Understanding school performance: High School selection

School selection can be a nightmare for even the most informed parents. In this post we try to help share some of the ways in which SAILI chooses scholarship high schools.

The driving force behind SAILI’s success is getting the best “bang for buck” we can from the schools on offer. To make sure we give our funders the best “return on their investment” we scout for strong candidates and place them in the strong schools.

How we scout for candidates is a topic for another day but, how we identify strong schools is the topic of this post. Read more

SAILI Target Programme

Attacking school data: Introducing a guide for ANA assessment data analysis

Annual National Assessments (ANAs) now take place all the way through primary school (Grades 1-6) and also at grade 9. In the Western Cape – students also write provincial tests at Grade 3, 6, and 9 (called systemics or LitNum tests). While there is debate about the about these assessments – it is clear that far too many students perform poorly for us to be comfortable with the results.

The Department of Basic Education Released the ANA Report 2013 in December and I am finally getting around to reading it. Predictably, the results make for pretty dismal reading.   Read more

History or Geography? A surprise finding…

The Department of Education has released their report on the 2013 National Senior Certificate.  The departmental push for increased bachelor passes as well as increased maths and physical science passes is evident throughout.  SAILI noted in our blog last week, that taking maths does not always help with gaining a matric pass (see our post: Maths or Maths Lit).  However, as a general trend, we are seeing stronger performance in maths and science with the maths pass rate up from 54% to 59.1% and the physical science pass rate up from 61.3% to 67.4%.   Probably the greatest surprise in the report though is the emergence of History as a subject of choice both for those just aiming to pass and also those aiming for distinctions. Read more

Maths or Maths Lit? Making sense of Matric subject selection.

Inappropriate Matric subject selection in Grade 10 contributes to poor results and failures in Grade 12.  The most problematic subject is maths.  There has been a drive in recent years for more learners to take maths and hence improve our overall number of maths passes.  Due recognition is given to the crisis in scarce skills industries such as science and technology which rely on maths as a gateway subject to tertiary studies.

When students who could do well in maths take maths lit we lose potential human capital. Equally we must also acknowledge that for the many learners taking maths (those who ultimately fail or pass poorly), maths literacy may well have been a better option, improving not only their chance of passing matric but also their overall aggregate. Read more

Bird’s eye view of the South African schooling system

Ok – so I recently discovered the Department of Basic Education has what is called the Master List of schools available for download on its site.

I have been poking at this and while it has a lot of data, most of it is structural: stating what district, circuit etc a school is in. No performance data here or segmentation of students by grade which would give one a sense of perspective on attrition but, nevertheless it is an interesting data source for looking at the South African schooling system and with the right tools and some time can be a useful supporting resource. Read more