Back in the Classroom – ANAs and the End of a Busy Term

This is my last “Back in the Classroom” post for this term and I will make it brief.  As usual it has been a busy week but the big event was the ANAs – Annual National Assessments.  Every child in the country sits this assessment at the same time on the same day.  Literacy was on Tuesday and Numeracy on Thursday.  There are strict rules governing how the test is administered.  In Grade 1 the class teacher is allowed to invigilate and read the paper to her own children.  This is a relief as the little ones feel quite insecure in this type of situation. This is because we never assess our children in this way.  It is very formal and our way of teaching and testing is far more relaxed in the Foundation Phase.

The children are used to sitting in cooperative groups but for the ANAs they had to sit alphabetically in rows.  Of course anything new is very exciting and the new arrangement got the girls completely hyped up.  Fortunately we practised a few times before sitting the real thing!

Back to the dark ages in neat straight rows

Back to the ‘olden days’ in neat, straight rows

The two tests were in fact not difficult and most of the girls did well.  But the results really make no difference to their overall marks – they are merely an indication to the Powers That Be  that the children are reaching a basic standard for their grade.  Are the schools achieving what they are meant to achieve?   So the girls should do well.  Sometimes children who get good results when assessed by their teacher do poorly in an ANA – these are the children who don’t function well in formal test situations although they are perfectly capable.  The wording of the questions can be confusing, they’re used to working cooperatively but now they’re expected to act like Matric Students.   They’re not allowed to talk and they have to wait until everyone has finished a question before moving on which causes a break in concentration.

But it is a good experience and I am proud of my  girls.  They performed well but at the end of it they said they were jolly glad it was over!

Next week we will wind down with some fun activities and preparations for the final term.  Covers will be made and books sent home for covering in plastic.  Parents please be prompt in returning them to school.  I look forward to chatting to you all at Parentline on Tuesday.


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