Enhancing teacher assessment practices in South African schools: Evaluation of the assessment resource banks
Human Sciences Research Council-South Africa
The effective use of assessment by teachers can have a significant impact on improving learning. However, teachers require adequate support and appropriate resources to enhance their classroom assessment practices. This article reports on the results of a study which evaluated the effectiveness of Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs) for supporting teachers in rural primary schools to improve their classroom assessment practices. These ARBs are teacher booklets that comprise sets of Literacy and Numeracy tasks for use in assessing learner performance against the national Assessment Standards. The ARBs were piloted in 450 rural schools across four provinces. Data for the evaluation was obtained from classroom observations and interviews conducted in a sample of pilot schools and teacher and principal surveys administered in all pilot schools. The results of the evaluation indicate that providing teachers with relevant assessment resources can improve their classroom assessment practice. Most teachers reported that they found the ARBs to be extremely useful for conducting classroom assessments, and used them on a regular basis. In addition, the ARBs also provided a valuable resource for the planning and presentation of lessons as well as for assigning class work and homework exercises. The article concludes by highlighting future development and research needs in the deployment of ARBs in South African schools.