paper and pencil tests which are timed. because none could answer the questions on the sections they were not familiar with. written in a public hall. Some can construct their knowledge by designing and some by building models. For the above reasons. he couldn't change anything at that stage. doesn't favour anybody in particular and is therefore fair. For Mr Botwick it was difficult to achieve curriculum fidelity. because the design of the assessment task was out of his hands. simply by debate. But is it really fair? There are many examples of people like the architect who took 8 years to finish the 4-year degree. There was no question about his competence in the subject: he was considered the best practical. 3. the success that learners can achieve will to some extent depend on the assessment task they are given and not only on their skill and knowledge. but still there is no relationship (congruence) between Mr Botwick's teaching and the assessment done.

future employers Ð anyone who might be affected by the way in which learners are assessed. But values in South Africa have changed. Lynn Joffe (1993:238±239) describes in her book Inventing knowledge.3 Values and ethics Assessment reflects the social values of those who make the assessment. schools. a way of giving access to higher education to some and denying it to others. Use the following questions and comments to guide you through your reading. changes in assessment need to reflect the social values of all stakeholders in the process.2. Remember that although the issues raised in the article are about Science teaching. What is more important to future employers: the ability to remember facts or the ability to be self-motivated. and differences will disappear gradually. ACTIVITY Read the article ``Equitable assessment'' by Parker and Rennie (Addendum A). and now access for all has become vital. . This change in social values is generating a change in assessment mode. contests in curriculum construction how Australian employers would like their potential employees to be able to do practical ``maths-for-everydaylife''. These outcomes may bridge the gap between employers and schools. teachers. but it is offered to slower learners. In South Africa assessment has traditionally been used as a gatekeeper. Up to this point we have mentioned three requirements of fair . schools and the workplace appear to attach importance to different aspects of assessment. 3. After many discussions in the union and employer workshops in the nineties. is not formally assessed and is not valued in the school system. such as is being proposed by Curriculum 2005. he probably would have had a far happier university experience. She comments on the irony that there is such a course available. work in groups and resolve conflicts? The workplace (see study unit 2) has a need for the development of a higher order of thinking skills which a lot of current assessment trends still does not address. What it means for school-based teacher assessment of learners is to use a variety of tasks which have the same value for stakeholders as external examinations. If he could have been assessed in a more informal way and given credit for what he could do. For example. It is clear that different stakeholders can have different values with regard to assessment. Just before the development of Curriculum 2005.3. Generally speaking. all of them are applicable to all subjects.41 EDAHOD-5/1 department had produced in decades. the Critical Outcomes were adopted as guidelines for all industry training. By stakeholders we mean learners. parents.

3. Teachers should always have a set of criteria by which the learner's performance is measured. Make a list of these issues.3.2. This can be varied by breaking down questions to show exactly what the marks are for. What type of assessment tasks do males tend to prefer? Compare these tasks to what females would prefer and indicate how they differ. . a set of criteria negotiated with the learners or even an assessment grid which is discussed with the learners or otherwise provided as a guide to finishing the project. . .2 as well. should understand what is going on in the assessment.3.4. Study the following illustration and write down your interpretation of the teacher's tasks and how these relate to assessment.) Summarise the main points the authors make about the use of results.2 as well). 4.1 as well. . work sheet or whatever.2.1.2. It can include allocating marks to questions in a written test instead of just allocating a mark to the whole test.42 assessment.4 Transparency Transparency means that all stakeholders. Describe your assessment situation in relation to what you've read about gender preferences. (See Unit 4. 3. 3.1.4. Write down two which you consider very important and give reasons for your choice. There are three issues mentioned and discussed in the section ``The influence of the test-taking situation''. (See Unit 4.3. This could be a marking memorandum. Being transparent is often an issue of communication.). Diversity and opportunity are especially important in the South African context.3 THE TEACHER AND ASSESSMENT The question of the teacher's position in the teaching/learning situation and the purpose of assessment still leads to debates. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. How does your experience in the classroom relate to what the authors are saying? Gender issues are discussed in ``The influence of the response format of assessment tasks''.3. especially the learners. .2. An important way of achieving transparency is through criterionreferencing (see Unit 3.

plan and plan again.43 EDAHOD-5/1 Teacher Learner Learner Teachinglearning situation Learner Content It is clear that teaching. The method of assessment will depend on where the task fits into the teaching sequence and what kind of information is wanted. relating to different contexts. A fair task provides equal opportunities for all learners. A single task. . interests and language. combine the functions of teaching. This gives more learners opportunities to show what they can do. Always seek balance in your programme with regard to types of . Use a variety of tasks Ð for instance. in order to achieve such an enhanced situation. the teacher will not be so concerned about actually presenting the argument in this particular task. learning styles. . can for instance. Design tasks that are authentic. Ensure that learners know what they are to do. This hand-in-hand relationship will lead to an enhanced teaching-learning situation. and of course it better addresses the different dimensions of competence. learning and assessment. requiring different modes of communication and thinking. . regardless of their ability. select a small number of outcomes (or even assessment criteria) as so-called ``focus outcomes''. formal and informal.'' By implication. learning and assessment are inseparable. For example: ``In this activity I will be looking especially at your ability to plan an argument. what are the time lines for the process and how they will be assessed. Design tasks that are fair to all learners. which means that these tasks ought to be appropriate to the learners' experience and the particular learning areas concerned. . organise ideas and give evidence that will support your argument. A good assessment task reveals what learners know and can do. . which parts of the process are their responsibility. When designing a task. One has to remember that. open and closed questions and tasks. What should be the teacher's guidelines when planning assessment? . Keep outcomes in mind at all times. the teacher has to plan.

You should organise your teaching around a cycle like this: . employers) see the task as meaningful? (12) Will the task be meaningful. parents. Always keep in mind what is manageable for teacher and learner. all in all. Draw up some grids and schemes that enable you as the teacher to check the variety of tasks and the balance across outcomes within a learning programme.1 Planning an assessment cycle We have seen that formative and summative assessment can have a ``teaching'' function. A good teacher constantly checks learners' progress and modifies teaching plans to meet the learners' needs. . or do you subtract marks for things like handwriting and behaviour? (5) Is the learner familiar with the type of task? (6) Does the task use authentic. or if the learners themselves are involved in the assessment of their tasks. . school. engaging learners so that they will be motivated to show their capabilities? . the teaching and learning situation per se! 3. Assess the things that are important. you can conclude that the teacher is the creator and mediator of assessment which is. outcomes. not merely aspects that are easy to assess or subject content that would ``select or grade'' learners. .44 assessment.3. such as the ones above. After all the comments and questions you can ask yourself. content of and emphases in the learning programme. So assessment is built into the regular pattern of classroom activities. It helps if most of the tasks can be ``marked'' efficiently and easily. Ask the following questions regarding the fairness of a task: (1) Does the task provide the information you intended it to provide? (2) Has the content (or skill) that is being assessed been taught? (3) Does the task enable learners to demonstrate their progress and capabilities? (4) Is the marking memorandum objective. real-world activities? (7) Does the task match an important outcome that reflects a range of complex thinking skills? (8) Does the task test larger areas of the curriculum and higherorder thinking skills at the same time? (9) Is the language level appropriate for the learners? (10) Is the task gender-biased? (11) Will important stakeholders (learners.

gathering information (evidence). 3. CASE STUDY In order to observe and assess while teaching. and so forth. No single method of assessment can serve every purpose or probe every level of learning. She found that her habit of supplying answers when learners could not answer her questions stopped active learning. Now Mrs Ngwenya asks different questions and insists that learners spend some time working them out for themselves. recording the results. for instance.2 The focus and purpose of assessment The most important question that a teacher has to answer is: why am I assessing? If we know why we are assessing and what we are assessing. The learners did not bother trying. rather. then the how will follow. Mrs Ngwenya found that she had to change her style of teaching.45 EDAHOD-5/1 The cycle would include. She only intervened when they seemed really confused and unable to proceed. What is the core of your assessment planning? Make sure from the start what you want to assess and why. she has to ask appropriate and well-planned questions. and to be able to assess the development of the learners' skills and knowledge through observation. It shows that assessment does not come at the end of the teaching and learning process. This is the whole point of continuous assessment. This implies that there must be a variety of methods one can use in assessment. Practising this cycle of plan-do-assess-and-review is the key to developing as a reflexive practitioner. giving feedback to the learners. it is used. It also enables you to give constructive feedback on learners' work. so that they know exactly how well they are doing and where they can improve. Then you will be able to decide how to do the assessment. But in order to do this. They also used to wait for her to tell them what to do next. to guide and direct future teaching and learning by analysing what has taken place and establishing a new cycle of teaching and learning. because they knew she would supply the answers anyway.3. She started giving learners plenty of time and space to work things out for themselves. .

which were denied to others who did not make the grade. identify and solve problems by critical and creative thinking work effectively in a group/team organise and manage themselves responsibly and effectively collect. . To be well equipped for the contexts in which we are living today. Those who met the requirements obtained certificates and thereby a passport to all sorts of options and professions in society. . . We unfortunately still cling to a paradigm of the past in which certain subjects were considered more important than others and in which these subjects held the key to ultimate success. . Read through the following list: Learners should be able to . analyse and critically evaluate information communicate effectively use science and technology effectively and show responsibility towards the environment demonstrate an understanding that the world is a set of related systems and that problems do not exist in isolation explore a variety of strategies for learning explore education and career opportunities develop entrepreneurial abilities be culturally sensitive participate as responsible citizens Do you recognise the above? . .46 STUDY UNIT 4 Effective assessment 4.1 ASSESSING WITH OUTCOMES AND INTEGRATION IN MIND We saw in Study unit 2 that the Matric examination serves the purposes of selection. learning and assessment and the planning of assessment with outcomes in mind. . namely the integration of teaching. . . another paradigm should become part of our thinking with regard to education. . . monitoring and controlling. . grading. which was regarded as valuable educational knowledge that mattered at a particular time.

. they are the seven critical outcomes and five developmental outcomes. demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems Developmental outcomes are also outlined: Learners should . That is why they called them critical outcomes. Critical outcomes are broad. 4. could they prepare a learner for an active life? Can you see why these outcomes are so important? We believe all educators should know them by heart! In fact. .47 EDAHOD-5/1 Yes. make sure you start the planning at grade level. organise and evaluate information communicate effectively use science and technology effectively and critically. .1. work effectively in a group/team solve problems organise and manage their activities responsibly and effectively collect. . because grade teachers plan the learning programme together and that would mean equal assessment as well. . Our policy makers also thought that these outcomes were crucial and should underpin the learning process in all its facets. . one should always keep them in mind in all aspects of teaching and learning.1 Planning to integrate teaching and assessment To plan the integration of teaching and assessment. all learning outcomes should follow from these critical outcomes and they are not restricted to any specific learning context. . learners must be able to indicate that they can . explore a variety of strategies to learn effectively develop responsible citizenship explore educational and career opportunities be sensitive towards cultural issues develop entrepreneurial abilities Do you think these are the types of skills that should be developed in a learner? Do you believe that these skills could help a learner to survive in a fast-changing world? And most importantly. According to these outcomes. . In other words. . because they should direct our teaching and education practices and the development of learning programmes and materials in all learning areas. generic and cross-curricular. These outcomes lay the foundation for developing all other outcomes. and act responsibly towards the environment . .

you can generate and collect evidence that demonstrates that they have reached the outcome. . more immediately achievable outcomes for individual learning programmes and lessons. Select a topic as a basis for developing the outcomes. learning and assessment to empower educators (team teaching) to enrich the different learning approaches with a diversity of input to ensure consistency to ensure a high standard of work throughout the grade to share the work load Do you understand why they say OBE should be a holistic and integrated process? Think about it again. Holistic means that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole! 4. Write down the grade that you teach and the learning area for which you intend to design this learning programme.2. For instance: Grade: 9 Learning area: Social Sciences Topic: Ethnic and cultural groups in SA Step 2: State which outcomes you want your learners to achieve This is quite a complicated task. therefore we need to develop smaller. Previously most educators planned individually. .) . to ensure an integrated approach to teaching.2 Planning the assessment strategy A good place to start is with what you already know and can do. . all the teachers bringing their knowledge and skills ``to the table'' and working together to develop a learning programme. Step 1: Make your selection . In this way we want to help you plan an assessment strategy that is built into teaching and learning from the start. . which means you have to start your sentence with a verb when you write or formulate an outcome. it is important to plan together for the following reasons: .) for this purpose. and then taking it step by step. (See the action words in Bloom's taxonomy (4. This is often where the problem lies.1. This implies action. In grade planning. possibly because we do not have enough verbs at hand to help us with the process. The critical outcomes are very broad.48 This planning requires collaboration. As we go along. Once you have decided what you want the learners to achieve. It requires you to think very broadly and ask yourself quite specifically what you want the learners to achieve.1. . we are going to illustrate each step by means of an example and then ask you to apply that step to your own learning area and topic. We are not all English teachers and may struggle to formulate an outcome. .

The first two categories. survey. We used the verb ``cultivate''. identify. knowledge and comprehension. organise. differentiate. relate. list. justify. examine. have developed entrepreneurial skills . choose/decide. question. develop. You will also have to think carefully about the values and attitudes you would like to instil. summarise. write. set up. categorise. will help you formulate outcomes for the specific content that is required for your learning programme. estimate. apply. arrange. be able to distinguish between the various cultural groups in South Africa (knowledge) . experiment. design. have cultivated cultural awareness and sensitivity (attitudes) . The other categories give you a selection of verbs that will sharpen certain practical skills as well as higher-order thinking skills. classify. formulate. support. construct. discuss. attack. recommend. rate/score. name. define. distinguish. practise. modify. choose. select. insert. prepare. analyse. assess. arrange. predict. dramatise. criticise. infer. compare. calculate. review. locate. integrate. etc Comprehen.Application sion Analysis Evaluation Synthesis Know. discover. create. show. use. argue.49 EDAHOD-5/1 Look at the list of action words. illustrate. judge. . Indicate which of them will be suitable for the following levels of thinking: Knowledge . distinguish. collect. identify. classify. demonstrate. describe. recall. interpret. the learner should Ð . reproduce. draw. assemble. sketch. deduce. Note that each verb elicits a different skill. memorise. plan. compare. We have summarised the learning outcomes for this lesson as follows: By the end of this learning programme. discriminate. explain. indicate. contract. and select a verb that will elicit the specific values and attitudes you want learners to adopt. which implies that we would consciously spend time developing cultural awareness throughout this learning programme.

Do not spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on this section. Step 3: Do a baseline assessment Baseline assessment is the assessment an educator uses at the beginning of a new set of learning activities to find out what the learners already know and can demonstrate. or everyone takes a turn. Step 4: Brainstorm ideas for possible activities for the topic you have selected At this point we would like to generate as many ideas as possible around our chosen topic. For example. (This will indicate the level of demand that is required. say 20 to 30 minutes. .) The assessment standards will also give you an indication of the level of demand that is required and what types of activity to plan. Encourage wild. in order to decide what level of knowledge/instruction/learning to build into the learningexperience plan.50 Note that the last outcome is also an important critical outcome that would be dealt with in various ways. . Establish ground rules such as: Do not criticise. . so that we can develop activities that are really authentic and relevant to the present and future lives of our learners. Brainstorming is an excellent technique to employ. if properly applied. Build on the ideas of others. . List all ideas. There are various steps to this technique which. will give you a wealth of creative ideas to use as activities Ð and you will have a lot of fun at the same time. Preparing a brainstorming session . Go for quantity. You can do baseline assessment in various ways. you can ask questions to determine the depth and scope of your learners' knowledge about the various cultural groups in South Africa. Identify a recorder/facilitator. Determine the brainstorming method: Determine what method you will use Ð for example: shouting out ideas. Do not edit/change what is said. Base the ideas on real-life issues. . so that you will know what to cover in this programme organiser. outrageous ideas. Provide a time limit.

a Social Sciences teacher decided to give the learners a research project. How to adapt ideas and create filters: . . . Step 5: Plan activities from the ideas you have generated The next stage of the brainstorming process is very important: it ``customises'' the ideas you have generated. This would cover the history they need to know about the various cultural groups. This is because teachers from various learning areas put their minds together and one idea leads to another. where they originated and where they are located now''. yet they all relate to the same topic. This may provide you with various ideas when it comes to planning activities. . The EMS teacher further decided that ``setting up a spaza shop'' would be an excellent way of dealing with trade and barter in this programme organiser. To integrate this with Geography. One could depict the population distribution of the various cultural groups in this way. she thought map work would be a good idea.51 EDAHOD-5/1 Remember that ideas can be diverse. . The Maths and EMS teachers took the opportunity of covering graphs thoroughly and offered to plan a work sheet that covered this knowledge. . Substitute/combine ideas Adapt ideas Modify/magnify ideas Put ideas to other uses Eliminate ideas Rearrange ideas Think about the critical outcomes you would like to incorporate in your learning programme. so that appropriate activities can be developed that will take the learners towards the outcome one step at a time. How would teachers from different fields of study interpret the topic? For instance. . ``A brief history of the various cultural groups in South Africa.

otherwise the learners may become bored with the same topic. and dramatise their stories around a ``camp fire''. He thought that the learners could learn how to make a fire without using present-day aids. She also decided that the learners could illustrate the various cultures' musical instruments by making a few of them that could be used in a play or drama. The EMS teacher then asked her if the learners could also create something authentic out of pottery or clay. The Natural Sciences teacher decided to incorporate one of the assessment standards for Grade 8 and turn it into an activity. because it integrated well with the research project the learners had to do for Social Sciences. She thought she could elaborate on the knowledge the learners were acquiring about the various cultural groups and do a collage at the same time. such as beads or clay pots that could be sold in the spaza shop. Can you see how easy it becomes when you collaborate with your colleagues? It not only makes the task much lighter and more meaningful. You may have to adapt the time frame. but also allows for learning area integration and a holistic learning experience. and for oral the learners could do research on some of the beliefs and myths of each cultural group and dramatise these in front of the class.52 The Arts and Culture teacher had quite a few good ideas too. Just imagine how exciting this learning experience could be for teachers as well as learners! Now it is your turn again to plan activities from the ideas you have generated. Step 6: Determine the time frame for the duration of the learning programme The time you need to complete the learning programme should also be taken into account during the filtering stage of the brainstorming session. depending on the magnitude of the learning programme. . thus incorporating various religions and particular ceremonies and festivals as well as famous leaders and political figures of the different cultural groups. She decided that the learners should generate a list of basic human needs that are common to all sciences. now and in the past. The Life Orientation teacher really came up with a bright idea. They could also use their musical instruments in the play. The Languages teacher thought he could let the learners do a written presentation to go with the collage. Try to keep to a three to fourweek time span.

illustrate the above by using a map of South Africa (skill) . Even if grades are given. demonstrate a creative and original flair (skill) . did he/she show perseverance? If you really think about it. Select an appropriate verb to ensure that the learners' knowledge. summarise the essence of where and how each cultural group originated and where they are mainly located today (knowledge) . Do you agree? What would you use? . Make use of the verbs that we listed in Step 2. Remember. This form of assessment is viewed as making judgements about learners' performance/progress by measuring their work against set criteria that are independent of the work of other learners. select applicable information (knowledge) . They will help you to formulate assessment criteria. skills and attitudes are developed. the learners are graded in terms of whether they have satisfied the criteria set for assessment. or no effort at all.53 EDAHOD-5/1 Step 7: Formulate assessment criteria for the activities The choice of activity should make it evident what you want to assess and how you want to assess it. But how does one measure attitude? Educators often ask this question. he or she put in a lot of effort. you should be able to say: Yes. It is important to be very specific and to ensure that the criteria are measurable. Simply ask yourself the following question: did the learner put in some effort. we are talking about criterion-referenced assessment. the most appropriate resources should be selected. or a fair amount of effort. Then select one activity and formulate appropriate assessment criteria for it. Our example Activity: Research project Learners should be able to Ð . In this case we would have selected books or articles from the library as resource material. show effort in their presentation (attitude) Step 8: Decide what resources you will require for each activity After identifying possible links between outcomes and activities and the resources that you have available. Do you agree? Now look at the assessment criteria we have designed for a research project entitled ``A brief history of the origin of the various cultural groups in South Africa''.

Step 9: Design an appropriate assessment strategy Your assessment strategy should include a variety of techniques. or a rubric? These are the tools of assessment. . tools and methods. self-assessment or peer assessment? These are possible methods of assessment. . . because they are designed or selected to generate specific evidence for assessment. encourage learning get the learners interested build a learning experience respect different views on different issues suit the environment of the learners link up with the learners' existing knowledge be appropriate for all learners in the target group encourage positive values and attitudes be free from any bias and stimulate critical and creative thinking ACTIVITY Write down the resources you can use. They are also regarded as assessment techniques. One should then ask: ``Who will be doing the assessing?'' Will it be a group assessment. . for instance. tools and methods to choose from: . So the moment you plan your first activity. . . you should ask the following question from the outset: What assessment technique would be the most applicable for measuring the required outcomes? Would you. You already covered the first step of your assessment strategy when you planned your activities. For example. Simply use these criteria again and select an appropriate assessment tool. the assessment criteria have already been designed for the activity. . Can you see why we say teaching and assessment are linked? When planning a learning programme. use a research project or a written assignment? How would you assess a research project or an assignment? Would you use an observation sheet with assessment criteria. . Remember. we selected a map for Social Sciences and a bar graph for EMS as suitable activities for the learning programme. The following table provides you with a variety of assessment techniques (activities).54 The resources you are going to use should . you have taken the first step in planning your assessment strategy.

exhibition grids/rubric. We have followed a bottom-up approach: we feel it is easier to select the applicable COs and LOs at this point. essay. questions. stories. . panel discussion model. collage. drama. painting mind map. observation. examinations/tests. roleplay. design. assignment. maps. journal. Step 10: Select appropriate critical outcomes and learning outcomes Deciding on the applicable critical outcomes (COs) and learning outcomes (LOs) are the last pieces of the puzzle. posters. tests. We also find it easier to refer to the policy document at this point. descriptions. examination. worksheet. self-reporting. video. scenario. because you have a broader base of knowledge and more information to select the most appropriate COs and LOs. sculpture. table. poetry. physical activity Tools (``how'') observation sheet. questionnaire. You also know what assessment strategy you have designed to evaluate the evidence against the outcomes. portfolio Ð this can be group to learner/group. construction. graph. conferencing. photograph ACTIVITY (1) What assessment tool would be the most appropriate to record your findings about your learners' performance? (2) What assessment method would be the most suitable in this case? Write down your answer and give a reason why you say so. report.55 Techniques (``what'') project. learner to learner. written report EDAHOD-5/1 Methods (``who'') Ð self/peer/teacher/group assessment Ð also interviews. game. charts cassettes. as you know what activities you have planned in order to generate evidence for assessment. learner to group. class to learner Ð self/peer/teacher/group assessment Ð self/peer/teacher/group assessment music/songs. presentation. survey. questions and answers. oral.

If you consistently and systematically preserve clarity of focus regarding your outcomes. brainstorm ideas for possible activities that will take the learner towards the outcome one step at a time? . both you and your learners will most certainly achieve them. determine the approximate time frame for the duration of a learning programme? . plan activities from the ideas you have conceived? . select an appropriate topic for the particular grade and learning area for which you are responsible? . select appropriate COs and LOs for your learning programme from the policy documents? You have reached a very important milestone in the planning process. It may not be at the same time and in the same way for every learner. have high expectations and avoid limiting the learners' opportunities of achieving these outcomes.2 THE ASSESSMENT OF HIGHER-ORDER THINKING SKILLS It is stressed throughout these study units that we have to be aware of the need to assess more than a learner's ability to recall facts or knowledge. do baseline assessment to determine what the learners already know and understand about the topic you have selected? . formulate assessment criteria for the activities you have planned? . determine what resources you will require for each activity? . but it will certainly be worthwhile! 4. can you . formulate the outcomes you want your learners to achieve for the content/topic you have selected? . plan backwards all the way. to assess more than knowledge led Bloom to classify the questions we ask.56 Now that you have worked through this section. design an assessment strategy that generates evidence for assessment and evaluates the applicable evidence against the outcomes? . ever since the 1950s. His motivation was to make teachers aware that they were concentrating on recall questions that encouraged rote . This call. cater for diversity and different learning styles and intelligence? .

Understand structure and motive. apply. Support judgement Decision. Facts in isolation 4. prioritise. advert. justify. solution. match. plan. maps. editorial. identify. translate. select. construct. demonstration. estimate. contact.57 EDAHOD-5/1 learning. report on Demonstrate. judge. define. rate/score. charts. show symbols. relate. Test. criticize. edit. cook. invention Evaluation Judge value of something regarding criteria. Everyone would agree that it's easy to ask questions to test . summarise. diagram. locate Give examples. defence. evaluate. Vocabulary. he hoped to encourage them to teach learners higher-order ``thinking skills'' (cognitive skills). design. name. explain. imagine Judge. create. forecast. recite. Quiz. rating/marks. invent. categorise. use. questionnaire. define. hypothesis. sketch. arrange. give opinion. model. memorise. recall Tasks Lesson plan. Translate to other words Ability to remember something previously learned Drawing. vie wpoint. Exam. response to question. distinguish. poem. artwork. predict. list. rearrange parts. classify. crafts Comprehension Demonstrate a basic understanding of concepts and curriculum. guides. solve. debate. remember. build. 4. argue Investigate. verdict Analysis Understand how parts relate to a whole.2. prospectus Application Recipe. Note fallacies Transfer knowledge learned in one situation to another Survey. choose/decide. song. story. support. locate. revision Knowledge Workbook pages. illustrate. compare.2 Questions and answers Bloom's taxonomy helps us think about the types of questions that teachers use in the classroom situation and in assessment tasks. discuss. critique. recommend. report. interpret Tell.1 Bloom's taxonomy of thinking Taxonomy of thinking Category Synthesis Definition Reform individual parts to make a new whole Action Words Compose.2. By informing teachers about the demands of different types of questions.

Regarding the comprehension task. describe and explain before they can compare. Here are some tips for making the English more accessible.3. which physical quantities .58 recall and ask for information and knowledge. or analysis and evaluation. that we ask learners to do a comprehension task in English or an experimental task in Science: we would need to cover several cognitive skills at the same time. (1) Making sentences short and the vocabulary simple is one way to ensure that the language level of the assessment task is suitable. . Writing questions in complicated English is unfair and discriminates against additional language speakers. So. for instance.3 Instructions and action words Learners should understand what is expected of them. The best way of doing this is to put the main criteria and indicators into the instructions for the task. Then more detailed performance indicators can go into the marking criteria/memorandum. In the past some teachers have thought that one has to start with knowledge at the beginning of the school year and work up to synthesis towards the end of the year. For a vehicle moving in a straight line. it is very important to phrase assessment tasks in such a way that they are clear and easy to understand. which ought not to happen at all! What actually needs to happen is that one should ask all the different types of questions and make sure that there is a balance between them. When learners' main language is not English. we need to . The difficulty lies in asking questions that require thinking. they don't have a chance. . when teachers set a task for learners. check whether learners can recall particular information check whether learners understand the information ask questions in which learners can apply the information challenge learners to look for deeper levels of meaning or to synthesise the new knowledge with things they already know 4.2. . Are knowledge questions not worthwhile then? Of course they are worthwhile! Without knowledge and content there won't be anything to apply Ð that is why it's so important to make sure that learners do understand particular concepts. Compare the following two questions: .2. but if they don't understand the question. 4. Say. that they can define. an own opinion. it should be in writing and should make it clear how the task will be assessed.1 Clear and accessible language Most South African learners are assessed in a language that is not their mother tongue. Learners might well know the answer. recommend and give an own opinion.

Or allow several ways of explaining the same thing. For instance: Competent drivers not only have knowledge and skills but can also assess the traffic. For example. that.4. (3) Avoid words of many syllables. they often forget that they should ask them diagnostic questions first. . For example. Learners won't be able to complete a task successfully if they do not understand the question or the instructions.2.'' (5) Encourage learners to answer in ways with which they feel most comfortable. 4.3. . if that is how they can best express an idea. 4. We plot the velocity versus time graph for the motion. a competent cook.59 EDAHOD-5/1 could be determined by finding the gradient (slope) of its velocity versus time graph at a specific point on the graph? . Use clear language according to the level or grade of the learner. Competence is more than a collection of knowledge and skills. let learners use words in languages other than English. For example: write ``We add sugar to the cup of tea''. Reread tasks after setting to make sure that no steps are left out. it. like giving a definition by using a word or a labelled diagram. Think of a competent driver. Use action words to describe what activities should be part of performing the task. Competence . (4) When using words that refer back to something in the previous sentence Ð words like ``he. who are ``they'' and ``them'' in the following sentence: ``When teachers explain things. A car moves along a straight road. a competent teacher. Which quantity do we get from the slope of the graph at a specified time? (2) It also helps to use active rather than passive voice. write ``Use the remedy'' rather than ``Implement the remedy''. rather than ``Sugar is added to the cup of tea''.'' etc Ð it must be clear what those words are referring to. The following must always be kept in mind when writing instructions: . Link instructions to the set outcomes and the assessment criteria in order to make sure that what is expected will be what is assessed.1 Assessment of competence When assessing competence.2.2 Comprehensive instructions It is of the utmost importance to give a clear indication through the instructions of what is really required or expected in a task. decide what is best and then do it. .4 Activities 4.2. a teacher is looking for what the learner can do. they. For example.

Assessment using complex tasks is commonly called performancebased assessment. invent solutions. For example: learners demonstrate their writing skill. driving in heavy traffic in the rain. it means that learners should work scientifically in investigating a problem. Learners might complete a project where they do the reach. skills and values with perception. a debate. and so forth. The teacher can focus on a particular skill or competence by deciding on a variety of small tasks that give the learners opportunities to demonstrate their competence in different situations. analysing an issue. linked to their interests and . a newspaper article.60 integrates knowledge. To assess a driver's competence. Later they can integrate this competence with others by compiling a report. work in teams. ordering ideas. Learners won't be able to communicate effectively it they only have a small vocabulary. or skills. but to do it practically and show us how to drive. all to achieve a particular purpose. knowledge of traffic signs. spelling and punctuation in a short paragraph. doing a research summary. we want the driver not only to talk about how to drive. we need to observe this particular driver in different situations: Some of the situations can be reactions. Always remember the importance of context. and so on. providing an explanation and so forth. They won't be able to solve a problem if they don't have the knowledge and experience to draw on! a Assessing competence through authentic tasks Authentic tasks mean that the assessment of competence in such cases should be real (genuine) and applicable to the subject and the learners' world. a play. but other situations may be complex and integrative Ð for instance. judgement and decision making. An authentic task in relation to the learners' world means that learners should see the tasks as worth doing. solving a problem or presenting a case. a report or whatever. When authentic in relation to the subject (say. analyse ideas. They might produce a physical model. Furthermore. purpose and decision making in competence without under-valuing knowledge and skills or the need to practise. Science). The projects or performances require integration of knowledge and skills in the context of producing something.

how it relates to their experience and fits into the bigger picture of the topic. Think also how much money you will need between home and work. for instance. Learners can only identify the strategies they will need in order to get information from the text and decide what is important. Indicate in your planning report how long you plan to stay and what your reasons are for going to London. Savings (if any!) b Example 1: Assessing ``Learning how to learn'' The ability to learn is in itself a competence! Usually learners don't think much about their learning strategies. whom to contact about accommodation and transport. draw and talk about the purpose of the activity. . Teachers can promote learners' metacognition (reviewing yourself how you learn) by helping them to become more conscious of their learning skills Ð reflecting on effectiveness. . evaluating strategies and developing particular skills. For example: standing outside the reading process and thinking about strategies not only improves skills in reading. . It is quite difficult to separate learning skills from tasks and the things that are being learnt Ð but it's useful. Tasks that help learners to reflect on and evaluate their competence in learning include the following: i Compare and reflect on learning strategies Learners write.20 per hour) Cost of visiting France and Switzerland during your stay. An authentic task in Maths asks learners to tackle problems they wish to solve in contexts that relate to their interests. . the season in London when you want to go. For instance: You are planning to spend your ``free year'' after Matric in London. it also helps in understanding the content. . . Air tickets: Johannesburg Ð London How much money you will need till you get your first wages Accommodation per week E-mail and cell phone costs Monthly wages when you receive ƒ5 per hour (R11. First describe how you are going about finding information about jobs.61 EDAHOD-5/1 experiences. . Calculate the following: . The teacher can furthermore explain to learners why they have to do certain tasks. they can talk about links and goals.

What would you say? . Imagine. Other learners prefer to start by thinking about what they want to address and then go to the texts to find answers. Concept maps work best when learners have to explain what they have drawn to the teacher and to the other learners. cartoons or tables These activities require learners to look at ideas from different perspectives. Thereafter they will reshuffle points and start to think of their essay plan. learners have to look at the information from different perspectives and re-interpret it. write. like to start reading through the references and underling points that seem important. v Translate information from one form to another In this case the learners can translate information from text to graphic. Thereafter learners identify individually all major and minor ``concepts''. iv Create analogies. vi Create a glossary of terms. analysing a text or planning an experiment. reasons for doing them. For instance: some learners. The two lists can be jumbled. iii Draw mind maps (concept maps) First let the learners brainstorm some aspects. illustrative stories. Later the class can compare the different strategies they have used to approach and complete the essay. information or even experiences in a unit of work. etc about what they found interesting and important. when preparing an essay. learners have to look back over their work and think. table. The learners have to place ``things done'' in logical order. and align the reasons with the things they relate to. in another column. that a visitor came to the class today and wanted to know why it had been worthwhile to do this project. express them in different ways and reorganise them. a summary of ideas or a flow chart of the logic of a unit of work vii Match playing games Teachers can rewrite their plan of work.62 ii Compare different ways of working When solving a problem. viii Reflect and review Just as you found some aspects in this module to rethink and reflect on. giving in one column things the class did and. graph or cartoon. draw. the teacher might raise some different approaches and encourage discussion. or vice versa. Again. role plays. for instance. talk. These review activities can also be imaginative. concepts or information in a particular unit of work or set of concepts.

respect all members' tasks and fulfil own tasks . talents and experience to help each other find new meaning or a new concept. Continuous assessment is simply a matter of being constantly aware of how your learners are developing. respect members of the group . show sensitivity and skill in sharing power. The educator may observe that a learner has met the criteria for achieving a particular outcome by .2. demonstrate active commitment to the group . leadership and work . and keeping a record of this development. accept responsibility for the job the group requires .4. when work is divided up. projects. in doing so. c Example 3: Assessing skills in group work Working in a group is most valuable when all its members are working towards the same goal and. the following criteria will be applicable: Learners should be able to . In linking outcomes to how participation in a group can be assessed. In a group. individuals can learn from one another and can. work from their own perspective. of course. understands and thinks. help the group to structure the task .63 ix Create ``class rules'' or ``recommendations'' EDAHOD-5/1 The class can be asked to reflect on particular activities and develop a set of rules that increases the value of the activity. and so on. This activity may result in rules for group work. be aware of the ``rules'' of group work . understanding text. Evidence of competence (when a learner achieves outcomes) often emerges during normal daily class work or from homework. language and starting point. and what he or she can do. The ability to work in a group is one of the critical outcomes of Curriculum 2005 and therefore teachers have to teach and assess it effectively. learn from and with the group members 4. pooling their knowledge.2 Continuous assessment A question that always comes up in discussion groups is: How can one assess continuously? Can you imagine how much more marking there will be? What do you think? Does continuous assessment mean tests every day? Assessment is a way of finding out what a person knows. contribute themselves and their experience in the context of the group's task or project . be self-directed in cooperation with the others .

``show me how you would . Diagnostic assessment is used to find out more about the exact nature of learners' problems. . should be designed to form a part of active learning and not be treated as a separate activity. . It helps you to find out what the learners already know and can do. It is clear from the above discussions that continuous assessment did not happen in this manner in traditional assessment practices. For example. If the pattern in the classroom is simply one of teach-test-and-move-on. while monitoring the learners' progress in numeracy. the teacher can ask questions like. For example: the teacher. formative assessment takes place on and off throughout a course or period of learning in order to monitor the learners' progress and inform teaching and learning. and you would be repeating the pattern of the traditional approach.. Do you agree? a The cycle of continuous assessment Continuous assessment means that you assess your learners at each critical step of their learning. One cannot assess every child in every lesson. . Therefore it is necessary to design a system where you can observe each learner for a good length of time every two weeks or so.64 .''. even examinations. there will be little opportunity for either you or your learners to improve on our performance. Tests and examinations were treated as totally separate. and provides the teacher with planning information. Baseline assessment is done prior to teaching or at the beginning of a lesson. final activities and were used to see whether the learner had passed or failed! They had very little formative function and usually took place only at the end of the course. or give a spot quiz. Continuous.. drawing or graph assessing any other activity used to teach the learners Mrs Ngwenya had also learned an important practical lesson. may find that a . It is best done quickly and informally. Continuous assessment is about recording your observations of your learners' progress. All assessment. and using this information to see how they learn and to guide you on how you should teach your next lesson. watching the learner working in a group listening to the learner explaining a concept reading the learner's evaluation of a model.

the stigma and so forth . This was the activity: Make a model of a cross-section of a flower. Mrs Preacher and Mr Fortijn worked out a Natural Sciences activity for their learners. giving grades ranging from A to E. using paper. labelling certain identified parts. plasticine and wire. be sure to include the stamen. the same classes were asked to make plasticine models showing a cross-section of the heart. or when the learners are tested. So far we have seen that the nature of outcomes-based assessment favours criterion-referenced. formative and continuous assessment. In both classes. Although this activity dealt with a different topic (the heart as opposed to a flower). But for some reason the learners in Mrs Preacher's class worked quickly and .65 EDAHOD-5/1 particular learner has a problem with place value. while there were one or two good performers (rated A or B) in each class. This could happen informally during the learning programme. it required similar skills. Label the parts. The teacher should remedy the problem immediately. The learners completed their models and the two educators separately evaluated their learners' models.. (and the activity went on to list a number of other things the learners had to include). Did you notice how formative and summative assessments are used in conjunction in this continuous cycle? Ideally. There was very little difference in the performance of the two classes. most learners got a C or D rating. they should be used to offer learners an opportunity of demonstrating what they have learnt and to inform teaching and learning.. The following term. Analyse the following two ways of assessing a Natural Science lesson: Together.

he only used it summatively (to ``sum up'' what learners had learned). She reminded learners of the assessment criteria she was using to award a grade. with good results (a number of them got A's and B's). Because Mrs Preacher used assessment as a teaching . Marking and evaluation Mr Fortijn marked the work and returned it. Mrs Preacher furthermore explained how she had awarded grades. She then started a discussion in which learners were asked to identify models that satisfied the first assessment criterion. After a full period of discussion. She said that in order to receive an A. and their work was compared to the criteria while they were working. The learners each received a grade.66 confidently. someone had to have met all the assessment criteria outlined. The two educators were puzzled. While Mrs Preacher integrated her assessment into her teaching. The only difference between these two educators was in their manner of assessing. she asked questions like: ``Are there any other models that fulfil this indicator better? Why do you say so?'' She also asked if anyone could see a way of improving their own models.) The criteria were as follows: (1) The model must be a cross-section and must be well made. (3) The parts must be labelled correctly. (She had given these to the learners before they did the activity. put all the learners' work on display and invited them to look at all the models carefully. Mr Ntuli understood assessment only as a way to check what learners had learned. But it had a significant impact on their learners' learning. although we are teaching them in the same way?'' they wondered. ``How is it that one class has developed so well while the other has not. To begin the discussion. Mr Fortijn did not allow learners to look at and discuss one another's work. while the performance of the learners in the other class had not improved (the majority still had C's and D's). Their progress was checked and improvements were made along the way. One or two also had short. she returned the work with grades awarded. In other words. and said that any of them who felt puzzled by the grade they had received should speak to her after the lesson. because he felt that this would ``waste time''. on the other hand. written comments on their scripts. Mrs Preacher. (2) The structure of the flower must be correct.

. In other words. As her learners developed the skills to evaluate their own and later each other's work in a fair and reliable way. This indicates that it was formative assessment. Mrs Preacher did not teach first and then stop teaching in order to assess. . Did you also notice how Mrs Preacher integrated teaching and assessment throughout her lesson? Note how she discussed with the learners the way in which she awarded grades and invited learners to discuss their marks with her if they did not agree? A good way to summarise what we have learned so far might be to compare Mr Fortijn's assessment practice with that of Mrs Preacher. ACTIVITY Write some notes on the following: (1) Compare Mr Fortijn's mode of assessment with that of Mrs Preacher. it was criterionreferenced assessment. which is always an excellent note-taking strategy. . . it gave direction to their learning. it was continuous. How did Mrs Preacher demonstrate good OBE assessment practice? .67 EDAHOD-5/1 opportunity. They helped each other to understand the problems they experienced and discussed what they could do about them. they began to take some of the burden of assessment off Mrs Preacher's shoulders. checked how they worked. refer .) Address the following in your answer: . The learners were involved in the assessment process. The learners tried things out. (For ease of reference you can also make use of a table. This means that the learners started with a clear picture of what was required. In this way we will be analysing two types of assessment practice in context and simultaneously we will recap what we have learnt. the choice of frame of reference . Assessment was part of everyday class work and/or homework. her learners began to understand where they had gone wrong and what they could do about it. In other words. Mrs Preacher and her learners started with the assessment criteria that were going to be used to evaluate the work. the choice of mode . the choice of media (If you are unsure of what is meant by the above terms. and improved on them. She could begin to delegate the marking of certain activities to groups of learners (although she still guided the marking).

Can you see that this is a process. try things out and improve on their work. From the above discussions.68 back to the table on the Matric exam in Study Unit 2 to refresh your memory. the main purpose of which was grading. They were also allowed to discuss their grades with her afterwards. Learners were allowed to compare their work to the criteria. do you agree that Mrs Preacher's assessment demonstrates good outcomes-based practice? .) (2) Are all the learners doing the same project? Why would you say that? (3) Which of the two classes did best? What reasons can you give for these learners' better performance? (4) In what ways did Mrs Preacher use the assessment as a teaching opportunity? (5) How did Mrs Preacher demonstrate good OBE assessment practice? Mr Fortijn's choice of assessment mode is clearly summative. Mrs Preacher's assessment. he still awarded grades by marking the work and returning it without any disussion. Mrs Preacher also indicated that she was a reflexive practitioner by going back to the drawing board and improving on her assessment in the second activity. which in this case appears to have been a D. This indicates a more competitive and formal assessment. is of a formative and criterion-referenced nature. on the other hand. The fact that Mr Fortijn would not allow any further debate about the marks also implies that it was a final product. which is implemented informally and in a non-competitive way? From all these characteristics one can also see that Mr Fortijn's assessment leans towards the traditional approach. The main purpose of Mrs Preacher's assessment practice was to inform teaching and learning and monitor the learners' progress. The learners were possibly awarded an A. Both she and her learners started with the assessment criteria that were used to evaluate the work. a C or a D depending on whether they performed above or below the class average. Although his choice of media is practical work (a model). Can you see that he has treated the assessment in the same way as one would mark a test? It may therefore be described as a norm-referenced test.

Consider the last question again.3. In the same classroom you will also find learners from different social and economic backgrounds. 4. This includes preparing alternative activities for learners who have difficulty learning in a particular way.3 FAIRNESS 4. local conditions and circumstances . learners are no longer categorised into higher and standard/lower grades or according to any similar grading system.1 Curriculum fidelity and diversity Am I catering for diversity? Creating filters is a very important aspect of brainstorming and it is particularly important to apply filters when planning a learning programme and assessment strategy. which suggests that males and females tend to excel in different types of test. (See the Parker & Rennie (1998) (Addendum A) article regarding the research. and additional activities for fast learners. societies. In South Africa we have multicultural. We must plan for variety. all the learners for whom a task is intended should be completely familiar with the contexts in which the questions are set.2 Eliminate gender and cultural bias In order to be fair.) As a general rule. Questions you could ask are: Will it be too costly to do? Are the resources available? Is it practical? Will I have enough time to do this? Am I catering for diversity? and so on. In authentic learning and teaching we make use of . The contexts in which questions are set should apply equally to boys and girls. The contexts should not advantage (or disadvantage) one section of the . This step actually goes hand in hand with the previous one and will have an impact on your choice of activities. or be a mixture of ``typical'' male and female context. This includes learners with all sorts of barriers to learning. clubs and indigenous knowledge available from local people. various means of overcoming limitations We can make use of local/community information resources such as community newspapers.69 EDAHOD-5/1 4. In addition.3. In outcomes-based education. learners in the same classroom will have different learning styles and different types of intelligence. assessment tasks need to counteract the potential for gender discrimination. All learners are accommodated in the main stream. multilingual and multi-religious schools as well. Also there should be a range of different task types. the values of different sectors of the community . The only way to cater for all these learners is through authentic teaching and learning.

This applies to cultural differences as well! For instance. Since bungee jumping is completely foreign to many of the rural candidates who wrote the examination. In order to explain. CRITERIA Language Portrayal of stereotypes Appeal to b a c k g ro un d experiences Context MALE ORIENTATION Uses ``he''. social. She asks him to explain to her what is in the bubbles that form in the boiling water. (2) Comment on the gender orientation of this assessment task.70 community above another. Give his explanation. they were disadvantage by this context. ACTIVITY (1) How can you change a task to make it gender inclusive? (a) Study the adapted version of Table 1 (The gender orientation of assessment items) which you saw in the article by Parker and Rennie (Addendum A). uses you Both male and females in active and passive roles Relevant to males and females equally Human. Mike tells Mary to look at the saucer. Mike holds a cold saucer half a meter above the boiling water. How does it portray gender stereotypes and background experiences? How does it try to be gender-inclusive? Is that attempt at inclusivity successful? Give reasons for your answer. females in passive role Relevant to stereotyped male experiences Decontextualised abstract GENDER-INCLUSIVE ORIENTATION Uses the name of a person. ``his'' Males in active role. (i) What will Mary see? (ii) What does Mike say is in the bubbles? (iii) Mike explains to Mary how he deduces what is in the bubbles from his observation of the saucer. After a while. Environmental (b) Read the following assessment question from a Science test: Mary boils eggs on the stove for her brother Mike's breakfast. (3) Rewrite the task so that it has a proper gender-inclusive orientation . a physics problem in a Matriculation examination paper referred to bungee jumping. ``him''.

For example. They should point out misunderstandings or errors as well as good methods or ideas. Over and above the fairness of the assessment. All in all it is designed to make sure that both the examiner and the moderator try to produce a fair examination paper. Marks give learners an indication of where they stand in relation to other learners. The ``moderator'' looks at the assessment paper and the marking memorandum. the mark memorandum is fair Ð in other words.5 USEFUL FEEDBACK The most common form of feedback that learners get is marks. give clear instructions. This kind of comment is formative Ð it helps the teacher and the learner to diagnose problems and address . but it doesn't say anything about the language and format or whether the story was interesting. the mark allocation is accurate After learners have completed the assessment task and the teacher has marked the work. 4. the question paper has no typing and/or spelling errors . then it becomes important for teachers to start giving learners feedback in the form of comments. Therefore we suggest that whenever you design a major assessment task Ð for instance. the moderator needs to check that . For school purposes this moderation process is more informal than in the external. the answers relate to the questions and at the same time make allowance for questions to be answered in a different way to what was intended . What is actually the difference between a mark of 48% and one of 51%? If we want assessment to become more fair and transparent and more suited to the purpose of learning. test higher-order thinking skills.4 ASSESSMENT AND MODERATION When designing an assessment task it is difficult to fir the curriculum. avoid gender or cultural bias. what does an essay mark of 64% actually mean? It only tells me that the essay was above average. national examinations where long check lists must be signed. The moderator may be the head of department or a colleague teaching the same subject and grade. the moderator should re-mark a random selection of tasks just to ensure that the mark memorandum has been used as agreed and that the marking is fair. the layout of the paper is clear and correct . These comments need to point to where learners went wrong and what they did well.71 EDAHOD-5/1 4. and so forth. where the results will be important to learners with regard to grading or promotion Ð it is important that your assessment task should be moderated. but do not give much information about the content of their performance. evaluates them and gives feedback on how they could be improved before the day of assessment.

Question It is useful to ask leading questions that will help the learner to identify and address major weaknesses in his work. The feedback for Task A will certainly influence the learners' approach . For example. formative feedback is a skill that needs to be learnt and practiced. A learner who gets an essay back with spelling corrections as the only ``comments'' is bound to assume that spelling is the important thing that the teacher looked at. Praise learners for specific things they have done well: for instance. Formative feedback should recognise what learners have achieved and point to what comes next. Take note of the following ideas for how to give more constructive feedback: Praise Give positive feedback. The comments need to engage with the content and substance of the particular task. An example could be: ``It's not clear how you've reached the conclusion. especially where you find that nearly all the learners are struggling with a particular concept.72 them. Very interesting story!'' or ``This is a very realistic description Ð well done''. ``Write more neatly''. Rather than talking to each learner individually. is encouraging and makes the learner feel good. ``You've presented the ideas well. it should reward achievement and point to directions of improvement in ways that guide that improvement. but it still doesn't help her to write a better story next time. Encourage End the feedback with a comment which (for instance) will tell the learner that you enjoyed reading the work and that you found useful information in it. To be really useful. .. formative feedback needs to relate to the outcomes assessed. Giving useful. it is more worthwhile to speak to the whole class. is not a useful comment when a learner cannot understand why her solution to a maths problem was not correct. Look at the text again to check whether your explanation really applies. It's also very useful to give general feedback to the whole class. Sometimes more questions and points of discussion will come from the feedback session..'' Through these questions you actually start a ``conversation'' with the learner and guide her to know how to improve in future. A comment like ``a good effort''. What is actually the relation between the community and the team?'' Or ``I disagree with your interpretation of .

Make sure the feedback is clear and practical in order to make it easier for the learner to make use of it in a step-by-step way! .73 EDAHOD-5/1 to the next task. while the positive reinforcement of achievements has a stimulating and attitude-building effect. Making only negative comments could be really demotivating.

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STUDY UNIT 5

Reporting and recording
INTRODUCTION
Many teachers say that the recording and reporting of assessments are among the hardest aspects of the new curriculum to master. However, grappling with these aspects of assessment is like learning to swim. If you look at the deep water and worry whether you will be able to do the right strokes, you probably won't get started at all! On the other hand, if you stay within your depth, so to speak, for the time being and practise the basic strokes, you'll soon feel confident and competent enough to venture into deeper water. This is what we hope to achieve in this study unit. The success of an assessment model depends on sound, meticulous methods of recording and reporting learner achievement over a period of time. It should be organised, informative and constructive, designed to empower learners by indicating their strengths and weaknesses and to enable you to bring about the necessary changes so as to improve learning and teaching. But let us start within your depth and then help you to venture kneedeep. Ultimately we want you to think about ways to improve your own recording and reporting practice so that you can achieve the main purpose of OBA, which is to inform learning and teaching and monitor learners' progress.

5.1 REPORTING ACCORDING TO OUTCOMES
Case study: Let's visit Mr Cele's class from Study Unit 3 again. Notice right from the start how he thinks about recording and reporting. Planning the lesson . Mr Cele began by looking at the policy and noticed that this planning activity incorporated three learning outcomes of the Natural Sciences learning area. . He planned his lessons around five basic steps in the scientific process.

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. Mr Cele also knew that he would shortly have to report on his learners' progress, as it was near the end of the year. He realised that Grade 9 learners' work should be between levels 1 and 4; but most of them were working at level 3 at that stage, although he expected that they would soon be entering level 4. He hoped to achieve this after the planned series of lessons.

Starting the lesson
Mr Cele began by asking questions about compasses, but learners were not sure how these worked. He then divided the class into groups of four and asked them to write down everything they knew about magnets. Notice how he did baseline assessment in order to find out how much learners knew about the topic.

Continuing the lessons
Mr Cele gave each group a small red-and-blue bar magnet and some items to test. He facilitated the learning process by asking thoughtprovoking questions. He allowed learners to explore and experiment until they were able to classify things and find relationships between the magnets' forces, and willing to test their ideas through prediction and through applying them to other materials. Formative assessment was built in throughout this phase, aimed at finding out how learners were getting along with the programme so that Mr Cele could give them constructive feedback on their work while it was still in progress.

Doing diagnostic assessment
Mr Cele then told the learners to write up what they had learnt in the form of a report. In this way he wanted to find out more about particular difficulties they might be having so that he could adapt his lessons to address their needs.

Changing the plan
Mr Cele felt confident that his learners had covered the basic concepts of magnetism, so he moved on to the topic of navigational compasses. The particular activity he had planned did not work too well, because the learners did not have compasses of their own to refer to and had to rely on their memory of the compass on the table. The lesson started to disintegrate, so he decided to abandon the activity. Instead, he planned a new lesson and drew on what he now knew the learners were capable of doing by themselves.

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Formative assessment also informs teaching and learning. Mr Cele had to go back to the drawing board, because he saw that his initial plan did not work.

The next phase
Mr Cele brought along a shoebox full of scrap materials and, after some discussion about the earth's magnetic field and a few tips, he told the learners to make a simple navigator's compass for themselves. The groups discussed the problem of how to use a strong permanent magnet to make a magnetic compass needle from a piece of metal. They then tried out their ideas. The learners discussed different ways of getting their compass needle to turn freely. Soon they were trying out various solutions to that problem.

Assessing the groups' work
Mr Cele had given much thought to how this activity could be assessed. The difficulty he faced was that some of the compasses had involved a lot of effort and looked good, but did not work very well. Others had involved less effort but worked better. Mr Cele recalled that the real purpose of this activity had not been for the learners to make compasses but to develop knowledge and skills that led towards the achievement of the learning outcomes of the NS learning area. He also thought the lessons linked well with a critical outcome (``Learners identify and solve problems ... ... using ... ... creative thinking''). The purpose of the task, then, was not just to make a compass, but to develop problem-solving skills. Mr Cele therefore devised a rating scale, or assessment grid, which focused on the learners' ability to apply scientific knowledge and skills in order to solve a specific problem Ð something like the following:
Level 1 Takes steps towards a good solution. Level 2 Stays with first idea, refines the first steps, moves towards a single solution. Level 3 Explores different ideas, works on each idea before discarding some and focusing on one, makes some progress with that idea. Level 4 Works on several ideas, develops one idea effectively, and can explain reason why the unsuccessful ideas could not be developed further. Level 5 Considers several ideas, can use scientificprinciples to explain or predict why some are not likely to work; develops one or more of them effectively and raises questions or names problems that could be investigated.

OR: Tries to make floater stay in middle of large tub and not touch sides. Level 2 Examples: Ch an ge s t hic k string and uses finer thread. Can you see that this will also make it easy for him to make summative judgements of learners' performance on any number of problem-solving activities and that these can be used for recording and reporting purposes? (2) The grid is. Tries to find out if compass will still point North if surrounded by a ring of iron. but the level descriptors could just as easily be applied to any activity involving problem solving in the NS learning area. in effect. Decides to develop a floating compass needle and solves some problems to get it to work. This helps learners to know what they must do in order to make the jump to the next level. Two things about the assessment grid which Mr Cele devised are especially noteworthy: (1) It describes levels of performance of a generic skill. realises that it has to be heavy compared to stiffness of thread. Level 4 Examples: H angs needle. suggests floating it in paraffin to look for differences. Wonders how compasses work on board iron ships. namely solving problems through the application of a scientific method. Level 3 Examples: Hangs needle up.77 EDAHOD-5/1 Level 1 Examples: Can magnetise the compass needle. such as the floater in the small tub. Level 5 Examples: Solves problem of ``large floater'' by making a freely moving compass needle. Chooses suitable object to magnetise Ð right size and shape. Balances needle on sharp point and explains how it can be made stable by having more weight below the sharp point. a ``mini progress map''. So Mr Cele has a practical instrument for assessing a wide range of NS activities on a common scale. The value of such ``mini progress maps'' lies in the way they bring a standard grading system to any assessment and in the way they show learners the difference between the level they are on and the next one up. . Wonders how the water drew the floater towards the side of the bigger margarine tub. finds it unstable. finds thread is too stiff. The examples illustrate each level of performance in terms of this particular activity. then tries balancing the needle on sharp point. OR: Smooths point of nail so that strip moves easily. then decides on floating the needle and works on improving that idea.

...... This makes it possible to have separate reports on mapping........... use words like rectangle. but it provides more detail..... shapes........ directions and reference point to calculate ... measuring and checking.. visualise. measure lengths... In this case the teacher sets the acceptable standard Ð not the normal average of the learners in the class. using suitable techniques ........... Symbol D: The learner should be able to .................78 Once you have recorded and reported your learners' performance... .. Symbol C: The learner should be able to: . use suitable techniques........... triangle and circle to describe and compare objects and features of objects in the environment.... interpret and translate between the map and the physical situation ......... The teacher has separated out the different criteria and now reports on each criterion individually. use some self-correcting behaviours in attempts to check working 5.. talk about likenesses and differences between shapes of objects and within objects in the environment ........ . The description would say what an A means in terms of what the learner can do....... relating objects to drawings of them ........ units and directions to measure lengths ............ ..............2 CRITERION-REFERENCED REPORTING FOR GRADES The teacher writes descriptions of the knowledge and skills that a learner must demonstrate to get a particular symbol like A...... use a variety of ways when prompting to check working Symbol B: The learner should be able to: ....3 CRITERION-REFERENCED REPORTING PER OUTCOME This is similar to the previous example with regard to measuring and mapping........................... as it would be in normreferencing...... Note the following descriptions set for a Grade 8 project in measuring and mapping: Criteria for measuring and mapping Ð Maths Grade 8 Symbol A: The learner should be able to .. B or C......... using distances............... draw..... you start the cycle of plan-do-assess-review all over again! 5..

directions. techniques and directions. and simply places learners in between by circling A to E under each heading. using whole numbers of units provided (eg foot. relating objects to drawings of them. D C B A Can measure lengths. reference points and scales. stick . E Can follow and give oral directions when finding or explaining how to find objects in the environment D C B A Can visualise locations shown in a drawing.. D C B A Can use a variety of ways when prompted to check working. Can translate between map and physical situation D C B A Can use words like triangle..79 EDAHOD-5/1 In this case the teacher writes the criteria for the two ends of the scale. rectangle and circle to describe and compare objects and features of objects in the environment. D C B A E Can talk about likenesses and differences between simple shapes of objects in the environment E Can compare lengths. using suitable units. hand. using distances.) E Beginning to use some self-correcting behaviours when asked to check working E . A and E.

learning and assessment are integrated in an effective educational environment. performance or skills will be recorded.80 5. when and how to teach and assess.4 REFLECTION ON EFFECTIVE RECORDING Teaching. Plan effectively what. and the how of recording will follow! . teaching strategies and learner activities with assessment and recording in mind. learning and assessment. The set outcomes will determine the assessment criteria and therefore the way marks. recording will be the end result of assessment and will therefore still be integrated with teaching. For this reason. This means that the teacher plans teaching.

2 Equitable Assessment Strategies.81 EDAHOD-5/1 ADDENDUM A 8. .

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