The diagnostic resource bank of items aims to improve the relationship between assessment and classroom instruction. Assessment for learning is the process of gathering information about a learner’s learning from a variety of sources, using a variety of approaches, or ‘assessment tools’, and interpreting that evidence to enable both the teacher and the learner to determine where the learner is in his or her learning; where the learner needs to go; and how best to get there. Teachers can adjust instructional strategies, resources, and environments effectively to help all learners achieve grade specific outcomes only if they have accurate and reliable information about what their learners know and are able to do at a given time.
When findings of assessment results are used to improve classroom practice, learner performance in general can improve. The diagnostic assessment questions are designed to fulfil three purposes of assessment: namely to
- reveal the misconceptions learners bring as prior knowledge to a class;
- measure the conceptual gains of a class as a whole; and
- identify concepts that are weak areas of understanding for the individual learner or as a class/grade.
A traditional multiple-choice question (MCQ) provides little information about the learner’s understanding of the concept/skill tested. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has embarked on the design of diagnostic assessments using MCQs that a e designed to assist teachers to diagnose learner misconceptions using the Pearson distractor rationale model as a basis for the classification of learner misconceptions. The diagnosis is also linked to the CAPS learning outcomes and skill acquisition. This does not mean that there are only MCQ items in the booklet. MCQs designed for the diagnostic questions included in this booklet, include a breakdown of learners’ understanding through the incorrect responses. All distractors are written to assist the teacher in identifying and understanding the misconceptions captured in the incorrect responses.
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