Earlier this year, South African learners grappled with the new reality of schooling and the country celebrated a 2021 matric pass rate of 76.4%. Whether that pass rate is good enough to effectively build a positive future for the country is a question that educators ask themselves every year.
Buffing up the pass rate and ensuring that more learners excel in school is of critical importance, and is, by and large, the role that educators are entrusted with in our society. The question remains: Is our schooling system armed with appropriate and accessible tools for teaching and learning? Dr Benadette Aineamani, Director of Product & Service at Pearson South Africa believes that the answer to this question is ‘yes’. Companies like Pearson provide the tools and learning experiences South African learners need to thrive in their education.
Pearson is the home to two of the best-known names in South African publishing, Maskew Miller Longman and Heinemann. This is a company that provides learning resources like the popular Platinum, Spot On and X-kit Achieve series to South African learners and educators.
“Of course, there are many gaps in our education system. We believe we can make a measurable impact on learning in South Africa through effective teaching and learning content and tools, digital solutions, and teacher training. Publishing these learning aids that are appropriate is our opportunity to help bridge some of the gaps,” says Dr Aineamani.
“It is only through vibrant and enriching learning experiences designed for real-life impact and from a real-life point of view that we can make a tangible change. Today we are proud to say that, every day, all over South Africa, we are helping learning flourish. And wherever learning flourishes, so do people,” says Dr Aineamani.
The teaching and learning tools that we develop are designed to help South African learners succeed through a range of assessment types – the most important piece of the teaching and learning process. Academically, Dr Aineamani says there are three kinds of assessments that these tools help facilitate. These are:
Assessments for learning: Enabling teachers to use information about students’ knowledge, understanding and skills to inform their teaching. Teachers provide feedback to students about their learning and how to improve. By implementing assessments early-on or frequently, teachers can identify at-risk learners quickly to ensure that they correctly analyse the root causes of the gaps in understanding.
Assessment of learning: Assists teachers to use evidence of student learning to assess student achievement against learning goals and standards.
Assessment as learning: Involves students in the learning process where they monitor their own progress, ask questions and practise skills. Students use self-assessment and teacher feedback to reflect on their learning, consolidate their understanding and work towards learning goals.
Dr Aineamani says all the books published by Pearson are aligned to the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) to assist with learning progression expected from the institution. For instance, all X-kit Achieve study guides are written by expert teachers to ensure that the materials contained within are exactly what student’s need according to the current curriculum.
Dr Aineamani is confident that Pearson’s efforts are going a long way to ensure that appropriate teaching and learning tools are developed and availed to learners. “As educators at heart, the focus should be on our learners. If they are not getting the support they need, then we need to help them in any way we can. This is our contribution,” she concludes.