n South African Journal of Education - Implications of the quantitative literacies test results of the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP) for teachers

Volume 40 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



Learners intending to enter some higher education (HE) institutions in South Africa write the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) that are expected to provide a measure of their readiness for HE. A large gap exists between the quantitative literacy competencies of many of these learners and expectations at HE level. In this article I explore the following research question: Which quantitative literacy competencies required in HE, as identified through the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP), are not well developed in the test takers, and what does this imply for teachers? Twelve test-item results in which candidates performed the poorest were analysed (N = 2348). The focus areas identified for teachers included quantity, number and operations, data representation, and change. The research indicates that, to enhance learners’ competence in these areas, teachers should provide them with more challenging tasks than, for example, reading a single value from a graph, chart or table. Instead, learners should be required to integrate information from more than one graph/chart.

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