Assessment of learner achievement, a diagnosis for school improvement: A South African perspective

Assessment of learner achievement, a diagnosis for school improvement: A South African perspective

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Assessment of learner achievement, a diagnosis for school improvement: A South African perspective

Perhaps one of the major turning points in the education system in South Africa was the introduction of outcomes-based education (OBE) in the late nineties. Essentially, the new system requires teachers to change their pedagogical approach to lesson planning, instruction and assessment of learner achievement from a content-based inspired approach to an out-comes driven approach. It is also worth noting that OBE demands more assessment of the progress made by learners in respect of the intended outcomes. Consequently, schools are expected to generate a lot of potentially useful data.Written from a South African perspective, this paper explores the discourse of school improvement through the lens of classroom assessment. The paper is mainly premised on the assertion that meaningful and sustainable school improvement is largely informed by a set of data that is distinct to the school itself, and that without the requisite collective internal skills, knowledge, competence and ethos the school’,s rich and unique data may well remain barren.Inspired by the notion of schools as ‘,centres of change’, (Hopkins, 1998), or schools as ‘,self-renewing communities’, (West, 1998) and the ‘,inside-out reform approach’, (Taylor, et al, 2003), this paper explores the extent to which effective monitoring of learner achievement could be used by schools as a catalyst for ,institutional improvement.

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