WSU NATIONAL BENCHMARK TESTS
A collaborative teaching and learning workshop between Walter Sisulu University and the Centre for Education Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP) has concluded after much talks and proposals moving forward.
The engagements between WSU, CETAP and Universities South Africa was for the assessment of the National Benchmark Tests results for students which is an initiative that the CETAP is taking to all universities in South Africa.
“The NBT are aimed at evaluating the high school pupil’s state as a higher education applicant. The tests help establish establish the academic, quantitative literacy and also mathematical levels of the school-leaving population who aspire to further their education through university” said researcher at the CETAP Natalie Le Roux.
The workshop was attended by many lecturers, Heads of Departments, Deans and even campus rectors from all four campuses. The Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) is the brainchild of the initiative of looking at the channelling the results of the NBT’s for a greater and impactful purpose to the students.
Speaking for CLTD, student support coordinator, Tabile Loqo, said following her office’s 2016 announcement that they are starting to profile students entering WSU through the NBT, together with CETAP, they have once again met to look into the results within the different faculties. Loqo said the gathering was for lecturers, Heads of Departments and university leaders to see where their students are and the kind of interventions that can be placed. She recognised the many efforts made by academic departments to assisting its students but also said the data is a step to speeding implementations.
‘We are trying to figure out the link between the NBT results and the students’ academic results and what we can do to move forward and progress” said Mthatha campus Accounting lecturer Mary-Ann Boakye.
Moving forward, the workshop concluded with many suggesting the NBT’s should also look into the pupil’s psychological state and seek understanding on the pupils socio-economic factors. Others suggested all departments to develop language courses to improve communication and understanding of the language.
Amongst other departments hard at work trying to curb the issue of students not reaching their full potential is the accounting department. It has created a partnership with the University of Cape Town where WSU students will be able to view videos explaining accounting problems in South Africa’s 11 official languages. The department is also planning on having unlimited time for tests as they have learnt that if they take away the time factor, students perform better.
“The NBT’s are set by academics from SA University’s and WSU has elected representatives for curriculum development workshops to facilitate plans of change” concluded Loqo.
By: Simo Cele