Determinants of Grade 12 Pass Rates in the post-
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Determinants of Grade 12 Pass Rates in the post- Apartheid South African Schooling System Haroon Bhorat and Morne Oosthuizen Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town E-mail: [email protected] Website: Background & Approach.

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Determinants of Grade 12 Pass Rates in the post-Apartheid South African Schooling SystemHaroon Bhorat and Morne OosthuizenDevelopment Policy Research Unit, University of Cape TownE-mail: [email protected]:

Background approach
Background & Approach

  • “There is no blueprint for a model school that can be reproduced and handed out to policymakers, and such a blueprint is unlikely to be developed in the near future” (Hanushek,1995)

  • Massive and Swift Fiscal Reallocation:

    • 1980s:R1.00 spent on White pupils, while expenditure on each African pupils stood at 19c

    • 1997: R1.00 spent on African pupils, 71 cents per White pupil.

Background approach1
Background & Approach

  • Achievement Production Function Approach.

  • Specifically: How do the different covariates simultaneously impact on (school) average Grade 12 pass rates?

  • Data principally drawn from the SRN 2000, Matric Results 2000 and Census EA-level data for 2001.

Econometric approach
Econometric Approach

  • Through ordinary least squared (OLS) estimation, we derive a sample mean

  • The sample median can be derived through quantile regression approach by minimising the sum of the absolute residuals

  • Quantile Reg.: Estimation at different points in the conditional distribution of the dependent variable

Estimation difficulties
Estimation Difficulties

  • School-level data, so no intra-classroom variation

  • Omitted Variable Bias [parental and teacher variables weak]

  • Measurement Error [Quality of DoE datasets]

  • Selection Bias [School drop-out rates]

  • Not true post-apartheid estimates

Key results
Key Results

  • Insignificance of pupil-teacher ratios in determining the mean or the median pass rate

  • Physical infrastructure: Almost all classroom resources insignificant in shaping pass rates. but very specific variables are significant, namely

    • Non-standard classrooms and Staff Accomm.

  • Knowledge Infrastructure critical.

  • Environm. factors e.g. crime, electricity & telecomm. Influential.

  • Classification Dummies are critical and reflect composite of important omitted variables

  • Household Variables:

    • Location & Asset Poverty insignificant

    • Dependency Ratios & Adult Years of Schooling Significant

Five composite results
Five Composite Results

  • The Pupil-Teacher Ratio is insignificant in explaining the performance of all schools – barring those in the 80th percentile upward.

  • Relative unimportance of Physical Classroom Resources. Boards, desks and seats have low explanatory power.

    • Caveat: Non-std. classrooms do matter

  • Knowledge Infrastructure, and access to services and utilities critical in explaining relative performance.

  • Teacher and Parental Characteristics matter.

    • significant results for onsite staff accommodation; adult years of schooling and the classification dummies

  • A core group of poorly resourced, rural-based high-performing former Homeland Schools – requires closer analysis

Key relative performance results
Key Relative Performance Results

  • Inherited Socio-Economic Factors are Insignificant i.t.o Relative Performance

  • P-T Ratio is Insignificant in Explaining Relative Performance

  • Non-Std. Classrooms & Platoons increase dispersion in pass rates

  • Administrative efficiency and knowledge infrastructure matter for reducing the performance gap

  • Classification Dummies: Very Strong Effect

Early policy suggestions
[Early] Policy Suggestions

  • Know Which Portion of the Performance Spectrum you want to Influence, as Determinants are Different

  • Do not Invest in Reducing Classroom Size

  • Invest in Learning Infrastructure….but Invest wisely!

  • Investment in Knowledge Infrastructure will reap rewards

  • Try and Better Understand what is going on in Former Homeland Schools (Natural Experiments?)

  • Importance of Classification Dummies Suggests that many teacher, pupil characteristics are critical, and we need to understand what components impact on pass rates.

  • Socio-Economic Status Not As Critical as may have been assumed.