The study reports on two Grade 7 mathematics teachers’ assessment practices in an attempt to
identify the knowledge and competencies that they have and use in designing Grade 7
mathematics tasks and how they provide feedback to the learners. These two Grade 7
mathematics teachers were selected from schools that had consistently good results despite
disabling teaching conditions such as large and under–resourced classes.
Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with the teachers to assess their
knowledge and practice of continuous assessment. Classroom observation and analysis of
teacher’s portfolio and learners’ exercise books were undertaken to triangulate data on
teachers’ practices and interview protocols. A mathematics taxonomy referred to as MATH
taxonomy was used as a framework to evaluate teacher mathematics assessment tasks in
grade 7 lessons. Classroom observations focused on how the two teachers planned and
implemented their Grade 7 mathematics lessons with emphasis on the assessment procedures.
The results of the study showed that the two teachers had rudimentary knowledge and
understanding of continuous assessment and its practice. Both teachers failed to demonstrate
knowledge or ability with any knowledge taxonomy including the MATH taxonomy in
designing (or selecting) their mathematics assessment tasks in Grade 7. The mathematics
assessment tasks frequently used by the teachers were sourced from the school textbooks, and
these were found to be mainly recall-type questions involving routine procedures, and which
according to the math taxonomy are classified as low order thinking assessment tasks.
Furthermore both teachers presented feedback to their learners in superficial ways that would
not necessarily assist the latter to improve in their learning methods and the former in their
The education implications of the findings of this study are discussed.