The special focus of the conference this year was learning to make a social difference. Learning is defined in its broadest sense as it relates to the acquisition of knowledge or skills through formal or informal educational practices of teaching, study, and experiential engagement. The critical concern here is that those practices are concerned with changing and improving social lives; harnessing the power of education to address inequality, discrimination, and disadvantage to promote social justice.
A new paper, written by University of Johannesburg's Zach Simpson, and CETAP's Test Development Coordinator, Robert Prince, entitled "Teaching, Learning, and Employing Analytical Frameworks as Performance: Analysis of a Quantitative Literacy Event in Applied Mechanics", has been published in the electronic journal, Designs for Learning.
Earlier this year, a large research project, funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, explored the predictive validity of the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs), something which had long been a source of dispute with different claims being made about them in different institutions.
Analysis of this data showed that:
Both the NBTs and the National Senior Certificate (NSC) had similar value in predicting performance at tertiary level; and
The NBTs had strong diagnostic value because of the way they are able to analyse students’ performance at a sub-domain level (i.e. performance within the broad constructs of ‘literacy’ and ‘mathematics’). The NSC simply cannot do this in its current form.
Having recently celebrated 15 years of service at Educational Testing Service (ETS) and serving as chair of the Executive Committee of the global social movement, Global Access to Postsecondary Education (GAPS), Catherine Millett has a wealth of experience in education. She sat down with us recently to provide some insight into the work she does, and to share her thoughts on the synergies between ETS, GAPS, and CETAP.
A project to design an integrated, digitised student support system, which tracks studentsʼ data all the way from application to graduation and makes everything accessible in one place, was launched on Monday, 13 August. UCT’s proposal for the system was written by Naziema Jappie, director of the Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP).
The first Diagnostic Mathematics Information for Student Retention and Success (DMISRS) Symposium, where Mathematicians and other academics gathered to discuss and clarify the challenges of retention and success of Mathematics students in Higher Education, took place on the 19th and 20th July, 2018, at the University of Cape Town.
CETAP has secured funding and has begun work on a collaborative, national project: The Diagnostic Mathematics Information for Student Retention and Success (DMISRS) Project.
The DMISRS Project aims to analyse the curricula of first year Mathematics courses in Higher Education in order to establish how best to address students’ needs through curriculum-integrated support initiatives, including blended-learning.
Individual areas of need for students in identified institutions will be determined through NSC Mathematics and NBT sub-domain analysis and the kind of Mathematics support needed will be workshopped.
CETAP seeks to hire an Academic Literacy Research Lead. The role of the Academic Literacy (AL) Research Lead is to develop the Academic Literacy tests and translate the diagnostic information from these tests into usable teaching and learning information to improve throughput, student retention and graduation. Relevant areas of specialization are Language, Academic Literacy, Applied Language Studies, Academic or Curriculum Development.
CETAP has just completed its biennial training roadshow. This training of NBT Site Coordinators from all the nine provinces was carried out in four major centres: Durban, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, East London, and a fifth and final session in Cape Town.