Slide 1 - Umalusi - Council For Quality Assurance In General And

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					  Looking for a needle in a
   haystack: establishing
‘standards’ at the end of the
    GET phase (Grade 9)
       Anne Oberholzer
    The Grade 9 CTA Review Project
           at the IEB (2005)
• to get a sense of the perceptions of teachers and school
  managers about the Grade 9 IEB CTAs and the
  surrounding educational and policy issues.

    Questionnaires were distributed to all schools registered
    for the GET at the IEB i.e. 146 schools, dealing with:
•   generic questions about the CTAs as a concept
•   questions about the GET Curriculum and its introduction
    in schools.
•   questions specific to the IEB CTAs in the different
    learning areas.
•   A total of 762 questionnaires were returned to the IEB
    and analysed.
               Background
In the 1990‟s:
• HRD and skills development was an issue in SA
• The NQF shaped thinking in the education and
  training world
• Compulsory schooling would after 10 years
• The key schooling qualification would be the
  GETC to mark the end of compulsory schooling
• The majority of learners would enter a vibrant
  FET sector - revitalized FET colleges and
  learnerships
• Pressure of HE on schooling would be reduced
  What has actually happened?
• FET sector was not revitalized as quickly as was
  hoped – colleges and learnerships
• Slow success rate with learnerships
• Bureaucracy stifle initiative or leave system
  directionless
• Lack of direction
• Debates about the fundamentals remain unresolved
• HE retains domination of progression debates
• HE remains the primary goal for learners and hence
  SC remains the key school qualification
• Compulsory schooling doesn‟t end at Grade 9 and
  learners continue to Gr 10; dropouts still leave the
  system with no recognition
 What has happened at Grade 9 in
            schools?
• No qualification registered by the DoE despite large
  drop-outs from Gr 10 onwards
• Reliability of CASS remains questionable
• CTA introduced as assessment tool: the primary purpose
  of the CTA is to have an externally set common task that
  is conducted in all schools so that all learners are
  assessed against the same criteria i.e. it provides a
  benchmark for comparison, as the marking rubric is also
  provided. In theory, by comparing the results achieved
  by learners in the CTA against their results in the school-
  based assessment, a school will be able to determine
  whether learners are being assessed at an appropriate
  level and authorities by making the same comparison,
  can see which schools are assessing reliably.
 What has happened at Grade 9 in
        schools? (cont.)
• Assessment introduced but purpose remains
  unclear – no data is collected and no reaction
  from authorities
• Debates continue about assessment instrument:
  examinations, CASS, CTAs
• Assessment process has not been stable
  – change in the original conceptualisation of the CTA
  – basis for changes unclear – no clear policy direction,
    no reliable data
• Credibility of CTAs as an assessment instrument
  damaged through poor implementation
      Can we find a needle in a
            haystack?
• Key question: what do we mean by
  „standards‟ at the Grade 9 level.
• Comment in questionnaire responses:
 the CTAs are really unnecessary as an
  instrument to establish a common
  standard because teachers know the
  standard required at Grade 9.

             Is this the case?
 The CTA was set at the correct standard to
    be expected from Grade 9 learners
                % that agree   % that disagree   % that don‟t know / no
                                                 response
Learning area
AC              70             30                0
EMS             53             43 *              4
HSS             48             50 *              0
LLC: Home       53             41                6
LLC: 1st Add    64             32                3

LO              69             25                5
Maths           47             50 *              2
N Sc            72             24                4
Tech            77             20                3
All teachers    61             35                3
       This year‟s CTA was more difficult than
                   previous CTAs
                % that agree   % that disagree   % that don‟t know / no
                                                 response
Learning area
AC              36             45                19
EMS             30             43                27
HSS             51             27                22
LLC: Home       58             22                20
LLC: 1st Add    21             60                19
LO              39             33                28
Maths           44             26                30
N Sc            11             64                25
Tech            33             41                26
All teachers    36             40                24
      Is it possible to establish a generally
         expected standard at Grade 9?

It takes time.

Purpose of the qualification
The primary purpose of the GETC is to equip learners with
  the values, knowledge and skills that will enable or
  enhance meaningful participation in society, contribute
  towards developing sustainable communities, provide a
  basis for learning in further education and training, and
  establish a firm foundation for the assumption of a
  productive and responsible role in the workplace.
  (SAQA, pg 16)
Purpose of the GETC (Schools)
• Official documents: Overview document for the Revised
  National Curriculum Statement Grades R-9 (Schools), in
  which it says (DoE, pg 3) that the “General Education
  and Training Certificate, aligned to the Revised National
  Curriculum Statement, is due to come into force in 2008
  and this certification is set to mark the end of compulsory
  schooling”. the assessment and certification of this
  accumulative learning take place at the end of Grade 9
  when learners who meet the specified requirements will
  be awarded a General Education and Training
  Certificate.” (DoE, pg 19)
• 1998 KZN survey
• 2005 IEB survey
Purpose of the GETC (Schools) is vague
    Is it possible to establish a generally
   expected standard at Grade 9? (cont.)
Purpose of Assessment
• Main purpose of the CTAs
• Appropriateness for purpose?
• Teacher perceptions

Purpose of assessment is not clear

Are we surprised?
    Is it possible to establish a generally
   expected standard at Grade 9? (cont.)

What should be assessed?
The new GET curriculum i.e. the RNCS
• Key Problem: the under-specification of content
• Umalusi has consistently emphasised the
  importance of more detailed specification of the
  content and skills required (syllabus)
• Assessment: way and level of questioning
               rating learner performance
Caution!
• Edward Holmes, 1911
    Is it possible to establish a generally
   expected standard at Grade 9? (cont.)
Communities of practice and Communities of trust

What are these
• Professional acceptance (KZN survey)
• Different but inter-dependent
• Based on understanding and established practice

How
• Time
• Tools: exemplars, question banks, training,
• Direct engagement – clusters, marking
 Communities of trust and practice
Reflect on CTAs and clusters:
• 69% believe CTAs assist in judging internal standards
• 56% indicated that the CTA provides a valuable
  benchmark for schools
• 82% indicated that Gr 9 cluster meetings are important
  to establish a common standard across schools
• 66% indicated the meetings have been valuable for them
  as teachers
• 83% indicated that the meetings have the potential to
  improve performance of teachers and learners
• 72% indicate that the clustering process provides an on-
  going check on what teachers are doing.
      Issues in clustering
Issues
• History
• Demographics
• Logistics
• Leadership
    Establish a credible benchmarking
           standard at Grade 9
     In conclusion, if we want to establish a
    „standard‟ at Grade 9 we need to:
•   Be clear about the purpose of any qualification
    or assessment process at Grade 9
•   determine exactly what should be assessed
•   determine the best assessment process to
    address the purpose
•   work on establishing communities of practice
    among teachers, who through their consensual
    understanding of the requirements establish
    standards that are trusted by all
  Thank you!

4th SADC Conference

				
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