"This study quantifies a year’s worth of mathematics learning in South Africa (0.3 standard deviations) and uses this measure to develop empirically calibrated learning trajectories. Two main findings are (1) only the top 16% of South African Grade 3 children are performing at an appropriate Grade 3 level. (2) The learning gap between the poorest 60% of students and the wealthiest 20% of students is approximately three Grade-levels in Grade 3, growing to four Grade-levels by Grade 9. The paper concludes by arguing that the later in life we attempt to repair early learning deficits in mathematics, the costlier the remediation becomes."
Read more: Starting behind and staying behind in South Africa: The case of insurmountable learning deficits...
- The Eastern Cape had the lowest pass rate for Mathematics with a 45.5% compared to the next lowest of KwaZulu-Natal with 50.6%
- There was a significant decline in the number of students who wrote the maths and science exams in 2018 from 2017
- Maths: 2017-245,103, 2018-233,858
- Decrease of 11,245
- Physical Science: 2017-197,561, 2018: 172,319
- Decrease of 25,242
Read more: National Senior Certificate: 2018 School Subject Report
The Training and Teaching of mathematics is matter of teacher subject knowledge and pedagogy. But its implementation in the school context is a matter of organisation and authority.
For an intervention to improve the quality of mathematics in a school to succeed, it is essential that the project design include both these dimensions: the Mathematics teacher and the wider school organisational context.
This article provides examples of the dynamics and planning required of a typical school intervention programme to gain traction.
Read more: Mathematics Teaching Project - Factors Influencing Success
There is no doubt that education is a vitally important aspect of every young South African’s future. There is equally no doubt that the current education system is facing many challenges and is struggling to produce school leavers of the calibre required in industry, most notably when it comes to the subject of mathematics. The Improving Maths Performance Debate, held in Johannesburg in 2015, brought some of South Africa’s brightest minds together to consider solutions to this recurrent challenge.
Read more: Tackling the challenges of improving South African learners’ maths results
“South Africa is significantly underperforming in education, particularly mathematics teaching and learning. Mathematics teaching is often poor quality, with teachers not able to answer questions in the curriculum they are teaching, one indicator of the challenge. Often national testing is misleading as it does not show the major gap at lower grade levels. Of the full complement of pupils who start school, only 50 per cent will make it to Grade 12 and only 12 per cent will qualify for university entrance. Fundamental reforms are needed in the public sector. Business leaders need to incorporate an understanding of private education and other market experiments and schooling innovations in their overall perspective and priorities for intervention and reform.“
Read more: Mathematics outcomes in South African schools: What are the facts? What should be done?
“The Zenex Foundation initiated a metaevaluation of 23 of its mathematics, science and language projects in South African schools between 1998 and 2006. This forms part of its commitment to project evaluation and research as a way of strengthening its impact. The aim of each project has been to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and to achieve positive change in schools. The projects have achieved varying levels of success, but more importantly, the evaluations have provided invaluable information on critical success factors and the dynamics of school development. The lessons documented by the meta-evaluation have informed the development of the Zenex Foundation’s strategy for the next ten years.”
Read more: Zenex Foundation: Educating for impact in mathematics, science and language - A ten year review
“This evaluation report examines the effectiveness of the Inkanyezi Project, a Zenex Foundation funded initiative that enabled selected Black learners to attend public schools with a history of providing quality Mathematics and Science education.
Conducted by Quality Projects in Education and Schaffer & Associates from 2009 to 2016, the evaluation investigated, inter alia, whether the performance of the participating learners improved in Mathematics and Science, and what lessons could be learned in terms of expanding the project to more schools, and advancing Mathematics and Science teaching and learning in schools. The report contains a number of findings around mentorship, learner selection, project management and other elements of the project.”
Read more: Evaluation of Inkanyezi Learners in Public Schools Programme: Summary of Key Finding
“The evaluation was of a bridging programme offered to learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who wanted to improve the quality of their Grade 12 Mathematics and Science results. The bridging programme was presented through a College funded by a JSE-listed technology and engineering company.”
Read more: Summary of the evaluation of a bridging programme to improve the quality of Grade 12 Mathematics...
“This research into the factors that contribute to quality Mathematics and Science teaching in public schools, was funded by the Zenex Foundation and conducted by the Centre for Development and Enterprise.
The study, which was concluded at the end of 2013, focused on second tier schools that perform just below the top producers of Mathematics and Science learners but above the national average. The research examined the relationship between school performance in Mathematics and factors such as teacher to learner ratios, teacher qualifications and experience, and teacher competence.”
Read more: Research Report: Expanding the pool of quality Mathematics and Science passes in public schools