Improving teaching and learning through the South African Annual National Assessment: Challenges, possibilities and solutions
This policy brief has provided a vision of how a large-scale assessment such as ANA can support and improve teaching and learning. The challenges inherent in using the analyses from ANA data in informing school improvement policies and strategies are acknowledged. Through this policy brief, it is argued that large-scale assessment, when directly linked to formative assessment, has the potential to significantly improve learning. The link of ANA to formative assessment practices, as outlined in Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realization of Schooling in 2025, is therefore a welcome proposition. This plan, however, would only succeed when all stakeholders in education, especially teachers, accept this proposition and continuously use data analyses to inform teaching and learning improvement strategies. A teacher-focused professional development program linked to the ANA processes has been proposed in the belief that teachers’ access to courses designed for this program would help them to develop their understanding in assessment literacy. Web-based technology with mobile platforms in developing these courses to allow many teachers access across time and space is strongly recommended as an enabling tool for teacher development. Finally, the accreditation of courses and recognition of learning by teachers and linking them with promotion incentives would motivate teachers to engage in this professional development program.