Newsletter 166 - NEEDU - Schools That Work II - Conclusion

Newsletter 166


There are five important conclusions that were drawn from the assessment of a variety of strategies and practices exhibited by the top performing schools.


Firstly, there are no magic potions, no single golden bullet or any earth-shattering practice to delivering improved learning outcomes and reducing achievement gaps.


Secondly, while certain quintessential learning variables like time management were identified, an interplay exists between inschool practices and the quality of teaching. The interconnected practices blend in a weblike fashion to produce conditions that lead to higher learning outcomes. There is no one best practice presented in this report that is a standalone factor of effective schools, but each practice is a core component that operates within a multifaceted system to promote student learning and growth.


Thirdly, the schools that work focus on learning rather than just improving the NSC examination results. That is, the focus is not about the NSC examinations per se but how teachers align the curriculum and appropriate assessment practices into regular classroom teaching so that in the end this helps learners to do well in the exams.


Fourthly, the more the schools produce good results, the more they want to beat the previous record, i.e., success breeds success. All schools that work have actually internalized success, and they will not settle for anything less.


Finally, while school staff members interviewed by researchers talked often about the satisfaction they experienced when learner achievement improved, they did not minimize the hard work involved.



Every child deserves a high-quality education, regardless of his or her family’s income or background. There is a need, therefore, to think beyond what is known as the traditional means of education and find a new vision for academics in our education system. This new vision must encompass several forward thinking, innovative strategies aimed at meeting the needs of all learners in all schools.


Seven recommendations have been made towards making this vision a reality. These recommendations are organised according to different layers of the system, namely schools, district offices and provincial/national offices.

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