Tag Archives: School

EDUCATION: Should school maths in (South) Africa be in ICU?

Annual National Assessment 2014 – more of the same…
by Sam Christie, Director of SAILI (saili.org.za)

2014 View

Here we can see the breakdown of performance for all students, by province for maths at grade 9. This will be shocking if you have not seen it before.

Here is the same one from last year and apart from some formatting changes – the view is more or less identical. Was shocking then, and still is now…

2013 View

Then I checked the 2012 version, well apart from flipping the image so that high performance is at the bottom, again the story is the same.

2012 View

In my last post on this subject I wrote the following:

I know a lot of folks have problems with system testing and the ANA’s do have problems (curriculum coverage/moderation marking and increased focus on test prep etc) but in the absence of any better data, we must use what we have or ask if we would rather not know the scale of our problems.

Having read the ANA reports for past couple of years though, I think we now cannot hide from the fact that knowing we have problems, where they are etc does not really seem to help us focus on fixing them.

This statement is what I pulled out of the recommendations and way forward section of the 2014 ANA report – this relates specifically to the grade 9 performance:

“Fast-track support” to underperforming schools? But that must be almost the whole school system if the ANA data is telling us anything.

I have not read the whole report yet, and apparently there are gains in the primary school system, I will have to look at that when I get a chance but what is clear is that High Schools remain extremely weak at maths. We also know that this weakness is not evenly distributed. A small sample of typically high cost schools account for the vast majority of high performance.

For an interactive view of the data, I have updated the live visualisation I put together on the 2013 ANA’s – it can be seen here:

SAILI Analysis of 2013 and 2014 ANA data.

By Jan we will be back to talking about matric – which is a pity as grade 9 in my mind should be the real talking point. Students are all still doing the same subjects – there is no maths lit here, students have not dropped out yet – dropout makes a lot of schools look better at matric than they really are and grade 9 is where students choose their matric subjects.

Enough for now…..

A MISSION FOR INSPIRATION, EDUCATION & SCIENCE

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