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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


SCHULD, Nicoleen; KANJEE, Anil  and  WHITE, Toy. Tinder or flint: Igniting Grade 2 teachers' understanding of learning, teaching and assessment. Journal of Education [online]. 2017, n.70, pp.109-132. ISSN 2520-9868.

This article reports on a study conducted to determine Grade 2 teachers' knowledge and understanding of learning, teaching and assessment for use in the planning and implementation of a large-scale professional development programme on Assessment for Learning. A baseline survey was used to collect data from teachers in 86 schools, randomly selected across fee paying and no-fee schools in two Gauteng districts. Teacher responses across both school types indicate a predominant emphasis on teacher-centred approaches, despite acknowledging the importance of effective learner engagement in their lessons. An overwhelming majority displayed limited knowledge of formative assessment, often conflating formative with formal assessment. More concerning however, was the absence of a deeper understanding regarding the use of assessment for enhancing learner participation and for identifying specific learning needs of learners. The implications of these findings for supporting teachers to develop and implement formative assessment approaches are explored further. The paper concludes by noting areas for further research to determine whether professional development programmes, implemented within the context of learning and teaching in South African schools, can succeed in enhancing teachers' knowledge and skills for the effective use of formative assessment approaches to improve learning for all.

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