Original Research

Using online formative assessment tools in grade 6 social sciences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Marnelda De Beer, Geoffrey V. Lautenbach
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1438 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1438 | © 2024 Marnelda de Beer, Geoffrey Vaughan Lautenbach | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 October 2023 | Published: 02 July 2024

About the author(s)

Marnelda De Beer, Department of Science and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Geoffrey V. Lautenbach, Department of Science and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Formative assessment is an essential element for improving teaching and learning in the classroom. During the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown, educators were confronted with the need to adapt to online assessment. South African educators also experienced challenges that made online formative assessment difficult.

Aim: This study explores the experiences of intermediate-phase educators using online tools to enact formative assessment in the teaching and learning of social sciences. This research included a narrow spectrum of socioeconomically diverse schools.

Setting: Data were obtained through interviews with a sample of six diverse intermediate-phase educators teaching social sciences from one district in the Gauteng North province.

Methods: This research adopted a generic qualitative approach. Themes were derived from the data and five subthemes were identified to report the findings.

Results: The results of this study identified factors that prevented the implementation of online formative assessment in the intermediate phase. The data also identified online tools that educators used for online assessment in their classrooms and some barriers. These barriers hindered the participants’ ability to provide an interactive and stimulating learning experience for their students.

Conclusion: Despite challenges, which included a lack of training and support, as well a lack of trust in their abilities, the participants demonstrated a willingness to incorporate technology in their teaching and assessment. The study highlights the need for ongoing professional development and improved infrastructure and accessibility to support the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in education.

Contribution: Based on educators’ perceived willingness to make use of ICTs for formative assessments, and their ability to even identify some useful tools themselves, findings contribute to the field of policy implementation related to teaching with technology at this level.


online; formative assessment; teachers; intermediate phase; social sciences; ICT; technology

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


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