Learning from previous experiments: readability in national mathematics assessments

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    English: This article aims to investigate the challenges associated with understanding the instructions in the Common Tasks for Assessment (CTA) by a Grade 9 mathematics class of second-language English speakers. The design of the CTA was such that a series of tasks was set using an extended context. The Flesch-Kincaid readability test judged the instructions of some tasks to be beyond the readability levels of an average Grade 9 learner. Some instructions had high lexical density, showing that these were difficult to understand. It is recommended that education authorities note the challenges associated with contextualised assessment such as the CTA, and ensure that the challenges associated with understanding instructions in national assessment should not outweigh the benefits of accessing the mathematics in different settings.