SA schools and 7.6m pupils put to the test
The biggest assessment of pupils' levels of maths and literacy in South African history will kick off next week, but the results will not be made fully public.
The Annual National Assessment tests, previously written by pupils from Grade 1 to 6, will now also be written by Grade 9 pupils, translating into 7.6 million pupils, from September 18 to 21.
The number of pupils who will be tested is "unprecedented" said Basic Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan.
However, he said there would not be a list of school results released nationally.
"We appreciate the varied opinions over whether to release all the results but we feel doing so would have unintended consequences and be negative."
Each school will have access to its own results.
Soobrayan said the tests would be used as a diagnostic tool to determine what problems pupils were facing.
"We hope teachers will take a long hard look [at the] results to identify problem areas. Nationally, provincially and at a district level, assessments will be used to improve literacy and numeracy."
Parents will have access to results from the tests.
"We also want parents to hold schools accountable."
Soobrayan said the department had learnt a lot from the Annual National Assessment tests in previous years. The biggest challenge encountered in previous years was that pupils did not understand the questions .
The roll-out of tests might be delayed in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district in Northern Cape, where service delivery protests have forced thousands of children out of school.
The test has been praised by education experts because it gives a national indication of how pupils are faring.