The Collaboration Schools Assessments (CSA) tests are developed and implemented by PSP School Operating Partners, who strive to ensure that the assessments align with the CAPS curriculum in terms of coverage and cognitive demands. The CSAs are characterized by three primary goal sets, categorized by time frames.
In the immediate time frame, the CSAs aim to provide school-based assessments that produce credible results for the school, school operating partners, and funders. It is important that the assessments comply with CAPS requirements and model data-driven instruction. The primary focus is to ensure that the assessments are useful tools for measuring students' understanding of the curriculum. This involves ensuring that the assessments are fair, transparent, and accurately reflect the content and skills of the curriculum.
In the near future, the CSAs aim to ensure that school-based assessments are reliable sources of data for learner achievement. They aim to achieve this goal by improving the quality of the assessments, ensuring that they accurately measure student learning, and providing teachers with the necessary tools and resources to support student success. The analysis of results should accurately pinpoint learning gaps, and teachers should be developed to close these gaps through meaningful professional development. Schools should establish a robust data-driven culture that supports continuous learning and improvement.
The long-term goals of the CSAs are to consistently improve the results of provincial tests, particularly in Mathematics and Languages. They aim to increase the number of grade 4 learners who can read for meaning and improve their performance in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) assessment. The CSAs also aim to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development goal #4, which ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all. Achieving these goals requires a sustained effort to improve the quality of education in South Africa.
The CSA tests were conducted in partnership with Common Good, focusing on isiXhosa HL and Mathematics tests for learners in grade 3, 6, and 9. The Axium Maths team prepared the Grade 9 practice tests for the Maths paper, while the Literacy team moderated the English tests and translated them into isiXhosa. The process of coordinating the writing of tests was complex and involved a range of team leaders, including program facilitators, monitoring & evaluation team, and subject coaches. It involved ensuring that learners wrote on time, that all materials were quality-assured and ready for all grades, and that invigilators were in their designated locations.
The marking process was done internally: thanks to the Intersen team who marked the Maths papers and the Nobalisa team who marked isiXhosa. The results from the Maths and isiXhosa tests were captured in the graphs below, and the data was analysed to identify areas of strength and weakness. This analysis will be used to inform future improvements to the assessments and to support ongoing professional development for teachers. The above processes went fairly well, with valuable lessons learnt along the way.
Maths CSA results (comparing average Axium IsiXhosa CSA results
percentages to the average of all PSP schools)
For the next round of CSA tests, we aim to improve our methods of quality assurance, particularly in translation, marking, and time management. These improvements are based on lessons learned from our first time conducting the tests, and we are committed to ensuring that the assessments continue to improve in quality and reliability.