They are a source of useful information that can help to make teaching better.
Literacy and numeracy tests provide valuable insights into pupils' performance.
Annual literacy and numeracy tests for grades one, six and nine aren't comparable over time or across grades, so talk of improvement is misleading.
Educationists have cast serious doubt over Angie Motshekga's conclusion about the 2013 annual national assessments of numeracy and literacy.
"If these results were true, it would mean we have improved more in a single year than Colombia did in 12 years from 1995 to 2007," experts said.
If the annual national assessments are to be believed, SA has the fastest developing education system in the world - a highly unlikely conclusion.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says low maths marks explain South Africa's failure and dropout rates in grades 10 and 11.
The use of terms that are at a level beyond the grasp of pupils is producing flawed results.
Innovation and creativity are the key elements that can improve learners' reading and spelling.
Majority of public schools lagging behind due to the slow delivery of important workbooks.
Teachers' union Sadtu has warned that teachers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the haphazard implementation of curriculum changes.
One teacher's contribution to the essential conversation -- how to educate our children.
Presidential penises and lesbian theory are not natural bedfellows, but they've come to mind of late in the same unlikely context.
The surprise surely is that anyone is surprised. We report elsewhere on the appalling levels of literacy and numeracy among primary school children.
Is South African public schooling damaging some children's natural potential?
SA's schools assessment shows how poor classroom performance is linked to poverty, and aggravated by curriculum chaos and inadequate district support.
Rebuilding education will have to be incremental and all will have to help.