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How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa

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  • Servaas van der Berg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

Massive differentials on achievement tests and examinations reflect South Africa’s divided past. Improving the distribution of educational outcomes is imperative to overcome labour market inequalities. Historically white and Indian schools still outperform black and coloured schools in examinations, and intraclass correlation coefficients (rho) reflect far greater between-school variance compared to overall variance than for other countries. SACMEQ’s rich data sets provide new possibilities for investigating relationships between educational outcomes, socio-economic status (SES), pupil and teacher characteristics, school resources and school processes. As a different data generating process applied in affluent historically white schools (test scores showed bimodal distributions), part of the analysis excluded such schools, sharply reducing rho. Test scores were regressed on various SES measures and school inputs for the full and reduced sample, using survey regression and hierarchical (multilevel) (HLM) models to deal with sample design and nested data. This shows that the school system was not yet systematically able to overcome inherited socio-economic disadvantage, and poor schools least so. Schools diverged in their ability to convert inputs into outcomes, with large standard deviations for random effects in the HLM models. The models explained three quarters of the large between-school variance but little of the smaller within-school variance. Outside of the richest schools, SES had only a mild impact on test scores, which were quite low in SACMEQ context.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2006/wp062006/wp-06-2006.pdf
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Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06/2006.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers20

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Keywords: Analysis of Education;

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  1. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs And Educational Outcomes In South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Stephen Taylor & Nicholas Spaull, 2013. "The effects of rapidly expanding primary school access on effective learning: The case of Southern and Eastern Africa since 2000," Working Papers 01/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  2. Nic Spaull, 2011. "A Preliminary Analysis of SACMEQ III South Africa," Working Papers 11/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kaus, Wolfhard, 2013. "Conspicuous consumption and “race”: Evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 63-73.
  4. Stephen Taylor & Servaas van der Berg & Vijay Reddy & Dean Janse van Rensburg, 2011. "How well do South African schools convert grade 8 achievement into matric outcomes?," Working Papers 13/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  5. Derek Yu, 2012. "Youths in the South African labour market since the transition: A study of changes between 1995 and 2011," Working Papers 18/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  6. Nicola Branson & Julia Garlick & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt, 2012. "Education and Inequality: The South African Case," SALDRU Working Papers 75, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  7. Debra Shepherd, 2013. "A question of efficiency: decomposing South African reading test scores using PIRLS 2006," Working Papers 20/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  8. Debra L. Shepherd, 2011. "Constraints to school effectiveness: what prevents poor schools from delivering results?," Working Papers 05/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  9. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta, 2006. "Returns to Race: Labour Market Discrimination in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Working Papers 04/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  10. Thomas Laurent & Fabrice Murtin & Geoff Barnard & Dean Janse van Rensburg & Vijay Reddy & George Frempong & Lolita Winnaar, 2013. "Policy Determinants of School Outcomes Under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1057, OECD Publishing.

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