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Education

RESEP education research has a strong emphasis on empirical research in a broad range of policy-related issues including teacher knowledge and training, early-childhood outcomes, accountability, socioeconomic status, and school effectiveness. Policy application is one of the central aims of the research.

Education

Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on NSC and NBT Performance

In this research note, Emma Whitelaw and Nicola Branson from the University of Cape Town (UCT), examine the association between National Senior Certificate (NSC) performance and National Benchmark Test (NBT) scores among applicants to UCT. They find that during COVID-19 disrupted years applicants’ admission point scores, derived from NSC grades, rose relative to NBT scores, which remained similar since the onset of COVID-19.

May 25, 2024 By: Emma Whitelaw and Nicola Branson PDF

COVID-19 and inequality in reading outcomes in South Africa: PIRLS 2016 and 2021

In this Covid-Generation working paper, Bianca Böhmer and Gabrielle Wills contribute new evidence on pandemic effects on reading scores and inequalities in reading in South Africa through an in-depth analysis of data from the 2016 and 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) – a Grade 4 reading comprehension assessment.

December 23, 2023 By: Bianca Böhmer and Gabrielle Wills PDF

What rich new education data can tell us

This report leverages data mainly derived from the South African School Administration Management System (SA-SAMS), including a unique longitudinal version of the Data Driven Districts (DDD) data for three provinces as well as the Learner Unit Record Information Tracking System (Lurits) data and National Senior Certificate (matric) examination data to analyse the dynamics of the South African education system in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. It provides a detailed analysis of learner flows, assessment strategies, and teacher dynamics, offering valuable insights for policymakers and educational stakeholders and illustrating how such data can be used in education policy and planning.

December 22, 2023 By: Servaas van der Berg, Chris van Wyk, Martin Gustafsson, Herman Meyer, Abigail Chari, Chloé van Biljon, Adaiah Lilenstein, Rebecca Selkirk & Jessica McCallum PDF

The role of assessment in Foundation Phase improvement: The Annual National Assessments and beyond

Measuring learning outcomes (what learners know and can do) has been a contested terrain for many education systems and researchers, despite universal acknowledgement that assessment plays an important role in curriculum implementation (UNESCO 2013; Darling-Hammond & Wentworth 2010; Department of Education [DoE] 1995). Venkat and Sapire (this volume) refer to the ‘essential circuits’ of education and the
link between the curriculum, teaching practice, and assessment. Our focus is strictly on the Foundation Phase (FP), and where we refer to a specific subject, mathematics is our first concern. This chapter, therefore, only makes passing reference to the major external assessment, the National Senior Certificate (NSC) or matric examination.

July 11, 2023 By: Carol Nuga Deliwe and Servaas van der Berg PDF

COVID-19 and the South African curriculum policy response

In this note by Ursula Hoadley, she tracks curriculum and assessment policy changes over three years (2020 to 2023) in South Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures. Some changes were made to the national CAPS curriculum documents in the form of trimming content (2020), identifying ‘fundamental’ knowledge (2020), and reviewing subject content (2022).

May 16, 2023 By: Ursula Hoadley PDF

Educational issues and the impact of COVID-19: what education data reveal

COVID-19 caused disruptions to schooling on an unprecedented scale. Emerging evidence indicate sthat these disruptions impacted schooling in South Africa in many ways, from shortened curricula to significant learning losses occurring over the two years of the pandemic (Hoadley, 2020; Ardington,
Wills and Kotze, 2021; Van der Berg et al., 2022). This report constitutes the first attempt at investigating how these outcomes affected broader system performance in terms of key outcomes such as learner flows through the system, matric results, and performance in school-based assessments (SBAs). The report also sheds light on some important other education issues.

February 2, 2023 By: Servaas van der Berg, Chris van Wyk, Rebecca Selkirk, Herman Meyer, Heleen Hofmeyr, Eldridge Moses and Joel Gondwe PDF

What lies behind South Africa’s improvements in PIRLS? An Oaxaca-Blinder analysis of the 2011 and 2016 data

Three international testing programmes, including PIRLS, point to educational quality improvements in South Africa during the period 2002 to 2019. The gains were substantial, relative to the steepness of improvements seen in other countries. What lay behind these trends? National education quality trends are not easy to explain, and this is seldom attempted in a systematic manner.

July 15, 2022 By: Martin Gustafsson& Stephen Taylor  PDF

School drop out and farm input subsidies: gender and kinship heterogeneity in Malawi

An emerging interdisciplinary literature explores how kinship practices affect household resource allocation through efficiency of production and consumption. This paper focuses on a key gender norm – how a resource transfer to households affects school drop out of girls relative to boys, under different kinship practices.

July 15, 2022 By: Martin Mwale, Dieter von Fintel, & Anja Smith PDF

School Teacher Supply and Demand in South Africa in 2019 and Beyond

This research report was produced for the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The study was undertaken to assess demand for, and supply of, teachers in the public service, in order to better inform teacher training policy.

March 13, 2022 By: Servaas van der Berg, Martin Gustafsson, and Cobus Burger PDF

New foundations: Strengthening ECCE provisioning in South Africa after COVID-19

Events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to undo 20 years of sustained expansion in access to early childhood care and education (ECCE) in South Africa. In this paper, we explore the underlying structural weaknesses in non-grade R ECCE provisioning that were exposed through the pandemic, and the strengths that have surfaced.

March 2, 2022 By: Gabrielle Wills and Jesal Kika-Mistry PDF