The Jomtien conference in 1990 on Education for All is seen by many as a
turning point for the introduction of increased monitoring and evaluation of the
quality of education systems around the world. Internationally, debates have
arisen about the nature and frequency of assessment and its impact on education
systems with its intended and unintended consequences.
The phenomenon of large-scale testing is a relative latecomer to South African
education. Since 1994, large-scale assessments have been implemented in core
subjects such as mathematics, science and language in national and international
assessments. In this paper, various forms of the large-scale assessments in South
Africa are discussed in relation to high-stakes testing and their effect on the education
system as a whole in the light of international experience.