Preparations are progressing steadily for the Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests) which are scheduled to be written from 18 – 21 September 2012 by more than 7 million learners in schools throughout South Africa.
The ANA tests are standardised national assessments for language and mathematics. Last year, they were written in languages in the intermediate phase, from Grades 4 to 6 and in literacy and numeracy for the foundation phase, Grades 1 to 3.
However, this year, due to the success and need for the tests, they have been extended to Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9 in all public schools and Grades 3 to 6 in all independent primary schools that are eligible for government subsidy.
The question papers and marking memoranda (exemplars) are supplied by the national Department of Basic Education to all schools. Each school then manages the taking and marking of the tests.
This year’s tests results will be used for planning purposes in 2013 to help teachers plan their lessons and to give them a clear picture of where each individual child needs more attention, helping to build a more solid foundation for future learning. The results will also be used by school management teams to develop School Improvement Plans and by district offices for District Improvement Plans.
Parents have a vital role to play in ensuring that their children perform to the best of their abilities in the ANA and in their school work in general.
It is important that parents build up their children’s confidence in their own abilities and make sure that their children understand that the ANA tests are not examinations in which they can pass or fail, but are assessments to find out if they have any problems with literacy and numeracy.
If they do have problems, the tests will help their teachers to work out what will be the best methods to help them.
It is the duty of all parents to make every effort to assist their children to strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills and prepare for the ANA.
Getting your child to read
• Encourage a culture of reading. Read to your child every day; share family stories; talk to your child. Children learn about words by listening to their parents. Teach your child how to read warning labels.
• Join a library and accompany your child to the library; seeing their parents enjoy reading, children will learn that it is a lifelong, enjoyable activity.
• Encourage your children to read and write about what they have read. Let them read in any language they prefer. Remove all distractions and set aside quiet time where the whole family reads together.
• Write with your children and encourage them to draw and write on their own.
• Sounds are important, so practice the sounds of language and encourage correct pronunciation of words. Read books with rhymes and teach your children rhymes, poems and songs.
• Play simple word games like finding words that rhyme or have similar meanings.
• Develop your children’s interests and encourage them to have hobbies. They are more likely to read about what they fi really interesting. If your child en- joys reading a comic book or magazines do not discourage it, but make sure the content is not offensive.
• Give praise. The best motivation comes from positive feedback.
• Read the same book together and discuss what you have read.
Helping your child with numbers
• Use sticks, matches, stones, buttons or other objects to add, subtract and make shapes.
• Cut your child’s sandwiches into squares and triangles to teach them about shapes.
• Get your child to help in household chores like sorting washing; putting certain colours or similar items together will help develop their ordering skills.
• Encourage your child to play games involving counting such as dominoes, snakes and ladders and card games.
• Use money to help your child get a better understanding of working with numbers in a fun way.
• Practise adding and subtracting with objects found around the house like spoons, plastic containers or pots and pans. When they’ve become good at these skills, move on to simple multiplication.
• Talk about time. The concept of time can be hard to grasp. Talk to your children about minutes and hours, then ask them to count days and weeks – for example how many “sleeps” until the weekend or a visit to a friend or relative.
• Encourage estimation whenever possible, for example the amount of popcorn, a handful of sweets, the number of people in the bus etc. When shopping, ask your child to estimate the number of items in the trolley or the total cost and see how close you get to the actual cost.
For more information, call the Department of Basic Education: 012 357 3000