We have been preparing our little ones for the ANAs for a few weeks now. It’s not a part of the year that I enjoy at all. It is not child friendly to make Grade One learners sit down and write a formal examination. The test is not difficult. However, throughout the year we do not seat the children in rows. They do not have to cover up their work. They do not have questions read out loud to them and they do not do multiple choice.
We work in cooperative groups. We encourage our children to think creatively. We allow own methods of working out problems and encourage discussion with the group. Concrete apparatus is always available for working out Maths problems.
So having to sit down silently in formal rows for an hour per test was quite challenging for our children. Actually it was quite challenging for the teacher too! After they were all over I apologised to the children for making them do such un child friendly activities. “I know it must have been very difficult for you,” I said. One child said – “Oh no, I loved it!”
I asked for a show of hands. “Who just loved the ANAs? “- 75% of them raised their hands! Why did the others not enjoy it? These were the answers – ‘boring’ ‘quite hard’ ‘too easy’ ‘took too long’
Well I suppose you can’t please all of the people all of the time! I didn’t like that it took time away from our normal teaching time and the way the questions were set. The results are purely for the Education Department to see if the benchmarks for each grade are being met at all the schools. These marks will make no difference to how we assess our children’s real progress. Some of the children who we expected to get 100% did not. Some whom we thought would not do well, did! It all depended on how well you listened to the instructions and whether you were a test writing kind of child or not. Some children, especially young children, do not do well in a test situation. It has nothing to do with being a fast or slow learner. I am glad they are over and I am delighted that the kids did well.