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Report
South Africa’s Education Crisis 1994-2011
Overview of new 2013 CDE report and focus on mathematics
NicSpaull.com
CDE – 17 October 2013
Outline
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Overview of CDE report
Overview of SA education system
SA students performance in maths
Mathematics item analysis
Teacher content knowledge
Way forward…
2
2013 CDE report: “South Africa’s Education Crisis”
1. Overview of South African children’s performance on local
and international assessments of educational achievement
(1995-2011)
2. Grade 6 teacher content knowledge in South Africa
3. National Senior Certificate performance: retention & subject
choice
4. Inequality of educational opportunity
5. Insurmountable learning deficits
6. Transitions from school to work and tertiary institutions
7. Policy suggestions & conclusions
3
Bird’s-eye view of the
South African education
system
High productivity jobs
and incomes (17%)
•
•
•
Type
Labour Market
Mainly professional,
managerial & skilled jobs
Requires graduates, good
quality matric or good
vocational skills
Historically mainly white
University/
FET
•
•
•
•
Vocational training
Affirmative action
•
-
High SES
background
+ECD
Minority
(20%)
Big demand for good
schools despite fees
Some
scholarships/bursaries
Unequal
society
Majority
(80%)
Low quality
secondary
school
Low SES
background
Often manual or low skill
jobs
Limited or low quality
education
Minimum wage can exceed
productivity
Low quality
primary
school
Attainment
•
High
quality
primary
school
-
Low productivity jobs &
incomes
•
Type of institution
(FET or University)
Quality of institution
Type of qualification
(diploma, degree etc.)
Field of study
(Engineering, Arts etc.)
Some motivated, lucky or
talented students make the
transition
Quality
•
•
High
quality
secondary
school
cf. Servaas van der Berg – QLFS 2011
5
SA Gr8/9 maths performance 19952011
480
440
400
TIMSS score
360
320
280
240
160
120
443
433
200
352
276
275
264
285
1995
1999
2002
2002
332
260
243
244
268
1995
1999
2002
2002
80
40
0
Grade 8
Grade 9
TIMSS Mathematics
•
•
•
2011
2011
TIMSS
middleincome
country
Gr8 mean
Grade 8
2011
Grade 9
2011
TIMSS
middleincome
country
Gr8 mean
TIMSS Science
Between 1995 and 2002 there was no improvement in Gr8 mathematics achievement
Between 2002 and 2011 there was a substantial improvement (approx. 1.5 grade levels) in Gr9 mathematics
achievement
Post-improvement level is still very low; the average SA Grade 9 pupil is two years worth of learning behind the
6
average Grade 8 pupil from 21 other middle-income countries in mathematics, and 2,8 years behind in science.
Middle-income countries
Independent
Quintile 5
Quintile 4
Quintile 3
Quintile 2
Quintile 1
Ghana
Honduras (Gr9)
South Africa (Gr9)
Morocco
Syrian Arab Republic
Indonesia
Botswana (Gr9)
Palestinian Nat'l Auth.
Jordan
Iran, Islamic Rep. of
Chile
Tunisia
Macedonia, Rep. of
Thailand
Georgia
Malaysia
Lebanon
Turkey
Romania
Armenia
Ukraine
Kazakhstan
Lithuania
Russian Federation
TIMSS 2011 Mathematics score
Figure 2: Average Grade Eight mathematics test scores for middle-income countries
participating in TIMSS 2011 (+95% confidence intervals around the mean)
600
560
520
480
440
400
360
320
280
240
200
South Africa (Gr9)
7
NSES question 42
NSES followed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007), Grade 4 (2008) and
Grade 5 (2009).
Grade 3 maths curriculum:
“Can perform calculations
using appropriate symbols to
solve problems involving:
division of at least 2-digit by
1-digit numbers”
100%
Even at the end of Grade 5
most (55%+) quintile 1-4
students cannot answer
this simple Grade-3-level
problem.
90%
35%
80%
70%
59%
57%
57%
55%
60%
50%
40%
13%
14%
14%
15%
20%
13%
10%
12%
12%
10%
16%
19%
17%
17%
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
30%
13%
Still wrong in Gr5
14%
Correct in Gr5
Correct in Gr4
Correct in Gr3
39%
0%
“The powerful notions of ratio, rate
and proportion are built upon the
simpler concepts of whole number,
multiplication and division, fraction
and rational number, and are
themselves the precursors to the
development of yet more complex
concepts such as triangle similarity,
trigonometry, gradient and calculus”
(Taylor & Reddi, 2013: 194)
Q5
Question 42
(Spaull & Viljoen, forthcoming)
8
NSES question 37
NSES followed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007), Grade 4 (2008) and
Grade 5 (2009).
Grade 3 maths curriculum:
“Can perform calculations
using approp symbols to
solve problems involving:
MULTIPLICATION of at least
2-digit by 1-digit numbers”
Even at the end of Grade 5
more than a third of
quintile 1-4 students
cannot answer this simple
Grade-3-level problem.
100%
18%
90%
80%
38%
37%
17%
17%
37%
33%
11%
70%
60%
50%
17%
22%
18%
20%
19%
Correct in Gr4
54%
20%
10%
Still wrong in Gr5
Correct in Gr5
40%
30%
18%
18%
23%
29%
25%
29%
Q2
Q3
Q4
Correct in Gr3
“The powerful notions of ratio, rate
and proportion are built upon the
simpler concepts of whole number,
multiplication and division, fraction
and rational number, and are
themselves the precursors to the
development of yet more complex
concepts such as triangle similarity,
trigonometry, gradient and calculus”
(Taylor & Reddi, 2013: 194)
0%
Q1
Q5
Question 37
(Spaull & Viljoen, forthcoming)
9
Systemic 2007 Gr3 NSES 2009 Gr5
Systemic 2007: Grade 3 tested in HL  41% correct
NSES 2009:
Grade 5 tested in English 43% correct
SACMEQ 2007 Gr6
SACMEQ 2007: Grade 6 tested
in English 21% correct (c)
On a 4-choice MCQ
random guessing
would produce 25%
correct on average
TIMSS 2011 Gr9
TIMSS 2011: Grade 9 tested in
Engl/Afr  27% correct (b)
10
South African teacher
content knowledge
Teacher Content Knowledge
• Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (2001, ch.2) recommends
that mathematics teachers need:
– “A thorough mastery of the mathematics in several grades beyond
that which they expect to teach, as well as of the mathematics in
earlier grades” (2001 report ‘The Mathematical Education of
Teachers’)
• Ball et al (2008, p. 409)
– “Teachers who do not themselves know the subject well are not likely
to have the knowledge they need to help students learn this content. At
the same time just knowing a subject may well not be sufficient for
teaching.”
• Shulman (1986, p. 9)
– “We expect that the subject matter content understanding of the
teacher be at least equal to that of his or her lay colleague, the mere
subject matter major”
12
South Africa specifically…
• Taylor & Vinjevold’s (1999, p. 230) conclusion in
their book “Getting Learning Right” is particularly
explicit:
• “The most definite point of convergence across the
[President’s Education Initiative] studies is the
conclusion that teachers’ poor conceptual knowledge
of the subjects they are teaching is a fundamental
constraint on the quality of teaching and learning
activities, and consequently on the quality of learning
outcomes.”
13
Carnoy & Chisholm (2008: p. 22) conceptual framework
14
Teacher knowledge
Teachers cannot teach
what they do not know.
CK – How
Demonizing teachers is
popular, but unhelpful
to do
fractions
PCK –
“For every increment of performance I demand
from you, I have an equal responsibility to
provide you with the capacity to meet that
expectation. Likewise, for every investment you
make in my skill and knowledge, I have a
reciprocal responsibility to demonstrate some
new increment in performance”
(Elmore, 2004b, p. 93).
how to
teach
fractions
Student
understands &
can calculate
fractions
30%
South Africa
Colombia
Philippines
Iran, Islamic Rep.
Portugal
Denmark
Iceland
Scotland
England
Norway
New Zealand
Spain
Lithuania
Greece
Cyprus
Germany
Latvia (LSS)
Sweden
ZANZIBAR
United States
Romania
Australia
TIMSS Gr8 Avg
Belgium (Fr)
Ireland
Canada
Switzerland
Netherlands
SOUTH AFRICA
LESOTHO
MOZAMBIQUE
Slovenia
Austria
Israel
Russian Federation
ZAMBIA
Bulgaria
France
Slovak Republic
NAMIBIA
Belgium (Fl)
MALAWI
Czech Republic
BOTSWANA
SACMEQ AVG.
SEYCHELLES
Hong Kong
SWAZILAND
Korea
UGANDA
TANZANIA
Singapore
KENYA
Average percentage correct on 16 common mathematics items
SACMEQ Grade 6 teachers’ average correct response (dark red) and TIMSS Grade 8 average correct response (light
red) on 16 items common to Gr 8 TIMSS Mathematics test 1995 and SACMEQ Grade 6 mathematics teachers test 2007
80%
70%
60%
SA Gr6 Teachers
50%
48%
40%
24%
20%
10%
0%
16
17
18
Solutions?
Possible solution…
• The DBE cannot afford to be idealistic in its implementation of
teacher training and testing
– Aspirational planning approach: All primary school mathematics teachers
should be able to pass the matric mathematics exam
(benchmark = desirable teacher CK)
– Realistic approach: (e.g.) minimum proficiency benchmark where teachers
have to achieve at least 90% in the ANA of the grades in which they teach, and
70% in Grade 9 ANA
(benchmark = basic teacher CK)
• Pilot the system with one district. Imperative to evaluate which teacher
training option (of hundreds) works best in urban/rural for example.
Rigorous impact evaluations are needed before selecting a program and
then rolling it out
• Tests are primarily for diagnostic purposes not punitive purposes
20
Accountability stages...
•
SA is a few decades behind many OECD
countries. Predictable outcomes as we
move from stage to stage. Loveless (2005:
7) explains the historical sequence of
accountability movements for students –
similar movements for teachers?
–
Stages in accountability movements:
1) Setting
standards
Stage 1 – Setting standards
(defining what students should learn),
– CAPS
–
Stage 2 - Measuring achievement
(testing to see what students have
learned),
2) Measuring
achievement
– ANA
–
Stage 3 - Holding educators & students
accountable
(making results count).
3) Holding
accountable
– Western Cape performance
agreements?
“For every increment of performance I demand from you, I have an equal responsibility to provide
you with the capacity to meet that expectation. Likewise, for every investment you make in my
skill and knowledge, I have a reciprocal responsibility to demonstrate some new increment in
performance” (Elmore, 2004b, p. 93).
21
When faced with an exceedingly low and
unequal quality of education do we….
A) Increase accountability {US model}
• Create a fool-proof highly specified, sequenced curriculum (CAPS/workbooks)
• Measure learning better and more frequently (ANA)
• Increase choice/information in a variety of ways
B) Improve the quality of teachers {Finnish model}
• Attract better candidates into teaching degrees  draw candidates from the
top (rather than the bottom) of the matric distribution
• Increase the competence of existing teachers (Capacitation)
• Long term endeavor which requires sustained, committed, strategic,
thoughtful leadership (something we don’t have)
C) All of the above {Utopian model}
•
Perhaps A while we set out on the costly and difficult journey of B??
22
3 biggest challenges - SA
1.Failure to get the basics right
•
•
Children who cannot read, write and compute properly (Functionally
illiterate/innumerate) after 6 years of formal full-time schooling
Often teachers lack even the most basic knowledge
2.Equity in education
•
•
2 education systems – dysfunctional system operates at bottom of African
countries, functional system operates at bottom of developed countries.
More resources is NOT the silver bullet – we are not using existing resources
3.Lack of accountability
•
•
•
Little accountability to parents in majority of school system
Little accountability between teachers and Department
Teacher unions abusing power and acting unprofessionally
23
Decreasing proportion of matrics
taking mathematics
Grade 12
Pass matric with maths
1200000
60%
1000000
50%
800000
40%
600000
30%
400000
20%
200000
10%
0
Proportion of matrics (%)
Number of students
Grade 10 (2 years earlier)
Those who pass matric
Proportion of matrics taking mathematics
0%
Matric 2008 (Gr 10 2006) Matric 2009 (Gr 10 2007) Matric 2010 (Gr 10 2008) Matric 2011 (Gr 10 2009)
2008
2009
2010
2011
Numbers wrote
maths
298 821
290 407
263 034
224 635
Numbers passed
maths
136 503
133 505
124 749
104 033
Maths pass rate
45,7%
46,0%
47,4%
46,3%
Table 4: Mathematics outputs since 2008 (Source: Taylor, 2012, p. 4)
Proportion taking
maths
56,1%
52,6%
48,8%
45,3%
Proportion
passing maths
25,6%
24,2%
23,2%
21,0%
24
Way forward?
1. Acknowledge the extent of the problem
•
Low quality education is one of the three largest crises facing our country (along with
HIV/AIDS and unemployment). Need the political will and public support for widespread
reform.
2. Focus on the basics
•
•
•
•
•
Every child MUST master the basics of foundational numeracy and literacy these are the
building blocks of further education – weak foundations = recipe for disaster
Teachers need to be in school teaching (re-introduce inspectorate?)
Every teacher needs a minimum competency (basic) in the subjects they teach
Every child (teacher) needs access to adequate learning (teaching) materials
Use every school day and every school period – maximise instructional time
3. Increase information, accountability & transparency
•
•
•
At ALL levels – DBE, district, school, classroom, learner
Strengthen ANA
Set realistic goals for improvement and hold people accountable
25

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