SA Journal of Education, Volume 40, Supplement 2, December 2020

Insights into Grade 2 teachers’ enactment of formative assessment in mathematics in selected priority schools in Gauteng

Poomoney Govender


This article reports on Grade 2 teachers’ perceptions of formative assessment in explaining the phenomenon of the underutilisation of formative assessment practices in mathematics teaching. A qualitative and interpretative case study investigated two Grade 2 teachers’ enactment of formative assessment in priority schools in Gauteng. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and observations of lessons. The basic principles of qualitative content analysis were applied during data analysis and guided by the formative assessment theoretical framework proposed by Black and Wiliam (2009). The study revealed that teachers’ enactment of formative assessment was limited by their vague understanding of formative assessment and the tensions between formative assessment and curriculum compliance. The study’s central claim is that teachers may know about formative assessment, but if they do not understand how children learn and engage in mathematics learning, then they are unlikely to enact it correctly. While teachers who attended the in-service training programme were able to use some of the strategies as singular tools, they were still unable to implement the combined strategies that constitute the formative assessment pedagogy. Hence, the formative assessment practices of teachers bore limited possible returns on investment to improve learning outcomes in mathematics. The unique contribution of this study is its potential to inform teacher development, policy and practice as it yielded important insights while reinforcing and amplifying existing knowledge.

ORCiD iD of author
Poomoney Govender -

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