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An Overview of South Africa’s Schooling System. NicSpaull.com IPSU – Economic and Development Problems in Africa| 25 February 2014. Outline. Recurring themes I want you to notice Access/quantity vs quality Is it an accountability or a capacity constraint/solution?

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an overview of south africa s schooling system

An Overview of South Africa’s Schooling System

NicSpaull.com

IPSU – Economic and Development Problems in Africa| 25 February 2014

outline
Outline

Recurring themes I want you to notice

  • Access/quantity vs quality
  • Is it an accountability or a capacity constraint/solution?
  • Status quos are usually equilibria – i.e. we have what we have (and it stays what it is) for a reason

Main issues to be covered:

  • SA performs extremely poorly on local and international assessments of educational achievement
  • In large parts of the schooling system there is little learning taking place
  • In SA we have TWO public schooling systems, not one.
  • Selected issues – teacher content knowledge, textbook availability (SMS)
  • Accountability & Capacity
  • Binding constraints
social policy education
Social Policy & Education

Firstly, what is social policy?

“Social policy primarily refers to the guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare”

“Public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality, education, and labour”

“Social Policy is defined as actions that affect the well-being of members of a society through shaping the distribution of and access to goods and resources in that society”

social policy education1
Social Policy & Education
  • Secondly, how does education fit into it?
    • Most areas of social policy influence education (in some way), and are influenced by education (in some way)
    • Bidirectional causality 
    • Multiple benefits of education…
benefits of education

$

Benefits of education

Ed

H

S

Ec

  • Improved human rights
  • Empowerment of women
  • Reduced societal violence
  • Promotion of a national (as opposed to regional or ethnic) identity
  • Increased social cohesion
  • Lower fertility
  • Improved child health
  • Preventative health care
  • Demographic transition
  • Improvements in productivity
  • Economic growth
  • Reduction of inter-generational cycles of poverty
  • Reductions in inequality

Economy

Health

Society

Specific references: lower fertility (Glewwe, 2002), improved child health (Currie, 2009), reduced societal violence (Salmi, 2006), promotion of a national - as opposed to a regional or ethnic - identity (Glewwe, 2002), improved human rights (Salmi, 2006), increased social cohesion (Heyneman, 2003), Economic growth – see any decent Macro textbook, specifically for cognitive skills see (Hanushek & Woessman 2008)

social policy education2
Social Policy & Education
  • Secondly, how does education fit into it?
    • Education itself affects society & the individual in real and meaningful ways:
      • Transforms individual capabilities, values, aspirations and desires (see Sen)
      • Allows individuals to think, feel and act in different ways
      • Enables new ways of organizing and supporting social action that depend on numeracy and literacy, technologies of communication and abstract thinking skills (Lewin, 2007). Democratic participation, knowledge creation etc.
      • Education increases peoples ability to add value (productivity)
      • “Modernising societies use educational access and attainment as a primary mechanism to sort and select subsequent generations into different social and economic roles” (Lewin, 2007: 3) Distribution of income
theory human capital
Theory: Human Capital

Education increases peoples ability to add value (productivity)  HCM

+ =  

“The failure to treat human resources explicitly as a form of capital, as a produced means of production, as the product of investment, has fostered the retention of the classical notion of labour as a capacity to do manual work requiring little knowledge and skill, a capacity with which, according to this notion, labourers are endowed about equally. This notion of labour was wrong in the classical period and it is patently wrong now. Counting individuals who can and want to work and treating such a count as a measure of the quantity of an economic factor is no more meaningful than it would be to count the number of all manner of machines to determine their economic importance” (Schultz, 1961, p. 3).

Incr wage

Incr MP of L

Man

Skills & health

Incr profits

theory sorting signalling
Theory: Sorting & signalling
  • Education does not improve productivity or produce HC, instead acts as a signal of innate productivity/IQ/motivation.
    • Those with higher productivity/IQ/motivation will find it easier to get higher levels of education than those with lower P/IQ/M
  • Do we care if it is HCM or Signalling?
    • Yes! Implications for public investment.
elusive equity
Elusive equity
  • Given the strong links between education and income, educational inequality is a fundamental determinant of income inequality.
  • Clear need to understand SA educational inequality if we are to understand SA income inequality.
  • High inequality + unemployment 2 of the most severe problems facing SA
    • Educational quality is intimately intertwined with both of these.
  • “Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children” (Freedom Charter)
elusive equity1
Elusive equity
  • IQ
  • Motivation
  • Social networks
  • Discrimination
theory education in sa
Theory – education in SA
  • Type of tertiary education (quality) - institution and field of study
  • Demand and supply
  • Individual motivation
  • Parental IQ (assortative mating)
  • Maternal health
  • Nutrition
  • Early cognitive stimulation: preschool (quantity & quality), home environment

South Africa

  • Average school SES
  • Language of learning & teaching (LOLT)
  • Teacher quality
  • Peer effects
  • Subject choice
  • Cost of tertiary education (explicit & implicit costs)
  • Parental & personal aspirations and perceptions
  • Society/culture

(See Taylor, 2010)

slide13

Labour Market

  • University/FET
  • Type of institution (FET or University)
  • Quality of institution
  • Type of qualification(diploma, degree etc.)
  • Field of study (Engineering, Arts etc.)
  • High productivity jobs and incomes (17%)
  • Mainly professional, managerial & skilled jobs
  • Requires graduates, good quality matric or good vocational skills
  • Historically mainly white

High quality secondaryschool

Unequal society

High SES background

+ECD

High quality primary school

Minority (20%)

Some motivated, lucky or talented students make the transition

  • Vocational training
  • Affirmative action
  • Big demand for good schools despite fees
  • Some scholarships/bursaries

Majority (80%)

Quality

Type

Attainment

Low quality secondary

school

  • Low productivity jobs & incomes
  • Often manual or low skill jobs
  • Limited or low quality education
  • Minimum wage can exceed productivity

Low SES background

Low quality primary school

cf. Servaas van der Berg – QLFS 2011

expenditure on education 2010 11
Expenditure on education2010/11

Government exp on education

(19.5% of Gov exp: R143.1bn)

Total government expenditure

(31% GDP in 2010/11 – R733.5bn)

17%

5%

slide16

1) South Africa performs extremely poorly on local and international assessments of educational achievement

state of sa education since transition
State of SA education since transition
  • “Although 99.7% of South African children are in school…the outcomes in education are abysmal” (Manuel, 2011)
  • “Without ambiguity or the possibility of misinterpretation, the pieces together reveal the predicament of South African primary education” (Fleisch, 2008: 2)
  • “Our researchers found that what students know and can do is dismal” (Taylor & Vinjevold, 1999)
  • “It is not an overstatement to say that South African education is in crisis.” (Van der Berg & Spaull, 2011)
student performance 2003 2011
Student performance 2003-2011

prePIRLS(2011)

TIMSS (2011)

ANA (2011)

TIMSS (2003)

 PIRLS (2006)

SACMEQ (2007)

TIMSS 2003 (Gr8 Maths & Science)

  • Out of 50 participating countries (including 6 African countries) SA came last
  • Only 10% reached low international benchmark
  • No improvement from TIMSS 1999-TIMSS 2003

PIRLS 2006(Gr 4/5 – Reading)

  • Out of 45 participating countries SA came last
  • 87% of gr4 and 78% of Gr 5 learners deemed to be “at serious risk of not learning to read”

SACMEQ III 2007(Gr6 – Reading & Maths)

  • SA came 10/15 for reading and 8/15 for maths behind countries such as Swaziland, Kenya and Tanzania

ANA 2011 (Gr 1-6 Reading & Maths)

  • Mean literacy score gr3: 35%
  • Mean numeracy score gr3: 28%
  • Mean literacy score gr6: 28%
  • Mean numeracy score gr6: 30%

TIMSS 2011(Gr9 – Maths & Science)

  • SA has joint lowest performance of 42 countries
  • Improvement by 1.5 grade levels (2003-2011)
  • 76% of grade nine students in 2011 still had not acquired a basic understanding about whole numbers, decimals, operations or basic graphs, and this is at the improved level of performance

prePIRLS2011 (Gr 4 Reading)

  • 29% of SA Gr4 learners completely illiterate (cannot decode text in any langauge)
  • NSES 2007/8/9
  • Systemic Evaluations 2007
  • Matric exams
quantifying learning deficits in gr3
Quantifying learning deficits in Gr3

Figure 1: Kernel density of mean Grade 3 performance on Grade 3 level items by quintiles of student socioeconomic status (Systemic Evaluation 2007)

  • Following Muralidharan & Zieleniak (2013) we classify students as performing at the grade-appropriate level if they obtain a mean score of 50% or higher on the full set of Grade 3 level questions.

(Grade-3-appropriate level)

16%

Only the top 16%of grade 3 students are performing at a Grade 3 level

51%

11%

slide20
NSES question 42NSESfollowed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007), Grade 4 (2008) and Grade 5 (2009).

Grade 3 maths curriculum: “Can perform calculations using appropriate symbols to solve problems involving: division of at least 2-digit by 1-digit numbers”

Even at the end of Grade 5 most (55%+) quintile 1-4 students cannot answer this simple Grade-3-level problem.

“The powerful notions of ratio, rate and proportion are built upon the simpler concepts of whole number, multiplication and division, fraction and rational number, and are themselves the precursors to the development of yet more complex concepts such as triangle similarity, trigonometry, gradient and calculus” (Taylor & Reddi, 2013: 194)

(Spaull & Viljoen, forthcoming)

slide21
By Gr 3 all children should be able to read, Gr 4 children should be transitioning from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”

Red sections here show the

proportion of children that are

completely illiterate in Grade 4

, i.e. they cannot read in any

language

http://web.up.ac.za/sitefiles/File/publications/2013/PIRLS_2011_Report_12_Dec.PDF

sacmeq 2007 grade 6
SACMEQ 2007 – Grade 6

By this definition of functional illiteracy, if students are functionally illiterate they cannot read a short and simple text and extract meaning  i.e. they cannot read for meaning

grade 6 literacy
Grade 6 Literacy

SA Gr 6 Literacy

Kenya Gr 6 Literacy

2%

5%

7%

25%

49%

46%

39%

Public current expenditure per pupil: $258

Public current expenditure per pupil: $1225

Additional resources is not the answer

27%

rationale
Rationale
  • Learning is a cumulative process that builds on itself i.e. it follows a hierarchical structure (see Gagne, 1962; Aubrey, Dahl, & Godfrey, 2006; Aubrey & Godfrey, 2003; Aunio & Niemivirta, 2010).
  • Mathematics, in particular, follows a coherent, explicit and systematically principled structure (vertically integrated subject – Bernstein, 1999)
  • With respect to South Africa, Taylor et al. (2003, p. 129):

“At the end of the Foundation Phase, learners have only a rudimentary grasp of the principles of reading and writing... it is very hard for learners to make up this cumulative deficit in later years...particularly in those subjects that...[have] vertical demarcation requirements (especially mathematics and science), the sequence, pacing, progression and coverage requirements of the high school curriculum make it virtually impossible for learners who have been disadvantaged by their early schooling to ‘catch-up’ later sufficiently to do themselves justice at the high school exit level.” (see also Schollar, 2008)

insurmountable learning deficits 0 3 sd
Insurmountable learning deficits: 0.3 SD

(Spaull & Viljoen, Forthcoming)

slide28

550,000 students drop out before matric

  • 99% do not get a non-matric qualification (Gustafsson, 2011: p11)
  • What happens to them? 50% youth unemployment.
dropout between gr8 and gr12
Dropoutbetween Gr8 and Gr12
  • Of 100 Gr8 quintile 1 students in 2009, 36 passed matric and 10 qualified for university
  • Of 100 Gr8 quintile 5 students in 2009, 68 passed matric and 39 qualified for university
  • “Contrary to what some would like the nation and the public to believe that our results hide inequalities, the facts and evidence show that the two top provinces (Free State and North West) are rural and poor.” (Motshekga, 2014)
what are the root causes of low and unequal achievement
What are the root causes of low and unequal achievement?

Matric pass rate

Subject choice

Throughput

No. endorsements

Media sees only this

MATRIC

Quality?

Pre-MATRIC

50% dropout

Low curric coverage

Low accountability

Weak culture of T&L

Vested interests

Low time-on-task

No early cognitive stimulation

Low quality teachers

HUGE learning deficits…

importance of basic content knowledge
Importance of basic content knowledge
  • Mathematics teachers need “a thorough mastery of the mathematics in several grades beyond that which they expect to teach, as well as of the mathematics in earlier grades” (Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, 2001, ch.2).
  • Carnoy& Chisholm’s (2008: p. 22) conceptual model distinguishes between basic content knowledge and higher level content knowledge.
maths teacher ck critically low
Maths teacher CK critically low

Which content areas do South African teachers struggle with?

slide37

SACMEQ III (2007) Mathematics-teacher mathematics test-scores for SACMEQ countries and South African quintiles of school wealth (95% confidence interval incl.)

rate of change example q17 sacmeq iii 2007 401 498 gr6 mathematics teachers
Rate of change example (Q17)SACMEQ III (2007)  401/498 Gr6 Mathematics teachers

Correct answer (7km):

38%of Gr 6 Maths teachers

7

2 education systems

slide39
Percentage of Grade 6 mathematics teachers with correct answer on Q17 of the SACMEQ III (2007) mathematics teacher test
conclusions
Conclusions

Ball et al (2008, p. 409): “Teachers who do not themselves know the subject well are not likely to have the knowledge they need to help students learn this content. At the same time just knowing a subject may well not be sufficient for teaching.”

bimodality indisputable fact
Bimodality – indisputable fact

PIRLS/ TIMSS/ SACMEQ/ NSES/ ANA/ Matric… by Wealth/ Language/ Location/ Dept…

slide44

In most government reports outcomes and inputs are not usually reported by quintile, only national averages

slide47

SOLUTION?

Accountability AND

Capacity

i mportant distinctions
Important distinctions

Often these 3 are spoken about interchangeably

i mportant distinctions1
Important distinctions

Inefficiency / corruption

i mportant distinctions2
Important distinctions

Inefficiency / corruption

Lack of capacity

i mportant distinctions3
Important distinctions

Inefficiency / corruption

Lack of capacity

Lack of accountability

accountability without capacity
Accountability without capacity
  • “Accountability systems and incentive structures, no matter how well designed, are only as effective as the capacity of the organization to respond. The purpose of an accountability system is to focus the resources and capacities of an organization towards a particular end. Accountability systems can’t mobilize resources that schools don’t have...the capacity to improve precedes and shapes schools’ responses to the external demands of accountability systems (Elmore, 2004b, p. 117).
  • “If policy-makers rely on incentives for improving either a school or a student, then the question arises, incentives to do what? What exactly should educators in failing schools do tomorrow - that they do not do today - to produce more learning? What should a failing student do tomorrow that he or she is not doing today?” (Loveless, 2005, pp. 16, 26).
capacity without accountability
Capacity without accountability
  • “In the absence of accountability sub-systems, support measures are very much a hit and miss affair. Accountability measures provide motivation for and direction to support measures, by identifying capacity shortcomings, establishing outcome targets, and setting in place incentives and sanctions which motivate and constrain teachers and managers throughout the system to apply the lessons learned on training courses in their daily work practices. Without these, support measures are like trying to push a piece of string: with the best will in the world, it has nowhere to go. Conversely, the performance gains achieved by accountability measures, however efficiently implemented, will reach a ceiling when the lack of leadership and technical skills on the part of managers, and curricular knowledge on the part of teachers, places a limit on improved performance. Thus, the third step in improving the quality of schooling is to provide targeted training programs to managers and teachers. To achieve optimal effects, these will need to connect up with and be steered by accountability measures” (Taylor, 2002, p. 17).
slide61

“Only when schools have both the incentive to respond to an accountability system as well as the capacity to do so will there be an improvement in student outcomes.” (p22)

the binding constraints approach
The binding constraints approach
  • It is “based on the idea that not all constraints bind equally, and that a sensible and practical strategy consists of identifying the most serious constraint(s) at work” (Rodrik, 2009: 6)
  • Hypothetical example…
slide67

“The left hand barrel has horizontal wooden slabs, while the right hand side barrel has vertical slabs. The volume in the first barrel depends on the sum of the width of all slabs. Increasing the width of any slab will increase the volume of the barrel. So a strategy on improving anything you can, when you can, while you can, would be effective. The volume in the second barrel is determined by the length of the shortest slab. Two implications of the second barrel are that the impact of a change in a slab on the volume of the barrel depends on whether it is the binding constraint or not. If not, the impact is zero. If it is the binding constraint, the impact will depend on the distance between the shortest slab and the next shortest slab” (Hausmann, Klinger, & Wagner, 2008, p. 17).

3 biggest challenges sa
3 biggestchallenges - SA
  • Failure to get the basics right
    • Children who cannot read, write and compute properly (Functionally illiterate/innumerate) after 6 years of formal full-time schooling
    • Often teachers lack even the most basic knowledge
  • Equity in education
    • 2 education systems – dysfunctional system operates at bottom of African countries, functional system operates at bottom of developed countries.
    • More resources is NOT the silver bullet – we are not using existing resources
  • Lack of accountability
    • Little accountability to parents in majority of school system
    • Little accountability between teachers and Department
    • Teacher unions abusing power and acting unprofessionally
way forward
Way forward?
  • Acknowledge the extent of the problem
    • Low quality education is one of the three largest crises facing our country (along with HIV/AIDS and unemployment). Need the political will and public support for widespread reform.
  • Focus on the basics
    • Every child MUST master the basics of foundational numeracy and literacy these are the building blocks of further education – weak foundations = recipe for disaster
    • Teachers need to be in school teaching (re-introduce inspectorate?)
    • Every teacher needs a minimum competency (basic) in the subjects they teach
    • Every child (teacher) needs access to adequate learning (teaching) materials
    • Use every school day and every school period – maximise instructional time
  • Increase information, accountability & transparency
    • At ALL levels – DBE, district, school, classroom, learner
    • Strengthen ANA
    • Set realistic goals for improvement and hold people accountable
when faced with an exceedingly low and unequal quality of education do we
When faced with an exceedingly low and unequal quality of education do we….

A) Increase accountability {US model}

      • Create a fool-proof highly specified, sequenced curriculum (CAPS/workbooks)
      • Measure learning better and more frequently (ANA)
      • Increase choice/information in a variety of ways

B) Improve the quality of teachers {Finnish model}

      • Attract better candidates into teaching degrees  draw candidates from the top (rather than the bottom) of the matric distribution
      • Increase the competence of existing teachers (Capacitation)
      • Long term endeavor which requires sustained, committed, strategic, thoughtful leadership (something we don’t have)

C) All of the above {Utopian model}

  • Perhaps A while we set out on the costly and difficult journey of B??
4 take home points
4 “Take-Home” points

Many things we have not discussed – Grade-R/ECD, teacher unions, LOLT, teacher training (in- and pre-), RCTs etc.

  • South Africa performs extremely poorly on local and international assessments of educational achievement.
  • In large parts of the schooling system there is very little learning taking place.
  • In SA we have two public schooling systems not one.
  • Strategies for improvement need to focus on 1) accountability, 2) capacity, 3) alignment.
references and further reading
References and further reading
  • Spaull, N. 2014. Accountability in South African Education. Ch4 in “Transformation Audit 2013: Confronting Exclusion” Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Cape Town.
  • Spaull, N. 2013. South Africa’s Education Crisis: The Quality of Education in South Africa 1995-2011. Centre for Development and Enterprise.
  • Spaull, N. 2012. SACMEQ at a Glance for 10 African countries. 2 page research note per country.
  • Spaull, N. 2013. Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development. 33 (2013) pp. 436-447  (WP here)
  • Carnoy, M., Chisholm, L., & Chilisa, B. (2012). The Low Achievement Trap: Comparing Schooling in Botswana and South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Donalson, A. (1992). Content, Quality and Flexibility: The Economics of Education System Change. Spotlight 5/92. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.
  • Elmore, R. (2004a). Agency, Reciprocity, and Accountability in Democratic Education. Cambridge, MA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.
  • Elmore, R. (2008). Leadership as the practice of improvement. In OECD, Improving School Leadership. Volume 2: Case Studies on System Leadership (pp. 37-67). Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • Fiske, E., & Ladd, H. (2004). Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-apartheid South Africa. Washington: Brookings Institution Press / HSRC Press.
  • Fleisch, B. (2008). Primary Education in Crisis: Why South African schoolchildren underachieve in reading and mathematics. Cape Town. : Juta & Co.
  • Hoadley, U. (2010). What doe we know about teaching and learning in primary schools in South Africa? A review of the classroom-based research literature. Report for the Grade 3 Improvement project of the University of Stellenbosch. Western Cape Education Department.
  • Taylor, N., Muller, J., & Vinjevold, P. (2003). Getting Schools Working. Cape Town: Pearson Education.
  • Van der Berg, S. (2007). Apartheid’s Enduring Legacy: Inequalities in Education. Journal of African Economies, 16(5), 849-880.
  • Van der Berg, S. (2008). How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa. Centre for European, Governance and Economic Development Research (CEGE) Discussion Papers 69.
  • Van der Berg, S., Burger, C., Burger, R., de Vos, M., du Rand, G., Gustafsson, M., Shepherd, D., Spaull, N., Taylor, S., van Broekhuizen, H., and von Fintel, D. (2011). Low quality education as a poverty trap. Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch, Department of Economics. Research report for the PSPPD project for Presidency.
  • Shalem, Y. (2003). Do we have a theory of change? Calling change models to account. Perspectives in Education, 21(1), 29-49.
  • Background to SACMEQ:
  • Hungi, N., Makuwa, D., Ross, K., Saito, M., Dolata, S., van Capelle, F., et al. (2011). SACMEQ III Project Results: Levels and Trends in School Resources among SACMEQ School Systems. Paris: Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality.
  • Ross, K., Saito, M., Dolata, S., Ikeda, M., Zuze, L., Murimba, S., et al. (2005). The Conduct of the SACMEQ III Project. In E. Onsomu, J. Nzomo, & C. Obiero, The SACMEQ II Project in Kenya: A Study of the Conditions of Schooling and the Quality of Education. Harare: SACMEQ.
  • Murimba, S. (2005) SACMEQ Mission, Approach and Projects. Prospects, vol. XXXV, no. 1, March 2005
slide73
Thank youComments & Questions?This presentation & others are available online at:www.nicspaull.com/researchNicholasSpaull@gmail.com
decreasing proportion of matrics taking mathematics
Decreasing proportion of matrics taking mathematics

Table 4: Mathematics outputs since 2008 (Source: Taylor, 2012, p. 4)

teacher content knowledge
Teacher Content Knowledge
    • Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences(2001, ch.2)recommends that mathematics teachers need:
    • “Athorough mastery of the mathematics in several grades beyond that which they expect to teach, as well as of the mathematics in earlier grades” (2001 report ‘The Mathematical Education of Teachers’)
  • Ball et al (2008, p. 409)
    • “Teachers who do not themselves know the subject well are not likely to have the knowledge they need to help students learn this content. At the same time just knowing a subject may well not be sufficient for teaching.”
  • Shulman (1986, p. 9)
    • “We expect that the subject matter content understanding of the teacher be at least equal to that of his or her lay colleague, the mere subject matter major”
south africa specifically
South Africa specifically…
  • Taylor & Vinjevold’s (1999, p. 230) conclusion in their book “Getting Learning Right” is particularly explicit:
  • “The most definite point of convergence across the [President’s Education Initiative] studies is the conclusion that teachers’ poor conceptual knowledge of the subjects they are teaching is a fundamental constraint on the quality of teaching and learning activities, and consequently on the quality of learning outcomes.”
teacher knowledge
Teacher knowledge

Teachers cannot teach what they do not know.

Demonizing teachers is popular, but unhelpful

  • “For every increment of performance I demand from you, I have an equal responsibility to provide you with the capacity to meet that expectation. Likewise, for every investment you make in my skill and knowledge, I have a reciprocal responsibility to demonstrate some new increment in performance”
  • (Elmore, 2004b, p. 93).
distribution of mathematics teacher ck by geographical location
Distribution of mathematics teacher CK by geographical location

South Africa is the only country (amongst SACMEQ countries) where rural mathematics teachers know statistically significantly less than urban teachers.

slide84
NSES question 37NSESfollowed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007), Grade 4 (2008) and Grade 5 (2009).

Grade 3 maths curriculum: “Can perform calculations using approp symbols to solve problems involving: MULTIPLICATION of at least 2-digit by 1-digit numbers”

At the end of Grade 5 more than a third of quintile 1-4 students cannot answer this simple Grade-3-level problem.

possible solution
Possible solution…
  • The DBE cannot afford to be idealistic in its implementation of teacher training and testing
    • Aspirational planning approach: All primary school mathematics teachers should be able to pass the matric mathematics exam

(benchmark = desirable teacher CK)

    • Realistic approach: (e.g.) minimum proficiency benchmark where teachers have to achieve at least 90% in the ANA of the grades in which they teach, and 70% in Grade 9 ANA

(benchmark = basic teacher CK)

  • First we need to figure out what works!
  • Pilot the system with one district. Imperative to evaluate which teacher training option (of hundreds) works best in urban/rural for example. Rigorous impact evaluations are needed before selecting a program and then rolling it out
  • Tests are primarily for diagnostic purposes not punitive purposes
accountability stages
Accountability stages...
  • SA is a few decades behind many OECD countries. Predictable outcomes as we move from stage to stage. Loveless (2005: 7) explains the historical sequence of accountability movements for students – similar movements for teachers?
    • Stage 1 – Setting standards

(defining what students should learn),

        • CAPS
    • Stage 2 - Measuring achievement

(testing to see what students have learned),

        • ANA
    • Stage 3 - Holding educators & students accountable

(making results count).

        • Western Cape performance agreements?

Stages in accountability movements:

TRAINING

  • “For every increment of performance I demand from you, I have an equal responsibility to provide you with the capacity to meet that expectation. Likewise, for every investment you make in my skill and knowledge, I have a reciprocal responsibility to demonstrate some new increment in performance” (Elmore, 2004b, p. 93).
when faced with an exceedingly low and unequal quality of education do we1
When faced with an exceedingly low and unequal quality of education do we….

A) Increase accountability {US model}

      • Create a fool-proof highly specified, sequenced curriculum (CAPS/workbooks)
      • Measure learning better and more frequently (ANA)
      • Increase choice/information in a variety of ways

B) Improve the quality of teachers {Finnish model}

      • Attract better candidates into teaching degrees  draw candidates from the top (rather than the bottom) of the matric distribution
      • Increase the competence of existing teachers (Capacitation)
      • Long term endeavor which requires sustained, committed, strategic, thoughtful leadership (something we don’t have)

C) All of the above {Utopian model}

  • Perhaps A while we set out on the costly and difficult journey of B??
way forward1
Way forward?
  • Acknowledge the extent of the problem
    • Low quality education is one of the three largest crises facing our country (along with HIV/AIDS and unemployment). Need the political will and public support for widespread reform.
  • Focus on the basics
    • Every child MUST master the basics of foundational numeracy and literacy these are the building blocks of further education – weak foundations = recipe for disaster
    • Teachers need to be in school teaching (re-introduce inspectorate?)
    • Every teacher needs a minimum competency (basic) in the subjects they teach
    • Every child (teacher) needs access to adequate learning (teaching) materials
    • Use every school day and every school period – maximise instructional time
  • Increase information, accountability & transparency
    • At ALL levels – DBE, district, school, classroom, learner
    • Strengthen ANA
    • Set realistic goals for improvement and hold people accountable
3 biggest challenges sa1
3 biggestchallenges - SA
  • Failure to get the basics right
    • Children who cannot read, write and compute properly (Functionally illiterate/innumerate) after 6 years of formal full-time schooling
    • Often teachers lack even the most basic knowledge
  • Equity in education
    • 2 education systems – dysfunctional system operates at bottom of African countries, functional system operates at bottom of developed countries.
    • More resources is NOT the silver bullet – we are not using existing resources
  • Lack of accountability
    • Little accountability to parents in majority of school system
    • Little accountability between teachers and Department
    • Teacher unions abusing power and acting unprofessionally
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Ensuring that public funding is actually pro-poor and also that it actually reaches the poor.
  • Understanding whether the motivation is for human dignity reasons or improving learning outcomes.
  • Ensuring that additional resources are allocated based on evidence rather than anecdote.
  • The need for BOTH accountability AND capacity.
slide96

“The left hand barrel has horizontal wooden slabs, while the right hand side barrel has vertical slabs. The volume in the first barrel depends on the sum of the width of all slabs. Increasing the width of any slab will increase the volume of the barrel. So a strategy on improving anything you can, when you can, while you can, would be effective. The volume in the second barrel is determined by the length of the shortest slab. Two implications of the second barrel are that the impact of a change in a slab on the volume of the barrel depends on whether it is the binding constraint or not. If not, the impact is zero. If it is the binding constraint, the impact will depend on the distance between the shortest slab and the next shortest slab” (Hausmann, Klinger, & Wagner, 2008, p. 17).

slide97
NSES question 37NSESfollowed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007), Grade 4 (2008) and Grade 5 (2009).

Grade 3 maths curriculum: “Can perform calculations using approp symbols to solve problems involving: MULTIPLICATION of at least 2-digit by 1-digit numbers”

Even at the end of Grade 5 more than a third of quintile 1-4 students cannot answer this simple Grade-3-level problem.

“The powerful notions of ratio, rate and proportion are built upon the simpler concepts of whole number, multiplication and division, fraction and rational number, and are themselves the precursors to the development of yet more complex concepts such as triangle similarity, trigonometry, gradient and calculus” (Taylor & Reddi, 2013: 194)

(Spaull & Viljoen, forthcoming)