Understanding the CAPS Programme of Assessment

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, better known as CAPS, plays a vital role in the South African educational landscape. As an educator, understanding the CAPS Programme of Assessment (POA) is crucial to ensuring that learners are assessed effectively and that their educational progress is communicated efficiently to parents and guardians. This article delves into the essential aspects of the CAPS POA, from its various types of assessment to its benefits.

What is CAPS POA?

The CAPS POA is a set of guidelines that schools must adhere to when assessing learners. It is part of the broader CAPS policy document, which outlines the curriculum and assessment requirements for all subjects in South African schools from Grade R to 12. The POA aims to ensure fair and consistent assessment of all learners, while providing schools with the flexibility to choose the most suitable assessment methods.

Types of Assessments in CAPS POA

Formal Assessment

Formal assessments are conducted at the end of each term or year and are geared towards measuring learners’ progress against the learning outcomes outlined in the CAPS curriculum. These assessments can be varied and include:

  • Written tests
  • Oral assessments
  • Practical assessments
  • Projects

Informal Assessment

In contrast, informal assessments are ongoing throughout the year and serve as a way to monitor learners’ progress and to pinpoint areas that may require additional support. The forms of informal assessments include:

  • Classwork
  • Homework
  • Quizzes
  • Discussions

Reporting to Parents and Guardians

An essential component of the CAPS POA is the communication of learners’ progress to their parents and guardians. Schools are required to provide regular reports that offer insights into the learners’ strengths, weaknesses, and overall academic performance.

Benefits of the CAPS POA


Ensuring that all learners are assessed in a fair and consistent manner is a cornerstone of the CAPS POA. This is imperative in fostering an educational environment where all learners are given equal opportunities to succeed.


The CAPS POA is designed with flexibility in mind. Schools are empowered to select assessment methods that they find most fitting for their learners. This is particularly beneficial as it acknowledges that learners have diverse needs and that a one-size-fits-all approach is not always effective.

Regular Feedback

By providing parents and guardians with regular feedback, the CAPS POA ensures that there is a clear line of communication between the school and the home. This enables parents and guardians to be actively involved in the education of their children and to provide the necessary support when needed.


As a teacher in South Africa, understanding and effectively implementing the CAPS Programme of Assessment is fundamental to the educational progress of learners. By incorporating a balance of formal and informal assessments, ensuring fairness, and maintaining open communication with parents and guardians, the CAPS POA serves as a robust and flexible framework that champions the diverse needs of learners.