Assessment / Primary School Initiative / International Benchmark Tests


In association with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the IEB offers Southern African schools the opportunity of writing the ACER International Benchmark Tests. These tests measure learner competencies in English, Mathematics, Reasoning and Science. They are skill-based and do not follow any single national curriculum, allowing for learners from all countries to be compared fairly.These tests are written by thousands of IEB learners annually across South Africa and enable schools to track individual learner performance, as well as school performance, from Grades 3 to 10. 



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. The diagnostic reports that accompany the results of learners in these tests are substantial and provide teachers with ample 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.

Schools interested in participating in the 2021 IBTs must register their learners on the IEB website at by 04 June 2021.


English International Benchmarking Test: Grades 3–10

26 October 2021

Mathematics International Benchmarking Test: Grades 3–10

27 October 2021

Reasoning International Benchmarking Test: Grades 3–10

28 October 2021

Science International Benchmarking Test: Grades 3–8

29 October 2021


The IEB 2021 Assessment Price List can be found here.

Download the IBT brochure Here

For further information please contact


The English skills assessed include locating information, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions and reasoning. Learners are asked to make inferences, form judgements and reflect on texts. Questions addressing higher-order thinking skills are also used to ascertain whether a student can 'read between the lines'.

The strands assessed in the English tests are:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary


The mathematical skills assessed include interpreting data, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions, reasoning and problem solving. Learners need to make sense of mathematical concepts in everyday situations and use higher-order thinking skills to apply their mathematical skills to solve problems.

The strands assessed in the Mathematics tests are:

  • Number
  • Measurement
  • Space
  • Chance and Data


In Science the skills assessed include: observing and measuring, interpreting data, inferring, predicting, drawing conclusions, reasoning and problem solving. Learners are asked to apply scientific principles to particular problems and to apply applying scientific knowledge to given contexts.

The strands assessed in the Science tests are:

  • Earth Science (atmosphere, structure of earth and universe)
  • Physical Science (properties of matter, energy, motion)
  • Life Science (cells and organisms, environment of organisms, biological evolution)


In this new offering, ACER IBT Reasoning, students are required to think critically, make logical deductions, identify connections and spot patterns. Learners must demonstrate their ability to think outside the box and use their higher-order thinking skills to solve non-routine problems.

The strands assessed in the IBT Reasoning tests are:

  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Kinetic Reasoning

IBT Reasoning Framework Document

IBT Reasoning Brochure


Practice papers can be downloaded directly from the ACER website
Student Resource Packs can be purchased from the ACER website
Sample Questions can be downloaded here