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ANA sums up ways to improve education

Written by Gabi Khumalo
The Basic Education Department has announced the results of the Annual National Assessment for numeracy and literacy skills. Six million learners in Grades 1 to 3 and Grades 4 to 6 in government schools wrote the tests.

The Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests set by the Department of Basic Education are among the department’s key plans to improve learners’ success rate by 2014.

The tests, which take place in February each year, aim to provide a basic education standard for all schools. They measure, at primary school level, the performance of individual learners, as well as that of classes, schools, districts, provinces and the country as a whole.

Improve the system

The ANA tests are not like examinations, which help schools to make decisions on promoting learners to the next level. The information gained from ANA is used to find out why learners do not perform at an individual level and to help make decisions within school the system. The department uses the results to identify areas of weakness.


South African learners performed poorly in recent international and local assessments. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga acknowledged that not enough attention had been given to the development of reading, writing and numeracy skills at the foundation levels and said more focus would be placed on them.


The ANA results showed that nationally, Grade 3 learners performed at an average of 35 per cent in Literacy and 28 per cent in Numeracy, while the provincial performance stands between 19 per cent and 43 per cent, with the highest being the Western Cape.

In Grade 6, the national average performance in Languages is 28 per cent, while Mathematics performance is 30 per cent. Provincial performance ranged between 20 per cent and 41 per cent, with the highest being the Western Cape and lowest being Mpumalanga.


The department’s interventions include the distribution of 15 000 foundation phase learning packs for use by teachers from Grade R to 3. These will involve the development of lesson plans and assessment frameworks.

"Where assessments indicate that learners battle with fractions, we must empower our teachers to teach fractions. When our assessments show that children do not read at the level they should do, we need to re-examine our reading plans." - Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga

For more information, contact the Department of Basic Education Hotline: 0800 202 933
Tel: 012 357 3000
Fax: 012 323 6260/ 0601