Cape Town - The Western Cape is the only province to conduct systematic testing in maths and language, which gives the province a consistent record of improvements.
The Western Cape Government celebrated the results of its annual systemic tests for 2023, which have shown an improvement in maths and language scores across all school phases in the province.
The Western Cape is the only province to conduct systematic testing in maths and language, which gives the province a consistent record of improvements and declines in learners’ skills and allows it to determine the success of any changes it makes to the system.
Education MEC David Maynier said these tests were conducted each year in Grades 3, 6, and 9, and are internationally benchmarked and administered, marked, and moderated externally to ensure objectivity and provide a credible and relevant benchmark for evaluation.
He said the purpose of these tests was to provide teachers and schools with a powerful analytical tool to help them achieve the department’s vision for quality education for every learner, in every classroom, and every school.
“The Foundation Phase (Grades 1 to 3) was the most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with significant decreases in pass rates in the annual tests. This is why our department has made this phase a priority, as children who fall behind in these early grades will struggle to catch up.
“The 2023 results reveal significant gains in Grade 3 scores compared to the previous year, with the Grade 3 maths pass rate increasing by 4.3 percentage points and the Grade 3 Language pass rate increasing by 4.0 percentage points.”
The pass rates for maths and language in Grades 6 and 9 have also increased by between 1.0 and 1.7 percentage points. The department said there is, however, a long way still to go to reach pre-pandemic scores and surpass them, “so we will continue to find ways to further strengthen our support for learners in all school phases”.
“We are pleased that the results indicate our interventions in early grade literacy and numeracy, as well as our allocation of extra time to reading and maths within the school day for these grades, are bearing fruit.”
Maynier added, “Individual school reports will now be provided to our schools to help them identify which specific topics, learning areas, and concepts they will need to focus on in the year ahead.”
He said schools find these reports useful as they allow for a tailored approach to improving learning outcomes rather than a blanket approach.
“We appreciate the extra hours our teachers, schools, and officials have put in to help reverse the devastating learning losses our children suffered because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am proud we are all working together, improving learning outcomes every day, and contributing directly to a better future for our children.”