Teachers' perspectives on the implementation of Annual National Assessment (ANA) in South African Primary Schools
The study investigates the implementation of Annual National Assessments on teaching and learning in King Cetshwayo district primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa.The Annual National Assessments as a form of standardised test is not a new phenomenon within the education systems, especially in developed countries. The Department of Basic Education in South Africa resorted to Annual National Assessments as a strategy to respond to the national outcry about the quality of education in the country. Of great concern was the learners’ poor performance in English and Mathematics. This study employed a qualitative design to gather systematic, comprehensive and in-depth information. Data were collected using focus group interviews from twenty grade six English and Mathematics teachers. Data collected was transcribed, categorized and presented as themes with verbatim quotes from the participants to support the themes. The findings reveal that most teachers lack requisite knowledge of English and Mathematics ANA to improve learners’ performance. Findings further revealed that teachers lack the knowledge to use ANA data to improve learners’ performance. This can be attributed to the fact that teachers were neither involved in the implementation and development of English and Mathematics ANA to improve learner achievement. The study also confirms that there are inadequate teacher development programmes for English and Mathematics to regularly capacitate them on how to improve learner results in English and Mathematics ANA. The study, therefore, recommends that the Department of Basic Education should ensure that educator developmental programmes are conducted as frequently as possible in cluster, circuit and in district level to enrich teachers with pedagogical knowledge that they need to improve their learners’ English and Mathematics’ ANA performance. Curriculum advisors and School Management Teams should strengthen their supervision and monitoring in schools to help motivate teachers and learners to work more efficiently and effectively.
Keywords: Standardised tests, annual national assessments, large scale assessment, quality assurance, curriculum narrowing