Formal Assessments in a Term According to CAPS: An Overview

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) is the national curriculum in South Africa that provides guidelines for teachers on what to teach and assess in each grade and subject. It has specific protocols in place for conducting formal assessments, a vital part of teaching and learning. These assessments help teachers to evaluate student learning effectively and make adjustments in their instruction.

The Minimum Number of Formal Assessments per Term

As per the CAPS document, the minimum number of formal assessments that should be administered in a term varies based on the grade level and the subject area. Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Foundation Phase (Grades R-3): In this phase, teachers are generally advised to administer at least two formal assessments per term in subjects like Home Language and Mathematics.
  2. Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6): In this phase, the general guideline is at least three formal assessments per term for subjects like Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, and Social Sciences. For languages, four assessments may be required.
  3. Senior Phase (Grades 7-9): In the senior phase, teachers are often advised to conduct three formal assessments per term for most subjects. For languages, this can be up to four assessments.
  4. Further Education and Training Phase (Grades 10-12): At this level, the minimum number of formal assessments per term can range between three to four, depending on the subject. Subjects like Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Life Sciences typically require three assessments, while languages often require four assessments.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and the specific number of assessments may vary depending on the particular requirements set out by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for each subject and grade level. Also, these assessments can include various types, such as tests, examinations, projects, case studies, oral presentations, practical assessments, or other types of assignments, depending on the nature of the subject.

The Purpose of Formal Assessments

The primary purpose of conducting formal assessments is to gauge students’ understanding of the subject matter, their progress in the curriculum, and their ability to apply the knowledge they’ve learned. These assessments provide valuable feedback for teachers, allowing them to adjust their teaching strategies and materials to better suit students’ needs. It also helps students understand their strengths and areas for improvement, promoting a culture of continuous learning.

Understanding and applying the CAPS guidelines on formal assessments is a crucial part of effective teaching. These assessments provide a snapshot of students’ learning and progress, allowing educators to make informed decisions on instruction. Teachers should familiarize themselves with the specifics of the CAPS guidelines for their particular grade level and subject to ensure they are administering the correct number of formal assessments each term.

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