Identifying policy priorities to improve outcomes for poor primary school learners

Author(s): Nic Spaull

Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 03/2011

Abstract:
Socio-economic status has a significant impact on primary school learner performance. Poorer learners often suffer poor educational outcomes: They start school with a disadvantage that stays with them because they face financial, resource, infrastructure and institutional constraints. Although such broad observations should inform the basic foundations of education policy, they are not particularly useful when it comes to formulating and prioritising practical, detailed and actionable policy measures. A recent study analyses the reading and maths test scores of a set of Grade 6 school learners and identifies various key factors that affected their performance. In addition, results are broken down according to socio-economic grouping to identify those policy measures which, if implemented, will have a positive impact on educational outcomes in general, and on the performance of poor learners specifically.

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