Standardised testing in South Africa: the annual national assessments under the microscope
Governments worldwide use standardized tests to address educational deficiencies and improve public accountably and quality of education in their countries. In South Africa the Department of Basic Education resorted to standardized testing as an option to respond to the public outcry about the quality of education in the country. This article explores the use of standardized tests to hold schools accountable. The primary purpose of standardized tests is to inform teaching and improve learning. Assessment is about constructive learning processes and to provide useful feedback to learners, parents and teachers. Researchers however warn of the unintended consequences of high-stakes tests, which include the narrowing of the curriculum and an excessive emphasis on test preparation. This study sought to determine the impact of standardized tests popularly known as annual national assessments (in South Africa) on the classroom practice.
Keywords: Annual National Assessment; standardized testing; quality assurance; assessment