Promoting meaningful assessment in an overcrowded English First Additional Language Intermediate Phase classroom

  • Sekanse Abiner Ntsala University of the Free State
Keywords: FAL, performance, assessment, good practice, complexity, non-linearity.


This article provides prospects on how English First Additional Language (FAL) teachers working in overcrowded intermediate phase classrooms can assess meaningfully. It is in response to numerous reports that highlight the poor performance in English First Additional Language by South African intermediate learners. Seeing that overcrowdedness has been singled out as one of the possible causes of this reality, this paper integrates overcrowdedness as an important variable. This work, informed by the complexity theory, was steeped in phenomenology as a research design, resulting in the use of the interpretive paradigm. Qualitative research methods were used where interviews and observations provided insight into good practice. Data were analysed mostly thematically, ultimately revealing the significance of assessment tools, the length and weight of assessments, selective approaches to assessments, informal assessments, observations and group assessment. These results illuminated the nonlinearity of the language classroom since other teachers can assess productively despite the number of learners in their classrooms. A notable issue about the insights is that it is rewarding to combine ingenuity and simplicity.

Author Biography

Sekanse Abiner Ntsala, University of the Free State
Dr Sekanse Abiner Ntsala is a former English teacher. He is now a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Language Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State. He is mainly responsible for English Language education, and he is presently the discipline co-ordinator for Language Education in the faculty. His main research interests include Language Education, Language Endangerment and Community-Based Research.