DATE OF PUBLICATION OF INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 11/02/2016
INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 01/2016
174. Ms H S Boshoff (DA) to ask the Minister of Basic Education:
(1) What are the relevant details of the process followed to obtain concessions to address the special needs of learners in order that they might fairly be tested in (a)(i) tests and (ii) examinations administered by schools, for all grades and (b)(i) tests and (ii) examinations administered by (aa) provincial and (bb) national education departments, in particularly for the final National Senior Certificate examinations;
(2) whether any process of appeal against a decision exists; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of this appeal process;
(3) whether prescribed guidelines are used by provincial education departments to communicate a decision to grant concessions or otherwise; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of such guidelines;
(4) what (a) qualifications and/or (b) training must be possessed by the persons making the decisions on the granting or otherwise of concessions? NW174E
(1) (a)(i) and (ii). The procedures to be followed to obtain concessions and accommodations for learners in all grades, at school, are outlined in the Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS) of 2014. Once a learner has been identified as needing additional support, the class teacher can apply a range of curriculum support mechanisms as outlined in the Support Needs Assessment Form 2 (SNA 2). One of these support mechanisms is to apply accommodations in assessment. Decisions on how the school will co-ordinate these accommodations are co-ordinated by the School-Based Support Team and tracked through the Individual Support Plan that has been developed for learners who have additional support needs. All decisions on how accommodations are applied in School-Based Assessment and Exams must be approved by the District-Based Support Teams.
(b)(i) and (ii) (aa) and (bb) The procedures for administration of concessions and accommodations in the conduct of any tests or examinations related to the National Senior Certificate, including examinations conducted by Provincial Education Departments, are outlined in Annexure C1 of National Policy Pertaining To The Conduct, Administration And Management Of The National Senior Certificate Examination (2014). The Policy outlines who is eligible to apply for accommodations and concessions, which mechanisms are available, what procedures should be followed to submit an application and which structures and officials are responsible for verifying and approving the application. The Policy states that “the assessment of the learner must be verified and confirmed by the District-Based Accommodation/Concessions Committee. Together, the School-Based and the District Based Accommodation/Concessions Committee will determine the form and level of support required. The information on the prescribed forms plus the necessary documentation compiled by professional experts, must be submitted to the Provincial Accommodation/Concessions Committee (established by the Head of Department) where, if approved, the necessary support will be captured on the Assessment and Examinations IT System.”
(2) Yes. The appeal process is outlined in Paragraph 2 (8) of Annexure C1 of National Policy Pertaining To The Conduct, Administration And Management Of The National Senior Certificate Examination (2014) which states that “an accommodation/concession decision may be appealed to the Head of the Provincial Education Department within two months of receipt of the original decision.” The Department reserves the right to request further assessment, if necessary.
(3) Provincial guidelines on the administration of the accommodations are being used by Provincial Education Departments. A National Guideline that aligns and co-ordinates all procedures are currently being finalised by the DBE. Training of officials at all levels of the system on the SIAS Policy, is in progress and includes the administration of accommodations in assessment. The training on the Guidelines on Accommodations, to be conducted by the DBE in 2016, together with the monitoring by the DBE will ensure that there is uniform application of this Policy.
(4) (a) Officials who serve on the District-Based Support Teams that review all applications, should be appropriately qualified specialist professionals such as education psychologists or learning support specialists.
(b) Provinces have conducted training on the administration of the Policy. This training will be extended and improved during the national training programme that will be conducted in 2016 as mentioned in Paragraph 3.