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Uncovering indicators of effective school management in South Africa using the National School Effectiveness Study

Author

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  • Stephen Taylor

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

For many poor South African children, who are predominantly located in the historically disadvantaged part of the school system, the ongoing low quality of education acts as a poverty trap by precluding them from achieving the level of educational outcomes necessary to be competitive in the labour market. An important question is the extent to which this low quality of education is attributable to poverty itself as opposed to other features of teaching and management that characterise these schools. The literature explaining schooling outcomes in South Africa has reached a consensus that additional educational resources are no guarantee of improved outcomes. While socio-economic status remains the most powerful determinant of educational outcomes, studies have typically struggled to isolate other school and teacher characteristics that consistently predict outcomes, leaving much of the variation in achievement unexplained. Several authors have pointed to an ineffable mix of management efficiency and teacher quality that must surely underlie this unexplained component. The National School Effectiveness Study (NSES) is the first large-scale panel study of educational achievement in South African primary schools. It examines contextually appropriate features of school management and teacher practice more thoroughly than other large sample surveys previously administered in South Africa. Using the NSES data, this paper identifies specific aspects of school organisation and teacher practice, such as the effective coverage of curriculum and completed exercises, which are associated with literacy and numeracy achievement and with the amount of learning that occurs within a year of schooling. Some suggestions are also made regarding the appropriate way to interpret these results for the purpose of policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Taylor, 2011. "Uncovering indicators of effective school management in South Africa using the National School Effectiveness Study," Working Papers 10/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers138
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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2011/wp102011/wp-10-2011.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    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. Venkat, Hamsa & Spaull, Nic, 2015. "What do we know about primary teachers’ mathematical content knowledge in South Africa? An analysis of SACMEQ 2007," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 121-130.
    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.
    5. Marisa Coetzee, 2014. "School quality and the performance of disadvantaged learners in South Africa," Working Papers 22/2014, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Gabrielle Wills, 2015. "A profile of the labour market for school principals in South Africa: Evidence to inform policy," Working Papers 12/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Debra Shepherd, 2015. "Learn to teach, teach to learn: A within-pupil across-subject approach to estimating the impact of teacher subject knowledge on South African grade 6 performance," Working Papers 01/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    National School Effectiveness Study (NSES); South Africa; education; education production function; school management; economics of education;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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