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Policy Determinants of School Outcomes Under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa

  • Thomas Laurent
  • Fabrice Murtin
  • Geoff Barnard
  • Dean Janse van Rensburg
  • Vijay Reddy
  • George Frempong
  • Lolita Winnaar

In this paper we assess the determinants of secondary school outcomes in South Africa. We use Bayesian Averaging Model techniques to account for uncertainty in the set of underlying factors that are chosen among a very large pool of explanatory variables in order to minimize the risk of omitted variable bias. Our analysis indicates that the socioeconomic background of pupils, demographic characteristics such as population groups (Black and White) as well as geographical locations account for a significant variation in pupils’ achievement levels. We also find that the most robust policy determinants of pupils’ test scores are the availability of a library at school, the use of IT in the classroom as well as school climate. This Working Paper relates to the 2013 OECD Economic Survey of South Africa (http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/southafrica2013.htm). Les politiques d'éducation face à l'incertitude de la modélisation : l'Afrique du Sud à l'étude Cette étude estime les déterminants des résultats scolaires en Afrique du Sud. Des techniques Bayésiennes de sélection de modèle sont utilisées pour traiter l’incertitude dans le choix des variables explicatives, lesquelles sont tirées d’un ensemble très large de variables candidates aidant à minimiser le biais d’omission. Les résultats indiquent que le profil socio-économique des élèves, les caractéristiques démographiques telles que l’appartenance ethnique ou la localisation géographique expliquent une partie importante des différences de performance scolaire entre élèves. Les politiques éducatives corrélées aux résultats scolaires sont la disponibilité de bibliothèques à l’école, l’utilisation des technologies de l’information en classe ainsi que la discipline à l’école. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l'Étude économique de l’Afrique du Sud, 2013, (http://www.oecd.org/fr/eco/etudes/afriquedusud2013.htm).

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 1057.

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Date of creation: 06 Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1057-en
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  1. Ronelle Burger & Servaas van der Berg, 2003. "Education and Socio-Economic Differentials: A Study of School Performance in the Western Cape," Working Papers 03073, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  2. Martin Gustafsson, 2007. "Using The Hierarchical Linear Model To Understand School Production In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(1), pages 84-98, 03.
  3. 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.
  4. Martin Gustafsson & Thabo Mabogoane, 2012. "South Africa's economics of education: A stocktaking and an agenda for the way forward," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 351-364, September.
  5. Fedderke, J W & Luiz, J M, 2002. "Production of Educational Output: Time-Series Evidence from Socioeconomically Heterogeneous Populations--The Case of South Africa, 1927-1993," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 161-87, October.
  6. Megan Louw & Servaas Van der berg & Derek Yu, 2007. "Convergence Of A Kind: Educational Attainment And Intergenerational Social Mobility In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 548-571, 09.
  7. van der Berg, Servaas, 2008. "How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 69, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  8. Paula Armstrong, 2009. "The impact of teacher characteristics on student performance: An analysis using hierarchical linear modelling," Working Papers 07/2009, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  9. Liang, Feng & Paulo, Rui & Molina, German & Clyde, Merlise A. & Berger, Jim O., 2008. "Mixtures of g Priors for Bayesian Variable Selection," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103, pages 410-423, March.
  10. Servaas van der Berg, 2007. "Apartheid's Enduring Legacy: Inequalities in Education-super- 1," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 849-880, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Haroon Bhorat & Morne Oosthuizen, 2009. "Determinants of Grade 12 Pass Rates in the Post-Apartheid South African Schooling System," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(4), pages 634-666, August.
  13. Stephen Taylor & Derek Yu, 2009. "The importance of socio-economic status in determining educational achievement in South Africa," Working Papers 01/2009, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  14. Morné Oosthuizen & Haroon Bhorat, 2005. "The Post-Apartheid South African Labour Market," Working Papers 05093, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
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