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Chapter 3

ASSESSMENT/EXAMINATIONS AND MODERATION

3.1 INTERNAL ASSESSMENT AND MODERATION

3.1.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  •  National Education Policy Act [NEPA]
  • South African Schools Act (Section 6A) [SASA]
  • General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act 58 of 2001 (as amended) (Sections 1 and 17) [QA]
  • Education White Paper 6 Special Needs Education: Building an Inclusive Education and Training System (2001) Proclaimed as National Policy in 2001 (Government Gazette No. 22524, 27 July 2001) [WP 6]

 

REGULATIONS

  • Regulations Pertaining to the Conduct, Administration and Management of the National Senior Certificate Examination (Aug 2008)(Government Gazette No. 31337) and as amended by Regulation Notice No. 371 in Government Gazette No. 37651, dated 16 May [NR NSC]
  •  Regulations Pertaining to the National Curriculum Statements Gr R-12, published as Government Notice 1114 in Government Gazette No. 36041 of 28 December 2012 and amended as Government Notices 1162 in Government Gazette No. 39435 dated 20 November 2015 [NR CAPS]

 

POLICIES

  • Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements for the respective subjects (Government Gazette No. 34600 of 12 September 2011) [CAPS]
  •  National Policy Pertaining to the Programme and Promotion Requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 (Government Gazette No. 34600 of 12 September 2011 as amended by Government Notices No.1496 and 1497 in Government Gazette, No. 40472 dated 2 December 2016) [NPPPR]
  • National Protocol for Assessment Grades R-12 (Government Gazette No. 34600 of 12 September 2011) and amended as Government Notice No. 1115 and 1116, Government Gazette No. 36042 of 28 December 2012 [NPA]
  • National Policy Pertaining to the Conduct, Administration and Management of the National Senior Certificate Examination published as Government Gazette No 30048 of 6 July 2007 and amended as Government Notices 372 and 373 in Government Gazette, Vol. 587, No 37652 dated 16 May 2014 [NSC]
  • Policy on the Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support as published in Government Gazette No. 38356 of 19 December 2014 [SIAS]

 

CIRCULARS:

  • Circular S1 of 2016: Clarification on implementation dates following Circular S15 of 2015 [S1/2015]
  • Circular S1 of 2017: Guidelines to strengthen Section four of the curriculum and assessment policy statement, Grades R-11 [S1/2017]
  • National Assessment Circular no 3 of 2015: Mark adjustment for the Senior Phase [3/2015]
  • Circular S4 of 2017: Erratum to the use of oral marks for both the School-Based Assessment and the Examination for Grades 10-12 [S4/2017]
  • Circular S5 of 2019: Implementation of the Abridged Version of Caps Section four Amendments [S5/2019]
  • Circular 2 of 2019: National Assessment Circular 2 of 2019 Special Condonation Dispensation for Learners in the Senior Phase Gr 7-9 [2/2019]

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  • CIRCULARS

Circular S4 of 2017: Erratum to the use of oral marks for both the School-Based Assessment and the Examination for Grades 10-12 [Reference B1 S4/2017]

3.1.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Internal Assessment and Moderation

  1. Grades R to 12
    • The SASA determines in Section 6A that the Minister must, by notice in the Government Gazette, determine a national process and procedures for the assessment of learner achievement in public and independent schools.
    • The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act which governs the functioning of UMALUSI, determines as follows:
      • In Section 1 that internal assessment “…..means any assessment conducted by an education institution …….. the outcomes of which count towards the achievement of a qualification”. (As all school education is aimed at the National Senior Certificate, this definition applies to schools.)
      • In Section 17 that in the case of internal assessment that forms part of final assessment, UMALUSI may issue directives for the internal assessment and moderation. Such directives are issued to the assessment bodies (the departments of education) who have to inform the institutions (schools) accordingly and then monitor the implementation thereof.
      • The National Policy pertaining to the Programme and Promotion Requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 (NPPPR), the National Protocol on Assessment (NPA) as well as the assessment requirements as prescribed in Chapter 4 of the various subject policies must be consulted on all aspects of assessment in Gr R to 12.
  2. Grade 12
    Schools must consult the following policy documents on the matters as indicated:

    • National Policy pertaining to the Programme and Promotion Requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12
    • National Protocol for Assessment Grades R-12
    • National Policy pertaining to the conduct, administration and management of the National Senior Certificate examination
    • Regulations pertaining to the conduct, administration and management of the National Senior Certificate Examination
    • Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPSs) for the respective subjects (download the documents from the website education.gov.za, go to Curriculum documents, then Further Education and Training (Grades 10-12)
    • See Unit 3.2.2. c) for a summary of abovementioned documents which address internal assessment for the Gr 12 promotion mark.
  3. Learners with special educational needs (LSEN)
    White Paper 6 in Par 2.2.6.1 emphasises the importance of a flexible curriculum and assessment policy that is accessible to all learners, irrespective of the nature of their learning needs.In Par 2.2.6.2 the White Paper states that new assessment initiatives are required to focus on the inclusion of the full range of diverse learning needs and that the development of assessment instruments for this purpose are a key responsibility of the district support teams.The Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support emphasises the importance of learners with barriers to learning being identified and supported as early as possible, Grades R – 3 in particular, and determines this as the responsibility of the School Based Support Teams (SBSTs). Additional support must be provided to these learners with the assistance of the district support teams (DBSTs). Learners who need more support than that which the school can offer, must be referred to an institution for specialised education.
    The Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support provides the protocol for all learner support, provides clear guidelines in terms of the application for concessions as well as the outplacement of learners to special schools. Annexure C1 (Assessment for learners who experience barriers to learning and assessment) to the National Policy pertaining to the conduct, administration and management of the National Senior Certificate examination gives clear guidelines on the principles guiding assessment for learners who experience barriers to learning and assessment, eligibility for concessions or accommodations as well as the mechanisms for differentiation and/or accommodations.See also Chapter 4.6: Concessions.

3.1.3Guidelines for the Development of School Policy on Internal Assessment and Moderation

  1. The teacher’s assessment programme stands central in the assessment policy. It forms part of the teacher’s learning programme for a specific class/grade in a particular year and comprises all the internal assessments planned by the teacher for a class or grade in a particular year.
  2. Policy provides for continuous or formative assessment and summative assessment. Continuous assessment is aimed mainly at determining whether the learner is making progress and at identifying areas that need specific remedial attention. Summative assessment is aimed mainly at determining the degree to which the learner has achieved all the outcomes in terms of the work that has been done up to that point.
    A distinction is drawn between assessment in the course of the year (CASS) and an examination at the end of the year.  The balance between the two components is shown in the accompanying table:

    Grades Continuous School Based

    Assessment (%)

    End of year (Summative) examination
    Grades R – 3 100 0
    Grades 4 – 6 75 25
    Grades 7 – 9 60 40
    Grades 10 – 12 25 75
    * There may be an end of year examination but the mark forms part of the CASS mark (in other words not a year mark and final examination mark)
  3. Policy distinguishes between informal and formal assessment:
    • Informal assessment:
      • Informal assessment takes place during lessons, e.g. by the teacher asking questions, checking homework, giving unprepared class tests, etc.
      • The results are not necessarily recorded.
      • No specific instruments are used.
      • It is not done at a specific frequency or according to a specific time schedule.
      • Policy is not prescriptive on informal assessment but leaves it to the teachers’ discretion.
      • Policy does, however, emphasise the importance of informal assessment.
    • Formal assessment:
      The policy on formal assessment is strict and prescriptive and determines as follows:

      • All formal assessment must be recorded and used for the management of progression/promotion.
      • The formal assessment programme comprises a set of formal assessment tasks to be done by the learners in the cause of a specific year.
      • In the case of Gr 12 where there is an external assessment component, a distinction is drawn between the internal assessment programme (SBA: School based assessment) and the external assessment programme. In the case of all the grades the internal assessment programme (SBA) comprises all the formal assessment tasks included in the teacher’s own assessment programme for the year. It is essential that the SBA be done strictly according to Chapter 4 of the CAPS. The following applies to all grades:
        • A formal assessment task comprises one or more forms of assessment (test, examination, assignment, practical task, research project, oral presentation, essay, etc.)
        • The tasks prescribed for a year must comprise a number of different forms of assessment. Only one task per grade per year may be a project.
        • An assessment instrument must be developed for each of the forms of assessment used in an assessment task (question paper and memorandum for a test or examination, a rubric for an assignment/project/practical task/essay)
        • The assessment instrument is used for recording when the task is marked.
        • The assessment results are transferred to mark sheets and used for reporting to parents (report cards) and the department (mark schedules).
        • Copies of the assessment tasks as given to the learners, together with the assessment instruments and mark sheets must be kept in the teacher file.
        • The completed tasks handed in by the learner must be kept by the teacher as pieces of evidence for moderation purposes. They must be made available on request but need not be kept in a learner portfolio with a specific format.
    • The assessment programmes for each subject and grade are provided and discussed in the subject documents of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements for the respective subjects.
      NOTE:  The prescribed number is the minimum required.  A department cannot expect a teacher to do more tasks than prescribed, but a teacher is allowed to let his/her learners do additional tasks.  However policy determines that all formal tasks must be recorded and that recorded tasks must count towards a learner’s promotion mark.  Teachers can also include more than one form of assessment in each task, e.g. a test and an examination (although district officials cannot expect teachers to do so).  In this way teachers can address the challenge of generating sufficient marks to be able to calculate a justifiable mark for reporting.
  4. The scale for formal assessment and reporting Grades R-12
    Level Percentage (%)

    (not for Foundation Phase)

    Level of Descriptors
     1  0 – 29

    Not achieved

    2 30 – 39

    Elementary achievement

    3 40 – 49

    Moderate achievement

    4 50 – 59

    Adequate achievement

    5 60 – 69

    Substantial  achievement

    6  70 – 79

    Meritorious achievement

    7 80 – 100

    Outstanding

  5. Calculation of marks
    Chapter 4 of the CAPS subject documents provides detailed instructions on the calculation of the marks.  These include the weighting of the tasks and must be strictly adhered to.
  6. Recording and reporting
    • Recording is done in terms of each formal assessment task.
    • Recording and reporting in the Foundation Phase must be done in terms of the four subjects.
    • Recording and reporting in all grades must be done in terms of the respective subjects as specified, the languages separate from one another.
    • The national level codes, level descriptors, marks (%) and comments must be used for reporting as follows:
      • Foundation Phase: Level descriptors (percentages are not allowed).
      • Grades 4 to 12: Recording in marks and reporting in percentage (%).
      • Evidence must be kept and made available at request. No learner portfolio is required.
    • The language for recording and reporting is determined by the school’s language policy as determined by the Governing Body.
    • Reporting to learners/parents on a regular basis, at least once per term by means of a formal report card.
    • Official documents for recording and reporting are made available by the department (record sheet, progression and promotion schedules, learner profile). Schools can devise their own record sheets but must then provide for at least the following information: Subject, grade and class, learners’ names, dates of assessment, names (titles) of the formal assessment tasks, the results of the formal assessment tasks, and comments for support purposes.
    • Schools must develop their own report cards. The following minimum information must be provided:
      • Personal details: Name, grade and class, date of birth, school attendance profile.
      • School details: Year and term, name of school, date, signature and comments of parent/guardian, teacher and principal, dates of closing and opening of school, school stamp, explanation of national coding system.
      • Performance details: Further to point iv above, the comments should address the learner’s performance in relation to his/her previous performance.
  7. Setting of a question paper
    REFERENCE C (PAPERS) provides guidelines on the setting of a credible and justifiable question paper.

    • The policy on progression and promotion is summarised in Chapter 4.3.
    • National Assessment Circular no 3 of 2015 [Reference A 3/2015] provides guidelines for mark adjustment for the Senior Phase.
    • For the criteria for progression and promotion in Grades 10-12, see Circular S1 of 2017: Guidelines to strengthen Section 4 of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy [Reference A S1/2017]
    • Special Condonation Dispensation for Learners in the Senior Phase Gr 7-9 [Reference A 2/2019]

See Insight 5 of 2017