Opinion & Analysis

CALAs are not for sale

Emerging Issues in Education

It is the second year since Continuous Assessment Learning Areas (CALAs) were introduced and some may not be sure of how to go about the activities.

I write to clear this mess and to assist both parents and students on how to execute CALAs without being swindled money by those who have already set up bases to manufacture files and tasks for students.

Some parents have fallen victim to learners and teachers who demand money to buy CALA materials.

The commercialisation of student activities appears to be on the rise.

Some people argue that CALAs are an extra cost to the education of their children.

Revisiting CALAs

Continuous Assessment Learning Activity (CALA) is a learning assessment that requires learners to perform and demonstrate their knowledge.

It requires learners to produce a tangible product and or carry out a performance that serve as evidence of learning.

Learners are presented with a situation that calls them to apply their existing knowledge in context.

CALA can be presented as a pen and paper activity or it can be a practical activity.

In simplest terms, CALA is a mini research undertaken by learners in a given learning area.

A good CALA is a product of ability to identify real problems in the environment in which the learners live and learn.

Pen and paper CALA

A pen and paper CALA is a task presented to the student in order to be completed and presented in written form.

Such tasks are usually presented for marking in labelled files.

The pen and paper tasks are the most common and also less taxing in terms of skill and resources needed.

Pen and paper tasks are suitable for all subject areas, including practical subjects.

The CALA tasks are selected from the National Syllabus document.

This means that all the tasks being assigned for students to do are part of their course.

Why CALAs are for free

CALAs should be free in all aspects because they are solely done by the students themselves.

They can do the activities at school as individuals or in groups.

There is no justified explanation why any parent should be involved in buying a task or paying for a task that is supposed to be done by the student.

Students can fool parents and present their tasks as complex activities that are beyond their abilities but do not be fooled, that work is withdrawn from your child’s syllabus.

CALAs can be handwritten

We are living in the computer age but that does not mean writing has been banned.

Students can rightfully submit handwritten CALAs and still pass with distinctive marks.

Those who cannot have the task typed should not be coerced by the teacher or anyone to have the task typed.

In cases where that kind of force is done, do not hesitate to communicate with the education officials nearest to you.

However, please note that the use of social media to air grievances against a school or teacher is unprofessional and usually does not get the attention it deserves.

Text books as the source for CALAs

The chief source of the knowledge and answers demanded by the CALAs is the text book.

The text books are available at school or community libraries.

The newspapers, magazines and journals are also sources of information that can be used as sources of the answers needed.

Research made easy

The internet is another platform where the learners can surf and get answers.

Many parts of the country are now connected to the internet.

Usually what is found on the internet is also found in the textbooks and therefore those without internet access should not worry.

Whilst the cost of data is beyond the reach of many, one month 100MB of data costs around, $400, which translates to almost one US dollar.

The data should be adequate to surf the internet and complete the student’s task in the comfort of their home.

Filing the CALA

Once completed, the CALAs are filed for marking and submitted to the teacher.

There is no rule that you should buy commercial files.

Files can be made by simply plucking off all the pages of an A4 exercise book and neatly covering the hard covers.

The student can then use a ribbon or string to tie up their CALA. That way, very little or no costs are incurred in executing CALAs.

Dear parents, do not be swindled of your hard earned cash in the name of CALAs.

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