Newsletter 135 - Research 2/7 - Performing above expectations


Performing above expectations by Janeli Kotzé - 20 September 2016 RESEP

(1) Defining an above expectation school

Derive a single indicator of school performance:

  •  Learner numeracy and literacy scores were averaged for each grade
  • These scores were averaged to arrive at a composite measure of performance per grade.
  • Finally the scores were averaged across the grades to create a final composite measure of school performance.
  • This approach thereby gives equal weight to both numeracy and literacy, and to each grade within a school

Define schools as weak performing/ above average performing:

  • Schools that consistently perform at least at the level of the TIMSS low international benchmark.
  • Schools that consistently perform amongst the top 25% of all Quintile 1 - 3 schools, excluding small schools

(2) Which factors could be driving higher performance among poor schools?

School Monitoring Survey

Six Themes:

  1. General school characteristics - School quintile/Ex-department/Small School/Learner-teacher ratio
  2. Accountability systems - Bureaucratic: 1. Distance from district office/ 2. Number of district visits/Market: Number of neighbouring schools in 10 km radius/Professional: Number of Quintile 5 schools in10 km radius.
  3. School governance - Number of SGB Functions filled
  4. School management - Number of educators absent/Has an improvement plan/Has an academic improvement plan/Number of academic reports/Has an updated Gr3 class register/Has an LTSM Register
  5. Teacher training - Self initiated training/School teacher training/External teacher training
  6. Provincial and district support - Received less money than expected/Has a letter stating learner allocation for 2010/Has a letter stating learner allocation for 2011/Has a letter stating learner allocation for 2012/Has at least one vacant position/Subject advisor: Checked curriculum coverage/Subject advisor: Checked lesson planning/Subject advisor: Gives advice on teaching/Subject advisor: Assists with content knowledge/District support index/District monitoring index

Verification ANA

Four Themes:

  1. General school characteristics - Parents support the school process/School LoLT is an African Language/School has a library
  2. Accountability systems - Teacher was observed by an official/Teacher was observed by principal/Teacher was observed by peer/Number neighbours in 10km radius/Number Q5 in 10 km radius/Satisfaction with district support index
  3. General principal and teacher characteristics - Principal over 50 years/Principal has a university degree/Principal has a college diploma/Principal is male/Average teacher age/% Female teachers
  4. Teacher training activities - CAPS through Department/In-Service through school/In-Service externally/In-Service through the Department
  5. Classroom practices - Teacher covered 90% of curriculum/Number of hours teacher teaches/% administer weekly class test/% administer weekly oral tests/% mark homework regularly/% mark classwork regularly


  • Good School Management
    • Has an LSTM register
    • Academic Improvement Plan
  • Supportive district
    • Isomorphic Mimicry (organisations/best pratices mimic each other in order to look/perform alike
    • Supportive rather than mere monitoring
  • Bureaucratic accountability
    • Principal observing lessons 

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