High-stakes testing in South Africa : friend or foe?

10 Nov 2016

The Jomtien conference in 1990 on Education for All is seen by many as a turning point for the introduction of increased monitoring and evaluation of the quality of education systems around the world. Internationally, debates have arisen about the nature and frequency of assessment and its impact on education systems with its intended and unintended consequences. The phenomenon of large-scale testing is a relative latecomer to South African education. Since 1994, large-scale assessments have been implemented in core subjects such as mathematics, science and language in national and international assessments. In this paper, various forms of the large-scale assessments in South Africa are discussed in relation to high-stakes testing and their effect on the education system as a whole in the light of international experience.