NAPTOSA welcomes the postponement of 2015 Annual National Assessment (ANA)
Statement released by the NAPTOSA Executive Director, Mr Henry Hendricks, on 11 September 2015
NAPTOSA welcomes the joint decision to postpone the 2015 ANA until 2016. The decision was taken following lengthy deliberations between the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and unions in the Education Sector on 8 and 10 September 2015 in Cape Town and Durban respectively. The postponement will allow for the remodelling of the ANA by a joint task team that will comprise of Union Principals and Senior DBE officials. It was also agreed that the remodelling will take place before the end of 2015.
NAPTOSA furthermore welcomes the commitment by the Director-General (DG) of the DBE to improve relations between the Department and Unions as well as making more resources available for teacher development. The DG also committed to address the outstanding issues in the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) as a matter of urgency.
Members are reminded that NAPTOSA supported the initial intention of the ANA as a systemic evaluation tool, but opposed the manner in which the ANA evolved into a high-stakes annual assessment system. NAPTOSA is also not in favour of the extension of the ANA to include other grades in addition to the initial focus grades namely, Grades 3, 6 and 9.
NAPTOSA is pleased that the DBE finally adhered to Unions’ requests regarding the challenges presented by the ANA and is committed to working on remodelling the assessment system for future implementation.
A joint media briefing regarding the postponement of the 2015 ANA and the remodelling of the system will be held by the DG and Union Principals at OR Tambo International Airport on 11 September 2015 at 12:00.
NAPTOSA Position on the 2015 Annual National Assessments (ANA)
Statement released by the NAPTOSA Executive Director, Mr Henry Hendricks, on 3 September 2015
The ANA was conceptualised following poor learner performance in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMMS), as well as the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) studies. NAPTOSA, at the time, embraced the intention of a “home-grown” diagnostic testing system for selected grades. However, the ANA is no longer a diagnostic systemic evaluation tool, but has evolved into a content-based test with results being used to “label and punish” schools and districts in relation to performance. This labelling has changed the way in which schools and teachers perceive the ANA.
In 2014 we saw schools “teaching to the ANA” to the detriment of the curriculum. Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) instructed that days/weeks be dedicated to the preparation for the ANA, as well as schools having “pre- ANA tests” in some provinces. This abhorrent practice continues as a result of the pressure to perform at any cost. NAPTOSA denounces such practices and also rejects the proliferation and extension of the ANA to all grades as opposed to the initial focus grades, namely, grades 3, 6 and 9.
NAPTOSA is concerned that sufficient time is not allocated for schools to consolidate and implement the learning needs as identified.
NAPTOSA has consistently drawn its concerns about the ANA to the attention of both the Minister and the Department of Basic Education, but to no avail. These concerns include issues of changed focus from diagnostic to summative evaluation; lack of consolidation; the undesirability of a high stakes testing regime; and the absence of meaningful engagement. Other pertinent issues taken up with the Minister include the disruption of the academic year, additional educator workload, unfair demands on special schools, and change in focus and purpose. The timing of the ANA is also cause for concern.
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