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Constraints to school effectiveness: what prevents poor schools from delivering results?

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  • Debra L. Shepherd

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

The poor state of quality education in South Africa is confirmed by the weak performance of South African students on international tests, even when compared to countries with comparatively poorer education systems. This paper aims to shed light on this issue through the use of the PIRLS 2006 dataset and education production function techniques. A unique feature of this dataset is that schools were able to choose the language in which the test was conducted. This provided a proxy for former school department, a feature that has not been captured in international survey datasets. A clear distinction between the historically black and the historically white, coloured and Indian school systems is needed in order to identify the different data generating processes at work. The regression model results reveal that family and student characteristics are undoubtedly important for performance within both school samples. At the level of the school, quite divergent school factors and classroom processes were found to have significant impacts on student performance across the two school systems. It is concluded that a lack of enabling conditions such as effective leadership, flexibility and autonomy, and a capable teaching force may contribute to certain school and classroom processes not playing a significant role in determining performance in the less affluent black school system.

Suggested Citation

  • Debra L. Shepherd, 2011. "Constraints to school effectiveness: what prevents poor schools from delivering results?," Working Papers 05/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers133
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2011/wp052011/wp-05-2011.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Servaas BERG & Onelle BURGER, 2003. "Education And Socio-Economic Differentials: A Study Of School Performance In The Western Cape," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(3), pages 496-522, September.
    2. Servaas van der Berg, 2006. "How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa," Working Papers 06/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Hernandez-Zavala, Martha & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Sakellariou, Chris & Shapiro, Joseph, 2006. "Quality of schooling and quality of schools for indigenous students in Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3982, The World Bank.
    5. Servaas van der Berg & Megan Louw, 2007. "Lessons learnt from SACMEQII: South African student performance in regional context," Working Papers 16/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Servaas van der Berg & Cobus Burger & Ronelle Burger & Mia de Vos & Gideon du Rand & Martin Gustafsson & Eldridge Moses & Debra Shepherd & Nicholas Spaull & Stephen Taylor & Hendrik van Broekhuizen & , 2011. "Low quality education as a poverty trap," Working Papers 25/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    2. Nicholas Spaull, 2016. "Disentangling the language effect in South African schools: Measuring the impact of ‘language of assessment’ in grade 3 literacy and numeracy," Working Papers 19/2016, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. Nicholas Spaull, 2012. "Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Stephen Taylor & Patricia Watson, 2015. "The impact of study guides on “matric” performance: Evidence from a randomised experiment," Working Papers 13/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; Education; Education production function; Educational Achievement; Educational Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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