Mathematics Assessment in the Foundation Phase

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) has provided guidelines for assessing students in the Foundation Phase, grades R to 3. The Programme of Assessment (POA) consists of one Assessment Task (AT) per subject per term, totalling 4 Assessment Tasks per grade. Teachers are expected to jointly plan and develop the assessment tasks, ensuring that the activities allow learners to demonstrate their understanding of the content, skills, and concepts being taught.

Formal Assessment Tasks (FAT) are a systematic way of assessment used by teachers to determine student progress. These tasks comprise a set of concepts, content knowledge, and skills that are systematically assessed using various forms of assessment such as observation, oral, practical, and written. The Mathematics Programme of Assessment should be structured and balanced, considering the content coverage per term and ensuring that the selection of content, skills, and knowledge does not leave gaps throughout the year.

Assessment tasks should be differentiated and done in many ways to accommodate learning styles and ability levels. Teachers should ensure that the content, concepts, and skills being assessed align with the curriculum and are cognitively appropriate for the grade. Resources should be available to enable learners to complete the tasks, and evidence of the assessment should be recorded.

Informal assessment activities can also be recorded using checklists, written recordings, and anecdotal notes to inform the teacher’s professional judgement. Formal assessment tasks should be done mainly in small group-focused sessions and cater to cognitive levels and abilities. The weighting of mathematics content areas serves two primary purposes: to guide the amount of time needed to address the content and the spread of content in assessment.

The area of Numbers, Operations, and Relationships is the main focus of Mathematics in grades R to 3, aiming to produce competent and confident learners with numbers and calculations. The three aspects of counting, grouping and sharing problems, and communicating mathematical thinking are crucial in the learner’s numerical development. They should be monitored closely to identify issues as soon as possible.
In conclusion, the CAPS guidelines provide a structured approach to assessment in the Foundation Phase, ensuring that learners can demonstrate their understanding of the content and skills taught in a balanced and differentiated way. Teachers should ensure that assessment tasks align with the curriculum, accommodate different learning styles and ability levels, and provide evidence of learner progress.