A RANDOMISED CONTROL TRIAL TO DETERMINE THE IMPACT OF FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT PRACTICES ON LEARNING AND TEACHING IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS

A. Kanjee

Tshwane University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
Over the last decade a number of studies have been conducted to determine the impact of formative assessment on student performance. However, most of these studies were based on small samples, often applied research designs that were not amenable to reporting the impact of interventions, and were conducted in developing nations, with limited research emerging from developed nations.

This paper reports on a randomised control trial, conducted in 200 South African schools, to enhance teacher assessment knowledge and practices to improve learning, as well as to implement a sustainable programme for improving district officials’ support provided to schools. The programme, titled the “District-wide professional development programme in assessment”, is expected to run over a two-year period and aims to improve teacher assessment knowledge and practice, student classroom engagement and performance as well as district support staff’s assessment knowledge and skill to better support schools to improve their use of assessment for improving learning and teaching.

The paper begins with an overview of the context within which the study is conducted, highlighting the disparity between the different schools selected for the study. Next the theoretical framework and implementation model is presented, followed by the evaluation design applied. Key issues noted include: the challenge of training trainers, the development of relevant learning and teaching material and the selection of an appropriate design for the randomised control trial. The paper concludes with an overview of the limitations, and highlights the challenges expected in the successful implementation of the programme for ensuring improvement in learning for all students.