Thousands of Grade 3, 6 and 9 learners begin writing the annual provincial literacy and numeracy tests today

Debbie Schafer

Western Cape Minister of Education

Today, learners in the Western Cape will begin to write the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) annual systemic testing in Language and Mathematics.

This year, from 14th – 19th October just over 247 000 learners from1 528 public and independent schools in the Western Cape will write the 2014 WCED Systemic Language and Mathematics tests for Grades 3, 6 and 9.

The numbers writing are as follows:

  • 91 521 Grade 3 learners
  • 77 662 Grade 6 learners
  • 84 560 Grade 9 learners

We are pleased to see that 6 323 learners from 106 independent schools are also participating in the tests.

Independent schools were first invited to participate in 2010. Since then, the number of independent schools participating in the testing has increased from 41 schools to 106 schools in 2014.

It is important to note that the WCED is the only province in South Africa to conduct systemic testing of this nature which provides valuable diagnostic information for improving language and mathematics performance in the province.

The results of the testing allow the WCED to identify schools and areas where Language and Mathematics performance is weak, strong and average and to determine what kind of remedial action is required.

The tests were first introduced in 2002. Originally, learners in Grades 3 and 6 were tested in alternative years.  In 2010, Grade 9 learners began writing the tests which are now written in all three grades each year.

In 2011, the WCED approached the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) to update and evaluate the existing testing instruments to ensure that they remain relevant, credible and in line with the curriculum and the changing school system in which our schools operate.

The Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) is an autonomous research unit within the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria and has extensive expertise and experience in system level evaluation and assessment, school level evaluation, test construction and evaluation.

In order to further enhance the credibility of the tests, the internationally benchmarked tests are independently administered, tested and marked by outside service providers.

Without the use of credible systemic testing of learner outcomes the WCED would not be in possession of the data upon which to develop its Language and Mathematics interventions.

I would like to wish all our learners, educators and schools the best of luck in these tests and we look forward to the release of these results early next year.