Assessment in Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics

The CAPS Coding and Robotics curriculum was released a while back by the DBE. While still waiting for the final version to be signed off by Umalusi, many schools have already implemented it as a subject. I took a bash at explaining the assessment requirements below, providing some examples from material I’ve developed.

CAPS Foundation Phase Assessment Principles 

Let’s take one step back and look at the principles behind assessment at the Foundation Phase. According to the CAPS curriculum document, assessment is a continuous planned process involving four steps:

  • Generating and collecting evidence of achievement
  • Evaluating the evidence
  • Recording the findings
  • Using the information to understand and assist learner development

The CAPS curriculum emphasizes that assessment should include both informal (Assessment for Learning) and formal (Assessment of Learning) methods. Regular feedback should be provided to learners to enhance their learning experience.

Assessment in Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics

Emphasis on Observation and Ongoing Assessment 

In the Foundation Phase, the emphasis in assessment is on observing learners in an ongoing and planned way during their daily routine, structured and free play activities. Learners are assessed through discussion, role-play, interview, oral presentation, collaboration, and demonstration. This applies to the existing subjects in the Foundation Phase and the new subject, Coding and Robotics.

Aligning Assessments with CAPS Coding and Robotics Strands 

When assessing Coding and Robotics, teachers must assess the development of knowledge and skills across all five Coding and Robotics Strands as outlined in the CAPS curriculum. This assessment aims to support and encourage learners and assess their holistic development.

Implementing Informal Assessment Strategies 

Informal assessment is the primary approach to assessment at this level. Teachers need to conduct informal assessments throughout the Foundation Phase on an ongoing basis. Ensure the assessments are age- and development-level appropriate and cover the subject’s content. One effective method is maintaining an observation book to record interesting or concerning observations. Use these notes in planning and preparation for remedial purposes and future assessments.

Conducting Assessments in Various Settings 

Assessments can be conducted individually or in teams during free play and as part of structured activities. Both formal and informal assessments will enable teachers to track and monitor learners’ progress throughout the term. Use checklists and rubrics to record assessments.

Adhering to the Programme of Assessment 

Assessment in Coding and Robotics in the Foundation Phase is mainly informal and ongoing. Learners should be formally assessed each term, and the results should be recorded. See example of an informal assessment checklist we developed as part of our Connect Coding & Robotics titles, to be used by teachers to track skills acquisition in learners.

Prioritizing Inclusion 

Follow the Screening, Identification, Assessment, and Support (SIAS) policy framework to standardize procedures for identifying, assessing, and providing support for learners requiring assistance. Be sensitive to learners experiencing barriers to learning and provide differentiated assessment opportunities. Identify each learner’s needs through formal and informal assessment and accommodate all learners in learning and assessment programs.

Recording and Reporting Assessment in Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics

Recording and reporting are essential components of the assessment process in the Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics curriculum. Recording refers to documenting learners’ performance and progress, while reporting involves communicating this information to learners, parents, schools, and other stakeholders.

Codes and Percentages for Recording and Reporting

The following rating code and corresponding percentage scales are used for recording and reporting learner performance:

Rating codeDescription of competencePercentage
7Outstanding achievement80 – 100
6Meritorious achievement70 – 79
5Substantial achievement60 – 69
4Adequate achievement50 – 59
3Moderate achievement40 – 49
2Elementary achievement30 – 39
1Not achieved0 – 29
Percentage scales

Example of and end of term formal assessment we developed for our Connect Coding and Robotics books, which is one way of recording learner performance.

Record Keeping

Teachers should keep records of learners’ work, including class workbooks, worksheets, and evidence of practical demonstrations. Teachers should also record comments in observation books or assessment record sheets. See example of a worksheet below that we put together as additional resources for teachers, to be used to record assessment.

Portfolio of Evidence

All teachers are expected to maintain a Portfolio of Evidence, which may include the following:

  • Assessment activities and memoranda
  • Programme of Assessment
  • Assessment recording sheets
  • Assessment Tools (checklists, observation sheets, rubrics, etc.)

Assessment Record Sheet

Teachers’ records of learner progress should include the following information:

  • Grade and class
  • Learners’ names
  • Date of assessment task
  • The form of assessment and a short description of the assessment task
  • The final rating awarded to the learner
  • Comments for support purposes, when and where appropriate

Reporting in Foundation Phase: Grade R to 3

Teachers and schools are accountable to learners, parents, the education system, and the wider community. Schools must provide feedback on learners’ progress and performance using formal reporting instruments such as report cards, which should be sent to parents and guardians once a term.

In addition to report cards, schools should use other reporting mechanisms such as:

  • Parents’ meetings
  • School visitation days
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • School newsletters

Various platforms, including digital ones, can be used to report to parents and guardians regularly. This enables them to stay involved and participate in their children’s education.

By following these guidelines, teachers can create an assessment plan for Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics that aligns with the CAPS curriculum, supports learners’ development, and promotes inclusivity.

Did you enjoy this article? If yes, you may want to read more on How to teach Coding and Robotics in the Foundation Phase.

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