Can a Core Skills Test at Grade 6 level improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary schooling and so assist in preparing students more effectively for the rigours of middle schooling?

Can a Core Skills Test at Grade 6 level improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary schooling and so assist in preparing students more effectively for the rigours of middle schooling?

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Can a Core Skills Test at Grade 6 level improve the quality of teaching and learning in primary schooling and so assist in preparing students more effectively for the rigours of middle schooling?

The IEB Grade 6 Core Skills Test provides a benchmarking moment in the learning pathway in South African schools. It determines whether year 6 students have attained sufficient cognitive academic proficiency to engage with the demands of the following years.The Test is non-curriculum-based. It assesses the level of achievement generally expected of students at this age in key generic skills, particularly those thinking skills that should be developed through a well-delivered curriculum, but which are not specifically articulated or assessed in the current curriculum in South Africa. In short, the focus is on the skills required for effective operation in life and society. These relevant skills are located in the fields of literacy (including visual literacy) and numeracy (including relevant aspects of mathematical literacy).The entire pen and paper test is based in a real-life context that is appropriate for grade 6 learners and through which they are required to demonstrate their abilities. It is designed and the students are assessed using a four level taxonomy of cognitive ability.The results are reported using a question by question analysis of individual student performance. This provides a profile of the cognitive level of ability of each student in the various skill areas that are tested. The profile thus identifies strengths and weaknesses of learner performance in relation to these skills and provides valuable diagnosti information that can be used to inform future curriculum planning and delivery.In its third year of implementation, the positive impact of the test on whole school curriculum planning, the attitudes of teachers and students towards learning, teaching , methodologies, and assessment practices is already evident.

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