Original Research

The use of real life contexts in the CTA: Some unintended consequences

Sarah Bansilal
Pythagoras | Issue 69 | a42 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v0i69.42 | © 2009 Sarah Bansilal | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2009 | Published: 01 September 2009

About the author(s)

Sarah Bansilal, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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The Common Tasks for Assessment (CTA) was a new assessment programme that was introduced in 2002 in South Africa for all Grade 9 learners. The purpose of this paper is to articulate some concerns around the use of contextualised assessment activities in the CTA. The study reported here was carried out in 2003. Data for the study was generated from lesson observations and interviews with the participant teachers and groups of learners. It is argued that although the intentions behind the design of the CTA are well meaning and noble, there are in fact some learners who may be unintentionally disadvantaged by the design of the CTA which uses an extended context as a source for all the assessment tasks. In this paper two unintended consequences of using ‘real life’ contexts are identified and the implications of these are discussed, by linking the observations to research carried out in the UK and the USA.


real-life problems; assessment;


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