ANA,NSC,CAPS - What does it all mean?


In brief we give you an overview of Annual National Assessments (ANA), National Senior Certificates (NSC) and Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

The Department of Basic Education introduced the Annual National Assessments (ANA) nationally in 2011 to measure learner performance in Numeracy/Mathematics and Literacy/Language in public schools for Grade 1 - 6 and Grade 9 learners from 2012.

The ANAs are nationally standardised assessments that measure the skills and knowledge learners are expected to have acquired as a result of learning and teaching based on the curriculum. The purpose of ANA is captured in the Delivery Agreement as well as in the Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. In terms of these strategic documents, ANA is expected to have four key effects on schools: namely, expose teachers to better assessment practices, make it easier for districts to identify schools with the greatest need for assistance, encourage schools to celebrate outstanding performance; and empower parents with important information about their children’s performance.

The National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations commonly known as “matric” have become an annual event of major public significance in South Africa. The NSC examinations are the exit examination Grade 12 learners complete to measure competencies learners are expected to have mastered over 12 years of schooling. The NSC is a requirement for enrolment in most higher education institutions, particularly universities. The NSC not only signifies the culmination of twelve years of formal schooling but the NSC examination is one of the key barometers to indicate the state of health of the education system. This examination which attracts attention from all sectors of society has made significant progress over the last 152 years since the first formal examination was conducted in South Africa under the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1858. The NSC stands on the shoulders of years of tradition and development in assessment since that first examination in 1858.

The National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) is a single, comprehensive, and concise policy document, which replaces the Subject and Learning Area Statements, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines for all the subjects listed in the National Curriculum Statement Grades R - 12. CAPS form part of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12, which represents a policy statement for learning and teaching in South African schools and comprises the following:

  • Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for all approved subjects
  • National policy pertaining to the programme and promotion requirements of the National Curriculum Statement Grades R–12 ; and
  • National Protocol for Assessment Grades R - 12

In response to concerns about the quality and effectiveness of textbooks and poor learner performance throughout the system, the DBE developed and delivered the first set of workbooks for Grade 1 to 9 in 2011 and Siyavula textbooks for Grade 10 to 12 in Mathematics and Physical Science. They are intended to assist teachers and learners directly in the classroom through the provision of worksheets; activities to reinforce Language and Literacy, Mathematics and Numeracy and Physical Science skills; provide teachers with a framework to monitor learner performance; provide lesson plans ;and pace curriculum coverage appropriately.

The workbooks are organised into four worksheets per week, divided over eight weeks per term. All workbooks comply with the latest Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). For each year a learner (Gr 1- 9) will get two workbooks for each subject. Workbook 1, to use from January to June and Workbook 2, for use from July to December. Grade R learners will receive four books per year, one for each term. They provide every learner with worksheets to practise the language and numeracy skills they have been taught in class. They are also meant to help teachers track the progress of learners and provide extra support if needed. They are a simple way to structure learning activities for learners.

The Department of Basic Education has pleasure in releasing the study guide series called Mind the Gap study guides for Grade 12 learners.

These study guides are another innovative and committed attempt by the Department of Basic Education to improve the academic performance of Grade 12 candidates in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination. The first subjects in the series include Life Sciences, Accounting, Economics and Geography. The Mind the Gap study guide series is produced in both English and Afrikaans to assist those learners that have been underperforming due to a lack of exposure to the content requirements of the curriculum. The series aims to mind -the-gap between failing and passing, by bridging the-gap in learners understanding of commonly tested concepts so candidates can pass.

Each of the Mind the Gap study guides provides explanations of key terminology, simple explanations and examples of the types of questions that learners can expect to be asked in an exam. Model answers are included to assist learners in building their understanding. Learners are also referred to specific questions in past national exam papers and exam memos that are available on the Department’s website

Information Sourced from Department Basic Education

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National Curriculum Statement (NCS) Grade R-12