Government to reintroduce continuous assessment of public exam classes Mrs Tumisang Thabela

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter 

THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is targeting to reintroduce continuous assessment for public examination classes at the beginning of school’s second term in May.

The Ministry is in consultation with education stakeholders on how the process should be implemented. 

Government introduced the new competence-based education curriculum in 2017 with some of its demands being the need for continuous assessment for examination sitting classes.

However, continuous assessment was abandoned in 2018 for Ordinary and Advanced Level after an outcry by players in the education sector over teething problems in its implementation.

Under the model, O and A-Level pupils were expected to be graded on the basis of combined marks for continuous assessment and final examinations in keeping with provisions of the updated education curriculum.

Pupils were supposed to be graded based on 40 percent theoretical examinations, 30 percent practical examinations and 30 percent continuous assessment. In an interview yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Mrs Tumisang Thabela said the ministry was gathering views on how to implement continuous assessment starting next term.

“Our target is to have it reintroduced in May when we come back from the break. So, we are trying to push to get the final stakeholder input and finalise. We are targeting May and we don’t know whether we will be able to get there because sometimes these things are delayed beyond your planning,” said Mrs Thabela.

She said continuous assessment is in tandem with competence-based curriculum unlike what is happening at the moment where a child’s life can be affected by what they would have written in just a two-hour public test.

Mrs Thabela said examinations should not be viewed as a punishment for learners as some can panic during a once off test, affecting their future. 

“We want to produce a child that can survive in any situation so we are producing skills as opposed to producing a child who can only cram. Before an exam you would find someone stuffing themselves with information. Regurgitate what the teacher has been saying. What was done over two years is dismissed over two hours. You are told that you are U or an A in two hours. 

That is why even now we are debating about assessment,” she said.

She said teachers have a crucial role in the assessment process.

“The role of the teacher is to be a fair judge of the child’s progress. We have had continuous assessment in what used to be called practical subjects that children would have to do as part of assessment. In this case, we are opening it up to other learning areas rather than just limiting it to what we used to call practical subjects. The teacher really guides the child and they would be assessing, collecting those marks and banking them somewhere so that the child is assessed even if they have to move to another school. They will know that they will be having these points and they can add to those points,” she said. @nqotshili

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