The IEB, in partnership with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), offers schools the opportunity to write benchmarking tests in English and Mathematics from Grade 3 to Grade 10 and in Science from Grade 3 to Grade 8.
In schools whose performance is generally considered and accepted locally to be very good, participation in an assessment process that provides an international benchmark for comparison of standards is very useful. The necessity for South African schools to remain in touch with global standards is clear and the benefits of having an opportunity for South African schools to assess the extent to which their provisioning matches international standards in key learning areas is invaluable. For these schools, the international benchmarking tests provide an opportunity for them to see whether they are indeed offering a world-class education to their learners or whether it is just perception.
ACER is a partner in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, better known as TIMSS and other international testing environments and hence has substantial experience in assessing the generic skills that underpin Mathematics, English and Science learning at different levels. Scores are place on a continuous scale that matches questions to the international performance expected at a particular level. This enables comparison of performance of a learner over time. For such a comparison clearly the learner needs to participate in the IBTs for at least two consecutive years.
The English test is based on reasoning and thinking skills which underpin the subject specific content domain. In English the skills assessed are locating information, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions and reasoning.
The strands in the English tests are:
- Reading Comprehension
The Mathematics test is based on problem solving skills and thinking skills which underpin the subject specific domain. In Mathematics these skills include interpreting data, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions, reasoning and problem solving.
The strands in Mathematics are:
The Science test is based on problem solving and thinking skills which underpin the subject specific content domain. In Science these skills include observing and measuring, interpreting data, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions, reasoning and problem solving.
The strands in Science are:
- Earth Science (atmosphere, structure of earth, universe and earth)
- Physical Science (properties of matter, energy, motion)
- Life Science (cell and organisms, environment of organisms, biological evolution
The diagnostic reports that accompany the results of learners in these tests are substantial and provide teachers with sufficient information to identify and correct aspects of their teaching, e.g. concepts that might require a different approach in teaching, a particular child's weaknesses and strengths. At Grades 4,5,8 & 9 ACER provides a comparison between a school's performance in Mathematics and Science against a selection of countries that participated in TIMSS at all grades in which the test is offered.
Practice papers can be downloaded directly from the ACER website
Sample Questions can be downloaded here
Sample Questions for Science at Grades 9 and 10 can be downloaded here
Download the IBT brochure here
Download the enrolment form for High Schools
or Primary Schools
Please fill in the form and email it to Sharona Nundkumar