Monitoring Learning Achievement Project
(1999)

3.3 OUTCOMES OF THE MLA TASKS

3.3.1 Literacy Task

The majority of surveyed Grade 4 learners (47,1 percent) obtained scores for
the literacy task that range between 25 and 50 per cent (see Figure 3.1). A
very small proportion of learners demonstrated a high level of competency in
the literacy task, with only 12.8 per cent of learners obtaining 75 per cent
or higher. About 13 per cent of the learners achieved very low levels of
performance (i.e., scoring less than 25 percent). On average, learners
obtained 48.19 per cent in the literacy task. (Indicated by íon the columns)

Performance levels vary substantially by province. Western Cape (30 percent)
and Gauteng (28.9 percent) have the largest proportion of learners that
obtained 75 per cent or higher (see Figure 3.1), resulting in high average
performance scores (60,9 and 60,7 per cent, respectively). Mpumalanga, on
the other hand, had the poorest performance in the literacy task, with an
average score of 33,2 per cent. In this province nearly a third of the Grade
4 learners (31,5 per cent) obtained scores that are below 25 per cent,
indicating that Mpumalanga Grade 4 learners have not adequately mastered
competency in literacy.

3.3.2    Numeracy task

Numeracy level is another indicator of learning achievement. In the numeracy
assessment a large proportion (44 per cent) of Grade 4 learners scored below
25 per cent for the numeracy task, while only about 2 per cent obtained
scores in the 75-100 per cent range (see Figure 3.2). The average score
obtained for the numeracy task is 30 percent, which is much lower than the
average literacy score of 48 per cent (see Figures 3.1 and 3.2). This
implies that South African children have mastered the literacy task better
than the numeracy task

Figure 3.2 also shows that Gauteng and Western Cape Grade 4 learners
obtained the highest average scores for the numeracy task (36,5 and 37,5 per
cent, respectively), while Mpumalanga obtained the lowest score (22,6 per
cent). Nearly two thirds of Mpumalanga learners obtained scores below 25 per
cent, a situation that is not acceptable at all if learners are expected to
perform effectively at higher levels of learning.

3.3.3    Life Skills tasks

More than half of Grade 4 learners (54 per cent) obtained scores that are
between 25 and 50 per cent for the life skills task, while a very small
proportion (6 per cent) obtained a score of 75 per cent or more, the average
being 47,1 per cent (Figure 3.3 ). The level of performance of Grade 4
learners in the life skills task (47,1 per cent) is very similar to that of
the literacy task (48,1 per cent), both being significantly higher than the
performance in the numeracy task (30 per cent).

Average performance scores for the life skills task vary by province though
the differentials are not as large as those of the literacy task. The
Western Cape (55,7 per cent) and Gauteng (54,1 per cent) have the highest
scores, whereas the Free State has the lowest score (33,7 per cent).

To see more of the report click here

 


Some Interesting Statistics from the MLA
if compared to Home Ed

The "Monitoring Learning Achievement Project" is the project that found that Grade 4 learners in SA state schools perform poorest out of 8 African countries in math and life skills, and 4th from the bottom on English Second Language literacy.

The research was done on the grade 4 learners of 4000 schools randomly
selected from those schools having at least 30 learners in grade 4.

The following is not well ordered, but a quick summary of stuff that
interests me.

Excerpt from general characteristics of learners:

60% of the fathers of grade 4 learners work and 50% of the mothers.
40% of learners never speak English at home, while 16% always speak English at home. 32% of the teachers teach only in English.
35% of fathers completed school or have post school qualifications and 37% of mothers.
72% of parents own the house in which they live.
16% of learners live more than 5km from the school.
2% of the schools are less than 5 years old.
1.5% of children attend schools that have morning and afternoon "shifts"
(platooning system).

I made a summary of other interesting results, from the perspective of
someone having to defend the choice of home education:

Children have the following in the place where they live:
Radio 82%; TV 66%;
Video, 39%; Computer, 27%, Telephone, 40%
Schools have the following "always" or "sometimes": Radio 30%; TV 25%;
Computer 24%; Telephone 48%.

50% of children have more than 10 books in the house where their parents
live. 73% of class rooms have no collection of books and 50% have not even a dictionary, 23% of class rooms have no text books.

About 25% of teachers are only qualified to the equivalent of Matric (that
includes the teachers' certificate) The remainder have post secondary
teacher qualifications.

76% of teachers have not been inspected.

13% of children do not enjoy going to school, and
48% say that they do not like school!
23% do not enjoy learning at school.
15% say that teachers are not interested in their work.
15% do not have friends at school.
11% of children have skipped class 5 times or more.

26% of class rooms are inadequately ventilated or not at all.
25% of class rooms are inadequately lit or not at all.
17% of schools have no playground and 14% have no open space at all.
28% of schools have no sports equipment
34% of schools have no sports fields
26% of schools have no water and 45% no electricity.
17% of children have to write in books held on their lap or placed on the
floor (20% of teachers report not enough desks for children and 23% not
enough chairs for children).
39% of parents feel that children have not enough stationery,
49% not enough learning materials,
40% that school facilities are not in a good condition,
39% that school grounds and facilities are not well maintained, and
34% that they are not clean.

41% of school principals feel that safety of the school environment is "poor".
28% of principals do not feel safe in school.
30% of teachers do not feel safe in schools.
14% of children do not feel safe in school (that's about one in seven!)
33% of teachers and 15% of principals feel that teaching is limited "quite a
lot" or "a great deal" by threats to the personal safety of children.

The stated percentages of principals report the following incidents occurring at least once per month:
Physical abuse of teachers: 4%
(8% of Children report this happening more often than "once in a while")
Physical abuse of learners: 12%
Drug use: 10%
Vandalism: 83%
Thefts/Break-ins: 60%
Sexual abuse: 15%
Abductions (!): 3%
Gangsterism: 9%

20% of parents report children staying at home because of the cost of
school, including school fees, transport, uniforms, books, sports fees and
"other costs".

The stated percentages of children (c) report the following happening more
often than "once in a while", while principals (p) and teachers (t) report
it happening at least once per month:
Children late for school: c 25% - p 76% - t 89%
Absent without good excuses: c 17% - p 70% - t79%
Missed class: c 16% -  p 32% - t 43%
Class rooms disturbed by noisy learners: c 30% - p 35% - t 49%.
 33% of teachers feel that teaching is disrupted "quite a lot" or "a great deal" by this.
Cheating in tests or exams: c 18% - p 31% - t45%
Children swearing at each other: c 22% -  p 81% - t48%
Children swear at teachers: c 9%
Children hurt teachers: c 8% - p 8% - t 17%
Children smoking: c 15% - p 21% - t 24%
Children using alcohol: c 10% - p 10% - t 20%
Children abusing drugs: c 12%- p 11% - t 17%
Children bring dangerous weapons to school: c 15% - p 13% t 19%

The stated percentages of principals (p) and teachers (t) further report the
following happening at least once per month:
Intimidation or verbal abuse of other learners: p 40% - t 45%
Physical injury to other learners: p 28% - t 37%
Intimidation or verbal abuse of staff: p 11% - 22%
Inappropriate sexual behavior: p 10% - t 21%

18% of Children report that teacher never asks questions in class.
33% of children report parrot learning ("say after me") almost every day.
25% of children never have a quiz or test.
2% of teachers actually admit this.
34% of children never try to solve problems on their own.
13% of teachers admit this.

24% of parents disagree that good quality education is provided at school.

The following percentages of teachers (t) and principals (p)feel that
teaching is limited "quite a lot" or "a great deal" by the given factors:
44% t  39% p :    different academic abilities among learners in the class;
48% t  37% p :    by children coming from a wide range of backgrounds;
66% t  67% p :    by shortage of instructional equipment for learners' use;
63% t  65% p :    by inadequate physical facilities;
66% t  56% p :    by large classes;
27% t  24% p :    by low morale among teachers;
34% t  28% p :    by low morale among children;
33% t  15% p :    by threats to the personal safety of children.

15% of teachers admit that they "rarely" or "never" record whether or not
home work was completed;

16% that they "rarely of "never" collect, correct and keep homework
assignments;

27% that they "never or "rarely" use home work assignments to contribute
towards learners' marks.

12%  of teachers (one in eight) and 17% of principals (one in six) disagree
that "good quality education is provided to our learners".

24% of teachers and 21% of principals would like to change to another career if they had the opportunity