ATC150429: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the Annual National Assessment Results for 2014, dated 14 April 2015

Basic Education

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on the Official Release of the Annual National Assessment Results for 2014, dated 14 April 2015.


The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having attended the official release of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) Results for 2014, reports as follows:


1.         Introduction


  1. A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education attended the official release of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results for 2014 on Thursday, 4 December 2014 at the Muzomuhle Primary School in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.


  1. The delegation comprised the following members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon N Gina MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon A Lovemore MP (DA) and Hon N Majeke MP (UDM).


  1. A member of staff who formed part of the delegation was Mr L A Brown (Committee Secretary).


2.         Background


The 2014 Annual National Assessment (ANA) was the third successful administration of national standardized assessment in South Africa and the first ANA that involved the entire General Education and Training (GET) Band (Grades 1 to 9). The ANA is an important measure to improve learner performance and establish itself as a corner stone of education in the GET band.


The Ministry of Basic Education has utilised two types of national assessment to report the results of learner performance i.e. Systemic Evaluations (SE) and National Assessment (ANA). The SE was conducted over a five year cycle on random samples of public schools with either Grade 3, 6 or 9. The results were used to report on the policy goals of access, equity and quality as indicators of the “health” of the education system. The ANA was based on a similar framework but targeted a more diagnostic interpretation of learner achievement.


Through the implementation of the ANA the sector was responsive to potential risks to quality teaching and learning with a focus on designing data-driven interventions based on credible assessment measures verified independently. In the past three years ANA has provided valuable information on the levels and quality of learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy at the level of the target grades, mainly at provincial and national levels.


3.         Address by the Minister of Basic Education at the Official Release of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) Results for 2014 - Hon A Motshekga


Hon Motshekga indicated that the purpose of the ANA was to gauge the extent to which the basic education system was impacting on critical areas of numeracy and literacy. It was a diagnostic tool to help the education sector to self-correct and has become a powerful tool of assessing the health of the basic education system. It was evident from the outcomes of the ANA results of the three years that there has been progress in certain areas while other areas needed long term interventions. In the Foundation Phase, targeted interventions by the Department have helped to achieve the goals that were set in the Action Plan 2014 for both Mathematics and Home Language. In Grade 6 there had been a large increase in the percentage of learners achieving acceptable achievement levels for both Mathematics and Home Language although the target has not been achieved in Mathematics. In Grade 9, Mathematics achievement was unacceptably low. However, there was an increase in the percentage of learners reaching acceptable levels in Home Language.

Hon Motshekga indicated that in the Intermediate Phase, learners in Grade 6 were performing well in subjects taken as Home Languages and across all provinces the achievement level is above 50 percent. Overall, in Home Languages and Mathematics, there was more than four percent increase in the performance of learners. Learner performance in subjects taken at First Additional Level has remained the same. The results of the 2014 ANA indicated that the performance of learners in the Senior Phase required immediate and radical intervention. Performance in Mathematics and Languages was below the minimum promotion levels of 40 percent and 50 percent respectively.

The Minister mentioned that teachers, school managers and curriculum support officials needed to intensify support to learners based on a diagnosis of learner scripts. Following the release of the ANA 2013 results, a Diagnostic Report and 2014 Framework for Improvement were generated from the analysis of learner responses in ANA 2013. The Diagnostic Report revealed numerous challenges that learners experienced in certain Mathematics and Language topics. Based on the Diagnostic Report, the Framework for Improvement was generated to guide the sector on how to address the challenging topics which, in some cases, were the result of ineffective teaching methods. The 2013 Diagnostic Report and 2014 Framework for Improvement were mediated with the provincial coordinators who were then required to develop Provincial Improvement Plans and District Improvement Plans for targeted support to teachers and learners.

The results’ announcement was as follows:

  1. The average performance in each of the Grades in Mathematics at national level was as follows:
  • Grade 1:     68.4 percent;
  • Grade 2:     61.8 percent;
  • Grade 3:     55.4 percent;
  • Grade 4:     37.3 percent;
  • Grade 5:     37.3 percent;
  • Grade 6:     43 percent and
  • Grade 9:     10.8 percent.
  1. The average performance in each of the Grades in Home Languages at national level was as follows:
  • Grade 1:     63.2 percent;
  • Grade 2:     61.1 percent;
  • Grade 3:     56.2 percent;
  • Grade 4:     56.5 percent;
  • Grade 5:     57.1 percent;
  • Grade 6:     62.7 percent and
  • Grade 9:     48.3 percent.
  1. The average performance in Grades 4, 5, 6, and 9 in First Additional Language at national level was as follows:
  • Grade 4: 41 percent;
  • Grade 5: 46.7 percent;
  • Grade 6:45.4 percent and
  • Grade 9: 34.4 percent.

Hon Motshekga mentioned that the overall performance in ANA 2014 showed an upward trend in performance with average percentage scores increasing by a maximum of 8 percent in Mathematics in Grade 1 and also increases in all other Grades, apart from Grade 9. The proportion of learners who achieved acceptable levels of performance was over 80 percent in Grade 1 Mathematics. Overall, the results showed that the system was responding to the unrelenting focus on underperformance and inefficiency within the system. The Department exceeded the President’s target of achieving at least 60 percent in both Language and Mathematics at Grade 3 level. The figures stood at 64 percent and 65 percent for Grade 3 Language and Mathematics, respectively. At Grade 6 level the target had been exceeded in Home Language with an average of 77 percent. Unfortunately in Grade 6 Mathematics the results were falling below the target. At Grade 9 level the results showed a similar trend of underperformance both in Language and Mathematics. The main challenge remained the unacceptably low performance in Grade 9 Mathematics. All ANA results and diagnostic reports have flagged the problem of Mathematics teaching and learning throughout the system. Hon Motshekga alluded to some of the interventions and strategies to improve Grade 9 Mathematics specifically, and Languages in general. Further to this, Hon Motshekga also touched on the following:

  • Reading;
  • Library Provisioning;
  • Reading Norms;
  • The implementation of Drop-All-Read;
  • Strengthening District Support and
  • Teacher Development. 

In her concluding remarks, Hon Motshekga thanked the hard working teachers who were the backbone of the education system. She further thanked parents, education stakeholders, sponsors and partners for their collective actions in taking South Africa education forward.


The Minister’s address was followed by a technical briefing on the ANA results by Dr R Poliah, Chief Director: National Assessment and Public Examinations and media interviews.


Report to be noted.





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