Benchmark gains provisional accreditation from Umalusi

Benchmark Assessment Agency has recently been provisionally accredited by Umalusi to conduct Adult Education and Training (AET) Level 4/NQF Level 1 (the equivalent of Grade 9) examinations. A positive step for the adult education landscape of our country, this interim accreditation gives Benchmark formal legitimacy as an independent assessor in South Africa’s education space.

As the second independent assessment body in the AET Sector, Benchmark believes that AET learners will benefit significantly from there being another choice when it comes to examinations and assessments.

Within the adult education space there is generally a faster turnaround time in issuing statements of results and certificates. Therefore, through Benchmark, learners writing AET examinations can now enjoy this efficiency and progress to their higher levels without any delays.

“Benchmark’s assessment procedures enable learners to be part of current and credible assessments that meet and exceed national standards. They can also enjoy convenience and flexibility through monthly registrations, as well as be supported by facilitators who aim to constantly nurture and assist learners as they prepare for their examinations,” says Keith Maseko, Managing Director of Benchmark Assessment Agency.

Benchmark believes in a holistic, three-tiered assessment approach that delivers best-practice solutions. This approach improves formative assessments in training rooms through facilitator assessment practices, combatting fraud and irregularities through examination preparation sessions with facilitators and improving the conduct of post-assessment practices, which leads to accurate analysis and interpretation of examination results.

It is an unfortunate reality that Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) grant recipients and AET training providers often prefer to conduct internal examinations at AET Levels 1 to 3, resulting in some assessments being riddled with irregularities. The decision to conduct internal examinations often comes from the pressure to produce high pass rates among AET learners, even if some of the learners have not done well.

As a credible and independent assessor, Benchmark has clear strategies in place to deal with both competent learners, who are graduating to the next AET level, and learners who need additional support before being reassessed.

“The standards of assessments in the AET sector can vastly be improved through Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA’s). By SETA’s advocating for assessments to be done by an accredited external assessment body, the authenticity, credibility and standardisation of conducting examinations, marking and moderating exam scripts and, resulting and certifying learners across all levels (AET 1 – 4) will surely improve the caliber of graduates generated by the AET sector,” says Maseko.

Benchmark’s provisional accreditation is an important step towards producing highly competent AET learners in partnership with SETA’s, accredited AET providers and importantly the Quality Assurance Body – Umalusi. Benchmark is excited about the announcement, as it allows the organisation to form strategic partnerships that are aimed at improving the standards of assessments and examination administration in South Africa.

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