Tinder or flint: igniting grade 2 teachers’ understanding of learning, teaching and assessment

Nicolene Schuld, Anil Kanjee, Toy White


This article reports on a study conducted to determine Grade 2 teachers’ knowledge and understanding of
learning, teaching and assessment for use in the planning and implementation of a large-scale professional
development programme on Assessment for Learning. A baseline survey was used to collect data from
teachers in 86 schools, randomly selected across fee paying and no-fee schools in two Gauteng districts.
Teacher responses across both school types indicate a predominant emphasis on teacher-centred approaches,
despite acknowledging the importance of effective learner engagement in their lessons. An overwhelming
majority displayed limited knowledge of formative assessment, often conflating formative with formal
assessment. More concerning however, was the absence of a deeper understanding regarding the use of
assessment for enhancing learner participation and for identifying specific learning needs of learners. The
implications of these findings for supporting teachers to develop and implement formative assessment
approaches are explored further. The paper concludes by noting areas for further research to determine
whether professional development programmes, implemented within the context of learning and teaching in
South African schools, can succeed in enhancing teachers’ knowledge and skills for the effective use of
formative assessment approaches to improve learning for all.


Teacher knowledge; Gr 2 teachers; assessment for learning

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Copyright (c) 2018 Nicolene Schuld

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Journal of Education