An investigation of assessment practices in Grade 4 Mathematics.
Memela, Thomas Thabani.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the assessment practices in Grade 4 Mathematics classrooms. The study sought to determine whether teachers understood what is required by the Department of Education (DoE) assessment policy, and whether they practice what is required by the policy. If they were not practicing what is required (as purported by Ramsuran (1999), it also needed to be determined why this was the case. The study also sought to expose the gap between the policy and practice. Three teachers from different schools were sources of data: one teacher from a school in a deeply rural area, another from a semi-rural area and the last from a semi-urban area. Data were collected using semi-structured one-on-one interviews. Teachers were visited in their schools and each interview took one hour. The data collected revealed that teachers are still not clear about assessment. This was also found by Ramsuran (1999), who stated that teachers were still not clear about how to implement continuous assessment. According to the DoE, continuous assessment is the chief method of assessing learners. The study also revealed that teachers were still using traditional forms of assessment - tests and examinations - and not other forms of assessment as stipulated by the policy. Challenges faced by the teachers when doing assessment were also prominent. An interesting challenge was that most learners came from broken families, and there was no one to help them with schoolwork at home; this resulted in learners not doing their assignments and projects, which delayed the completion of assessment. The study recommends that all teachers should be in possession of the policy, and that workshops should be organised by the DoE to help teachers with assessment. Lastly, proper assessment structures should be set up in each and every school.