About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6828-6838
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2574

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

REFLECTIVE LEARNING: USING A DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING – CONCEPTUAL THREAD APPROACH IN ADDRESSING ACQUIRED LEARNING DEFICITS IN MATHEMATICS IN SOUTH AFRICA

T. Butchart1, C. Pournara2, P. Barmby2

1Reflective Learning (SOUTH AFRICA)
2University of the Witwatersrand (SOUTH AFRICA)
In South Africa, less than half of Grade 12 learners study Maths. Of these, barely half achieve above 30% for Maths. Global assessments such as TIMMS expose South Africa’s problems in Maths stretching back to Grade 8 and Grade 4 levels. Poor performance and denied access to Maths and Science are a national problem. Learners acquire learning deficits – an absence of learning and a lack of remedial attention – due to socio-economic conditions and a poorly functioning educational system.

Reflective Learning delivers online diagnostics providing a complete audit of a learner’s Maths knowledge from Grade 1 to Grade 9. Reflective Learning produces a personalised blueprint with detailed and explicit feedback addressing specific learning deficits acquired from past learning experiences for each learner. Reflective Learning measures performance on seven conceptual threads running through Maths from Grade 1 to 9. Eighty-one conceptual landmarks along these threads are benchmarked at Grade 3, Grade 6 and Grade 9 levels to collect evidence of the occurrence and extent of each learner’s difficulties in Maths. Results support an assessment as learning approach which enables teacher and learner to track back to rebuild understanding from the learner’s last secure place within the conceptual thread so as to fast-track mastery of the basics of Mathematics.

Reflective Learning diagnostics are deployed online via computer, tablet or mobile phone. Each learner receives a unique log-in code to complete the diagnostic. Cohort data is collected and analysed immediately after completion. Teachers log-in to access individual learner reports and download cohort analytics to facilitate intervention design based on their learners’ specific needs.

In development of the Reflective Learning diagnostics, fifty Grade 10 learners in Mpumalanga, who were identified as all performing below Grade 6 level in Maths, underwent an assessment as learning intervention, enabling metacognitive activation to fast-track learning and catch up learning deficits. Learners more than doubled their performance in just two terms after only one-hour a week contact time after following an assessment as learning approach using the conceptual threads design enabled by the diagnostic blueprint reports.

Lessons learned from the development of the Reflective Learning diagnostics are: if acquired learning deficits from early grades are not addressed, learners’ progress is blocked; that acquired learning deficits in Maths are not insurmountable and can be overcome by an assessment as learning approach; learners can catch up between three to six grade-levels within a one year period using this approach; and Grade 10 is not too late to fix learning deficits as long as these can be pin-pointed for remediation.

Through the use of technology, the diagnostic has been delivered countrywide even to remote areas. Disadvantaged schools lacking resources can make use of a mobile testing unit and costs are subsidised by independent and well-resourced schools. Teachers are able to access instantly generated data to utilise for targeted remediation empowering meaningful data-driven practice in their classrooms.
@InProceedings{BUTCHART2017REF,
author = {Butchart, T. and Pournara, C. and Barmby, P.},
title = {REFLECTIVE LEARNING: USING A DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING – CONCEPTUAL THREAD APPROACH IN ADDRESSING ACQUIRED LEARNING DEFICITS IN MATHEMATICS IN SOUTH AFRICA},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.2574},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.2574},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6828-6838}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Butchart AU - C. Pournara AU - P. Barmby
TI - REFLECTIVE LEARNING: USING A DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING – CONCEPTUAL THREAD APPROACH IN ADDRESSING ACQUIRED LEARNING DEFICITS IN MATHEMATICS IN SOUTH AFRICA
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2574
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 6828
EP - 6838
ER -
T. Butchart, C. Pournara, P. Barmby (2017) REFLECTIVE LEARNING: USING A DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING – CONCEPTUAL THREAD APPROACH IN ADDRESSING ACQUIRED LEARNING DEFICITS IN MATHEMATICS IN SOUTH AFRICA, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 6828-6838.
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