This chapter presents a structured timeline of changes in curriculum and assessment policy in South Africa, demonstrating how these reforms have been short-lived and often abandoned before any sustainable improvement could materialize. Our analysis of key policy documents (1994–2019), analysis of curriculum and assessment reviews and informal email exchange with administrators in the Department for Basic Education indicates how a resistance to teacher accountability and change, political expediency for quick improvements, and the lack of collaborative capacity in the system, led to a trajectory of constant reform and overhaul of policy. Our reconstruction shows how the continuous contestation over curriculum and assessment policy offers little ground to negotiate differences and remedy potential technical faults in assessments, or to jointly develop the support for teachers and schools to use assessment outcomes for the benefit of teaching and learning. Only when these conditions are met can national assessments effectively inform the work of teachers and school principals and inform system-wide improvement, particularly where there is high inequality and large performance gaps between schools across the country, such as in South Africa.
|Title of host publication||World Yearbook of Education 2021|
|Subtitle of host publication||Accountability and Datafication in the Governance of Education|
|Editors||Sotiria Grek, Christian Maroy, Antoni Verger|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2020|
|Name||World Yearbook of Education|