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Shocking results from the Annual National Assessments written in 2011

In February last year 9 million pupils from grades 2 to 10 across all nine provinces of South Africa sat for the Annual National  Assessments, tests that gauged their ability to write, read and count.

The results were dismal.

The overall average score was 30 percent, with even lower results in maths and languages across all grades.

A qualitative analysis of the results showed the following:

  • Pupils in grades 1 to 3 performed better, but scores were much lower from grades 4 to 6
  • 21 % of the Grade 3s showed competence in comprehension, that is the ability to understand written text
  • 25 % of Grade 3s showed competence to apply basic numeracy skills to solve everyday problems
  • 49% of the Grade 4s could comprehend what they were reading
  • 8 % of the Grade 4s could change sentences given in past tense to present tense (language usage)
  • 20 % of Grade 5s could correctly convert sentences in the past to the present tense (language usage)
  • 12 % of Grade 4s could respond to simple questions about a story and give reasons that support their answer (thinking and reasoning)
  • 11 % of Grade 5s could answer simple questions and respond to emotions from a story (thinking and reasoning)
  • 23 % of Grade 6s could understand what was happening in the story they were reading (reading and viewing)
  • 5 % were able to write an introduction and conclusion when writing a text
  • the percentage of Grade 6s competent in patterns, functions and algebra ranged from 9 to 45 percent (mathematics)

To read more go to Nontobeko Mtshali’s article on IOL News, by Clicking Here!

To go to the Report on qualitative analysis of ANA 2011 results Click Here! 

 

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Education in crisis – FW de Klerk Foundation

Education in South Africa is in serious traouble, the FW de Klerk foundation said recently.

“Poor education lies at the root of most of South Africa’s problems, including unemployment, poverty and inequality”, it said in a statement.

The recent Limpopo textbook scandal was simply a sympton of much wider malaise. The crisis was also not because of a lack of resources. In 2011 the country spent 6 % of its gross domestic product on education.

The education system is failing to achieve basic standards of literacy and numeracy in grades three and six. This can be seen in the ranking of South Africa’s education system by the World Economic Forum as 133rd out of 142 countries.

To read more go to the SAPA article on News24 by Clicking Here!

Poorest schools perform worst in national assessment tests

The recent South African Report on the National Assessments (ANA), showed that the poorest schools fared worst in national assessment tests.

The ANA written in February 2011, involving almost six million learners in primary schools throughout South Africa represents one of the most significant proactive interventions by Government to strengthen the foundational skills of Literacy and Numeracy among South African learners.

The report showed that primary school children from the provinces Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and Northwest could not even reach the basic skill levels for literacy and numeracy. The reason for this according to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga is socio-economical.

Nationally learners in Grade 3 obtained an average of 35 % for literacy and 28 % for numeracy, and Grade 6 learners an average of 28 % for literacy and 30 % for numeracy.

The percentage of schools that could not obtain the basic literacy skills can be summed up as follows:

Province Grade 3 Grade 6
Western Cape 41 41
Eastern Cape 45 67
KZN 48 68
Free State 50 80
Gauteng 53 54
Limpopo 61 85
Northwest 63 83
Northern Cape 66 70
Mpumalanga 67 85

To read the Afrikaans article by Antoinette Pienaar in the Beeld newspaper Click Here!

To read the Report on Annual National Assessments of 2011 Click Here!

Grammar will still be taught in South African schools

The South African Department recently reiterated that it has no intention to remove the teaching of grammar from the school syllabus. The separate assessment of grammar in the exam will be removed though.

This announcement came in the midst of an outcry from the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), stating that the scrapping of grammar teaching in schools was “problematic” because it would negatively affect literacy, particularly among second language students.

Spokesman for the Department of Basic Education, Graham Whittle said this change is part of an international trend to move away from teaching grammar as a “stand alone”, towards the integration of grammar into the writing and reading components would allow grammar to be taught “in context”.

Naptosa criticized this decision and felt to relegate grammar in this way would neglect two factors:

  • Literacy levels of learners in the formal schooling system have been shown [repeatedly] to be particularly poor.
  • For the majority of learners in South Africa, the language of learning and teaching is English, which in most cases is their second, or even third, language.”

The development of competence in grammar was therefor crucial for education across all other subjects.

To read the original article in the Mail and Guardian Online Click Here!

The literacy levels of primary schools teachers under the spotlight

The competency of primary school teachers recently came under the spotlight, just before the first national assessments of numeracy and literacy levels of primary school pupils.

2008 figures have shown that the majority of grades 3 and 6 pupils in South Africa’s Gauteng province could not read or write at the appropriate level, representing a national figure. Some believe that teachers are to blame, but we need to understand the literacy levels of South African teachers, according to education analyst Sarah Gravett. “A few years ago there was some tests done where teachers wrote grade 6 tests on literacy and many failed or struggled with those tests”

To read more go to the original article on the SABC News site by Clicking Here!

Motshekga plans to overhaul the school system

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently briefed the media in Cape Town on plans the South African government’s human development cluster had to boost the quality of education.  She said her department was looking at rolling out scholar transport to pupils in rural areas and was in talks with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and the National Treasury to find ways to increase the amount of funding necessary to build new schools.

She also stressed that the commitment and hard work of teachers and school governing bodies is key to making schools more successful.

Other aspects of the plan includes enrolling all children for Grade R and increasing the number of Grade 12 students who pass matric exams and who qualify for university from 105 000 to 175 00 by 2014.

The Department also plans to increase the number of Grade 12 students who pass maths and science exams from 165 000 to 225 000 by 2014 and to double the number of learners in Grade 3, 6 and 9 in public schools who obtain the minimum acceptable marks.

Agreement has also been reached with with unions to reduce the number of strike hours. The administrative burden of continuous task assessment has been reduced too.

Learning and teaching packs for Grade R teachers, containing lesson plans, learners’ workbooks and story books among other things, has been distributed to all 13 900 schools that offer Grade R.

The Department has also introduced an assessment for grades 3, 6 and 9 in an effort to lay a sold foundation of learning and to measure the success of interventions in literacy and numeracy.

To read more go to the Bua News article on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

President Jacob Zuma places education and skills development at the centre of the South African government’s policies

South African President Jacob Zuma, placed education and skills development at the centre of the South African government’s policies in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February 2010. He announced a number of key activities that will be undertaken to achieve this.

In the government’s 2010 programme, it wants to improve the ability of children to read, write and count in the foundation years. 
The government wants learners and teachers to be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching for seven hours a day. Teachers will be assisted by providing detailed daily lesson plans. Students will be provided with easy-to-use workbooks in all 11 languages.

Zuma also announced that from this year onwards, all grade 3, 6 and 9 students will write literacy and numeracy tests that are independently moderated. The aim is to increase the pass rate for these tests from the current average of between 35 and 40% to at least 60% by 2014. Results will be sent to parents to track progress.

In addition, each of the country’s 27 000 schools will be assessed by officials from the Department of Basic Education. This will be recorded in an auditable written report.

The government aims to increase the number of matric students who are eligible for university admission to 175 000 a year by 2014,  he continued.
He urged parents to cooperate with the government in making this a success. He also welcomed last month’s statement by the three teacher unions, NAPTOSA, SADTU and SAOU, reaffirming their commitment to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign from the beginning of 2010.

Zuma further stressed the need to invest in the youth to ensure a skilled and capable workforce to support growth and job creation. He then announced a plan to increase the training of 16-25 year olds in further education and training facilities to provide a second chance at education, for those who do not qualify for university.

The government is working with higher education institutions to ensure that eligible students obtain financial assistance, through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, he said.

He also announced that the government has set ambitious targets for skills development, to produce additional engineers and technicians, and to increase the number of qualified mathematics and science teachers.

Zuma also stressed that the number of youth who enter learnerships in the private and public sectors, should be increased.

To read the full State of the Nation Address on IOL Click Here!