n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - The grade 9 maths ANA - what can we see after three years?

Volume 2015, Issue 18
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


The Annual National Assessments (ANA) were introduced to address South Africa's poor performance in international mathematics assessments such as TIMSS and SACMEQ. The Grade 9 test was first written in 2012 with a national average of 12.7%. In 2013 the average increased to 13.9% but then dropped to 10.8% in 2014. The overall picture is one of very poor performance with the result that many questions are being asked about the value and purpose of the ANA.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) identifies three purposes for the ANAs : (1) a measure for the state to gauge improvement in the education system, based on learner performance year-on-year; (2) a diagnostic assessment to identify areas of weakness in learners' performance; and (3) to provide a model of good assessment practice. While these are all important goals, they are not necessarily achievable through a single instrument. However, this is not the focus of our article. Our purpose here is to report on a content analysis of the three ANA papers which we undertook in the first quarter of 2015, paying particular attention to cognitive demand and levels of difficulty. We share our findings on these aspects, as well as on trends that arise as we look across the first three years of the Grade 9 Maths ANA.

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