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Starting Behind and Staying Behind in South Africa: The case of insurmountable learning deficits in mathematics

Nicholas Spaull () and Janeli Kotze ()
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Janeli Kotze: Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch

No 27/2014, Working Papers from Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This study quantifies a year’s worth of mathematics learning in South Africa (0.3 standard deviations) and uses this measure to develop empirically-calibrated learning trajectories. Two main findings are, (1) only the top 16% of South African Grade 3 children are performing at an appropriate Grade 3 level. (2) The learning gap between the poorest 60% of students and the wealthiest 20% of students is approximately three Grade-levels in Grade 3, growing to four Grade-levels by Grade 9. The paper concludes by arguing that the later in life we attempt to repair early learning deficits in mathematics, the costlier the remediation becomes.

Keywords: Mathematics; Learning Trajectories; South Africa; Hierarchical Learning; SACMEQ; TIMSS (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I21 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (13) Track citations by RSS feed

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https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2014/wp272014/wp-27-2014.pdf First version, 2014 (application/pdf)

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