What we’ve learnt

When major learning gaps build over time, there is little difference in knowledge between Grade 9 and Grade 11 learners.

The learning gaps are evident in Mathematics are possibly even worse in Science.

The background

In partnership with LEAP School, Edunova’s Learning Centres in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo were supporting schools through leadership development, specialised education information and communication technology (ICT) services and promoting best practice in teaching and learning. The project team saw the need for a more rigorous Maths and Science intervention which required a detailed diagnostics assessment to design a more impactful intervention programme. Assessments for Maths and Science were run over a three-day period in both provinces from 16 schools with more than 800 learners ranging from Grades 7 to 11 (with two Grade 9 groups).

The results: Maths

There was an overall average of 41.7% for Maths. Even though learners ranged between Grade 7 and 11, all learners were actually functioning at between Grade 6 and 9 level for Numbers. Interestingly, there was effectively no difference between Grade 9 and 11 learners, with Measurement showing a similar pattern. The other five threads showed slight increases with increasing grade. However, significant differences were only found in Patterns & Algebra (which is a large part of FET phase Maths) and Data Handling (which is reinforced in other FET phase subjects).

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The results: Science

Unfortunately, the results for Science were even worse with overall average of 24.4%. Besides one exception, every grade for every thread were functioning between Grade 3 and 6 level and achieved similar across each topic. While poor English would certainly have played a role in these results, the assessments are designed to not require specific content to be learned ahead of time.

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