Learner performance in South Africa: social and economic determinants of success in language and mathematics
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South Africa has done well to systematically expand its educational system and to lengthen the schooling experience of successive learner cohorts. But the quality of the output from the school system has been questioned. In seeking to identify the reasons for this, it is important to relate educational outputs (competencies, as measured for instance by examinations or standardized tests) to inputs. Determining the relative contributions of the inputs - of the school, the household and the individual learner - to educational outputs is not straightforward, particularly since very little educational production function analysis has been undertaken in South Africa.
Until recently, no South African school data has incorporated test results, school characteristics and information on the household circumstances of individual learners necessary for this kind of analysis. However, the results from a survey of a sample of schools involved in the large-scale Quality Learning Project (QLP), funded by the Business Trust, have yielded such data. The QLP data set offers a new analytical opportunity to address the question: What are the effects of social and economic variables on educational outcomes in the QLP schools?