Debra Shepherd

Researcher

Having completed her undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch in 2005, Debra passed both her Bcomm Honours and Mcomm degrees Cum Laude in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Debra was employed as a junior lecturer and researcher in the Economics Department at Stellenbosch from 2008 to 2011 before working as a researcher at the African Micro Economic Research Unit based at the University of Witwatersrand. Since 2013 Debra has returned to Stellenbosch University, where she works as a researcher with the Research on Socio-economic Policy (RESEP). She is also a VU-NRF Desmond Tutu Doctoral Scholarship candidate and completed her PhD in Development Economics through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Stellenbosch University. Her thesis focuses on analysing efficiency and effectiveness within the South African education system. Her research interests include applied micro-econometrics, the economics of education and labour economics.

dieter2@nullsun.ac.za

Dieter von Fintel is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch, as well as a research affiliate of LEAP, RESEP and IZA. He is an applied micro-econometrician seeking to understand long-run and short-run effects of policies on development, labour markets and households in Africa, as well as spatial and generational persistence.

Explaining the Western Cape performance paradox: An econometric analysis

Wills, G., Shepherd, D., and Kotze, J. (2018). Explaining the Western Cape performance paradox: An econometric analysis, in The Politics and Governance of Basic Education: A…
November 8, 2018 By: Debra Shepherd, Gabrielle Wills, Janeli Kotzé PDF

Understanding language in education and grade 4 reading performance using a ‘natural experiment’ of Botswana and South Africa

Shepherd, D.L. (2018). Understanding language in education and grade 4 reading performance using a 'natural experiment' of Botswana and South Africa. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, Special Issue:…
October 8, 2018 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Gender, Self-concept and Mathematics and Science Performance of South African Grade 9 Students

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP10/2017
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP11/2017 Publication date: October 2017 Abstract: Despite improvements over the past decade, South African women continue to be underrepresented in…
July 16, 2018 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Interrogating a Paradox of Performance in the WCED: A Provincial and Regional Comparison of Student Learning

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2016
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2016 Abstract: The Western Cape, one of South Africa’s better performing provinces in terms of educational outcomes, has a relatively…
July 4, 2018 By: Debra Shepherd, Gabrielle Wills, Janeli Kotzé PDF

Post-Apartheid Trends in Gender Discrimination in South Africa: Analysis through Decomposition Techniques

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP06/2008
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP06/2008 Abstract: Using appropriate econometric methods and 11 representative household surveys, this paper empirically assesses the extent and evolution of…
October 17, 2017 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Signalling performance: Continuous assessment and matriculation examination marks in South African schools

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP28/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP28/2010 Abstract: Economists regard information and feedback as important ways for self-correction in a system. This study analyses one aspect…

The impact of the international economic crisis on child poverty in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP13/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP13/2010 Abstract: This paper reports on a study to provide insights into the magnitude of the shocks associated with the…
October 17, 2017 By: Debra Shepherd, Dieter von Fintel, Servaas van der Berg, Margaret Chitiga, Bernard Decaluwé, Ramos Mabugu, Helene Maisonneve, Véroniwue Rombichaud PDF

The costs of illiteracy in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2010 Abstract: In South Africa, there has been a surge in publicly funded adult literacy education in recent years. There…

Constraints to school effectiveness: what prevents poor schools from delivering results?

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2011
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2011 Abstract: The poor state of quality education in South Africa is confirmed by the weak performance of South African…
October 16, 2017 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Journal Articles (Non-subsidised)

Journal Articles (Non-subsidised)
CHITIGA M, DECALUWE B, MABUGU ERM, MAISONNAVE H, ROBICHAUD R, SHEPHERD DL, VAN DER BERG S, VON FINTEL D.P. A retrospective look at how well…

A question of efficiency: decomposing South African reading test scores using PIRLS 2006

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP20/2013
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP20/2013 Abstract The "bimodal" pattern of performance observed in South Africa illustrates the persistence with which learners of former Black…
October 16, 2017 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Learn to teach, teach to learn: A within-pupil across-subject approach to estimating the impact of teacher subject knowledge on South African grade 6 performance

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01.2015
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01.2015 Publication date: 2015 Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of teacher subject knowledge on student performance using a nationally…
October 16, 2017 By: Debra Shepherd PDF

Is school based assessment in matric achieving its potential?

Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 02/2015
Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 02/2015 Abstract: Matriculation results are vital for learners. Young people’s options for university entry, bursaries, career choice and labour market prospects…

The open door of learning – Access restricted: School effectiveness and efficiency across the South African education system

Thesis (PhD)—Stellenbosch University, 2016.
Candidate: Debra Shepherd Supervisor: Professor Servaas van der Berg and Professor Chris Elbers Institution: Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Department of Economics Abstract: The enduring…
August 14, 2016 By: Debra Shepherd, Servaas van der Berg, Chris Elbers (Co-supervisor) PDF

A Retrospective Look at How Well a Macro‐Micro Model Can Analyze the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on a Developing Country

  Abstract This article is a follow-up to one that looked at the impact of the economic crisis on child poverty in South Africa using…
September 9, 2015 By: Debra Shepherd, Dieter von Fintel, Servaas van der Berg, Margaret Chitiga, Bernard Decaluwe, Ramos Mabugu, Helene Maisonnave, Veronique Robichaud PDF

Reflecting on an impact evaluation of the Grade R programme: Method, results and policy responses

Abstract: This paper describes the expansion since 2001 of a public pre-school programme in South Africa known as ‘Grade R’, summarises the findings from an…

Continuous assessment and matriculation examination marks—an empirical examination

  Abstract: This study analyses information and feedback from matriculation-level continuous assessment in the South African education system in 2005. Continuous assessment (CASS) at the…

The impact of the introduction of grade r on learning outcomes

In December 2012 the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the Presidency in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) commissioned an…
October 4, 2013 By: Chris van Wyk, Debra Shepherd, Servaas van der Berg, Elizabeth Girdwood, John Kruger, Janeli Viljoen, Olivia Ezeobi, Poppie Ntaka PDF

Child Poverty in South Africa and the Global Financial and Economic Crisis

Book Summary Experts from the global North and South analyse the implications of economic crises on children, with a particular focus on the emerging evidence…
July 9, 2012 By: Debra Shepherd, Dieter von Fintel, Servaas van der Berg, Margaret Chitiga, Ramos Mabugu, Hélène Maisonnave, Véronique Robichaud PDF

 An analysis of continuous assessment (CASS) compared to matriculation examination results at South African schools

Abstract: This study analyses information and feedback from matriculation-level continuous assessment in the South African education system in 2005. Continuous assessment (CASS) at the time…