Original Research

Exploring primary school teachers’ use of formative assessment across fee and no-fee schools

Anil Kanjee
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a824 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.824 | © 2020 Anil Kanjee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 November 2019 | Published: 23 June 2020

About the author(s)

Anil Kanjee, Department of Primary Education, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa


Background: Recent initiatives by the Department of Basic Education to support teachers to enhance their use of formative assessment are positive steps for improving teaching and learning. However, the nature and type of support required by teachers is unclear given the dearth of information on teachers’ current pedagogical practices, and the extent to which formative assessment approaches are applied.

Aim: This article explores teachers’ pedagogical practices in relation to five key formative assessment strategies: introduction of lesson objectives and assessment criteria, questioning and learner engagement, feedback practices and peer and self-assessment.

Setting: This study was conducted in two districts involving 96 foundation and intermediate phase teachers selected from 54 fee- and no-fee-paying schools.

Methods: Data were obtained using lesson observations and document review schedules. The analysis comprised descriptive and chi-square statistics.

Results: Some evidence of all the formative assessment strategies as well as the range of steps that characterised each strategy was observed in the pedagogical practices of teachers sampled for this study. However, only a minority of teachers were able to demonstrate effective use of any specific strategy. No significant differences were detected between teachers in fee-paying and no-fee-paying schools as well as between the foundation and intermediate phases.

Conclusion: Evidence of various aspects of the formative assessment approach in teachers’ pedagogical practices provides a positive platform for enhancing their formative assessment knowledge and skills. The key challenge pertains to ensuring the effective implementation of the formative assessment approach to address the specific learning needs of all learners, in both fee and no-fee schools.


assessment for learning; formative assessment; no-fee schools; fee-paying schools


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Crossref Citations

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