DA: School national assessments serve wrong purpose

2014-10-06 16:41

The Democratic Alliance agrees with the South African Democratic Teachers Union’s view that the annual national assessments are not working.

“The DA agrees with the assertion made by Sadtu that the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga’s annual national assessments are not working,” said DA MP Annette Lovemore today.

The party said the literacy and numeracy tests caused pupils and teachers to focus on maximising test scores, resulting in teachers “teaching to the test”.

The assessments are intended to determine pupils’ ability in literacy and numeracy.

The union yesterday said, after holding its eighth national congress, that the assessments should not be “abused to label teachers and schools, thereby demoralising and de-professionalising them”.

It said the assessment results should be given to schools promptly, before they were made public, and should be followed up with meaningful intervention programmes.

Lovemore said the DA agreed that the assessments were not being used as a diagnostic tool and that teachers and schools were being labelled as “underperforming” on the basis of the results.

The party, however, disagreed with the union’s call to scrap them.

“These assessments are essential. They are providing the closest thing to the truth with respect to the state of education in South Africa,” said Lovemore.

She said Motshekga should ignore the union’s call.

“It is also essential that she really hear the reasons that underpin the call, and act to address the concerns,” she said.

“The minister must make the most of this year’s opportunity. She must commit to doing everything it takes to ensure that every child capable of becoming literate and numerate is indeed granted the opportunity to achieve this.”

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