An exploration of the discrepancy between classroom-based assessment and external summative assessment in English first additional language Grade 12

Mncwango, Jabu Busisiwe (2015-04)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Classroom–based assessment, also referred to as continuous assessment (CASS), is a formal and important part of the evaluation of South African learners. The weight attached to CASS varies according to the levels of grades. More importantly, it is only in Grade 12 that CASS marks of all the learning areas or subjects are combined with external summative assessment marks for a decision of awarding a National Senior Certificate. Continuous assessment (CASS) is formative in nature. This implies that learners receive feedback on their performance throughout the year. The feedback learners receive ought to prepare them well for the external summative assessment. If learners have been prepared well for the external summative assessment, we would expect their marks to be consistent with their level of achievement in CASS. However, according to the Department of Education (2003c), having witnessed the first year of CASS implementation in 2001, both national and provincial examination authorities realised that the implementation of CASS was problematic in certain schools. In the analysis of the 2001 and 2002 Senior Certificate examination results by the South African Certification Council (SAFCERT), huge discrepancies were found in certain schools between the raw CASS marks and the adjusted examination marks of the same learners in a number of subjects. The SAFCERT reported that in 2001 a total of 10 182 examination centres supplied CASS marks that were more than 20% above the adjusted examination marks. This document-based study examines the extent of the discrepancies between learners’ CASS marks and the marks they obtained in external summative assessment. It also tentatively suggests possible reasons for the discrepancies. To this end, this study compares scores for CASS marks of English First Additional Language (ENGFAL) to scores for the same learners in the external summative assessment. The documents recording learners’ CASS marks come from four schools in Ilembe District, KwaZulu-Natal. Although my mini thesis focuses on the extent of the discrepancy, my analysis also makes some initial suggestions of some possible reasons for the discrepancies between CASS and external summative assessment marks. These tentative reasons are a lack of teacher knowledge in administering CASS; large classes; the demanding administrative load of teachers; an interest in passing as many learners as possible; not wanting to create tension, especially within small, close-knit communities; and in many cases, generally dysfunctional schools. My main suggestions for addressing the problem of discrepancies include: providing better in-service training for teachers in regard to their knowledge of subject content and assessment practices; making available to teachers an item bank with samples of assessment questions and tasks; encouraging teachers to become active participants of professional teacher organisations; encouraging greater parental participation in informal assessment; and by establishing assessment committees in schools. In addition, the government could appoint more teachers to reduce overcrowded schools and classrooms, fund the establishment of functional libraries, promote and monitor English as a medium of instruction from as early as the Intermediate Phase.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ’n Ondersoek van die Teenstrydighede by Punte vir Deurlopende Evaluering en Eksterne Summatiewe Assessering by Engels Eerste Addisionele Taal in Graad12 Deurlopende evaluering (DE) is ʼn formele en belangrike aspek by die evaluering van Suid-Afrikaanse leerders. Die gewig wat aan DE toegeken word, varieer na gelang van die vlakke van die onderskeie grade. Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat die DE-punte net in Graad 12 by al die leer areas of vakke gekombineer word met eksterne summatiewe assesseringspunte om die toekenning van ʼn Nasionale Senior Sertifikaat te bepaal. Deurlopende evaluering (DE) is formatief van aard. Dit beteken dat leerders gedurende die jaar deurlopend terugvoer ontvang oor hul prestasie. Die terugvoer wat hulle ontvang, is veronderstel om leerders deeglik voor te berei vir die eksterne summatiewe assessering. Indien leerders deeglik voorberei is vir die eksterne summatiewe assessering, sou verwag kan word dat die punt wat hulle behaal by die eksterne summatiewe assessering ooreenstem met die vlak van hul prestasie by DE. Volgens die Departement van Onderwys (2003c) is daar egter na die eerste jaar van die implementering van DE in 2001 deur beide die nasionale en provinsiale eksamenowerhede tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die implementering van DE in sommige skole probleme skep. By die analise van die 2001- en 2002-uitslae van die Senior Sertifikaat eksamen deur SAFCERT is groot teenstrydighede by sommige skole opgemerk tussen die onverwerkte DE-punte en die aangepaste eksamen punte van dieselfde leerders in ʼn aantal vakke. SAFCERT het verslag gedoen dat ʼn totaal van 10 182 eksamen sentra in 2001DE-punte verskaf het wat 20% hoër was as die aangepaste eksamen punte. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die omvang van die teenstrydigheid tussen die punte wat leerders tydens DE behaal het en die punte wat hulle in eksterne summatiewe assessering behaal het, te ondersoek. Die studie sal ook tentatiewe voorstelle maak oor die redes vir die teenstrydigheid. Om dit te kan doen, sal ek die DE-uitslae en die uitslae van die eksterne summatiewe assessering van dieselfde leerders vir Engels Eerste Addisionele Taal vergelyk. Die leerders is afkomstig van vier skole in die IIembe Distrik, KwaZulu-Natal. Alhoewel my minitese op die omvang van die teenstrydigheid fokus, bied my analise ‘n paar moontlike oorsake vir die afwyking tussen DE-punte en eksterne summatiewe assessering aan. Dit kan tentatief toegeskryf word aan: ʼn gebrek aan kennis by onderwysers oor die toepassing van DE, groot klasse, die veeleisende administratiewe las op onderwysers, die strewe om soveel as moontlik leerders te laat slaag om nie spanning veral in klein geslote gemeenskappe te veroorsaak nie en oor die algemeen in baie gevalle bloot disfunksionele skole. My belangrikste voorstelle om die probleem van teenstrydighede aan te spreek, is om meer insette aan onderwysers te voorsien om sodoende hul kennis van vakinhoud en assesseringspraktyke uit te brei, om ʼn item bank met voorbeelde van assesseringsvrae en -take beskikbaar te maak, om onderwysers aan te moedig om aktief deel te neem aan professionele onderwyser organisasies, en om groter ouerbetrokkenheid aan te moedig by informele assessering om assesserings komitees in skole tot stand te bring. In aansluiting hierby moet die regering meer onderwysers aanstel om die oorbevolking in skole aan te spreek, die instel van funksionele biblioteke befonds en Engels as ʼn medium van onderrig van so vroeg as die Intermediêre Fase bevorder en monitor.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96945
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