Fast-tracking value-added analysis to ensure fairer assessment: a South African perspective
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There is mounting pressure to demonstrate accountability of public expenditure in South Africa. In education, this means an increasing public demand to find causes and remedies for inadequate learner achievement. South Africa has a high enrolment rate and a high investment rate in education (about 5 per cent of GDP), but education is still of unsatisfactory quality (reflected in poor
results from international and national standardised assessment). Naming and shaming dysfunctional schools has been discussed in policy circles as a possible approach to hold schools accountable and potentially address this challenge. We argue in this policy brief that such a policy would only be fair when school effects have been isolated from other contextual effects that may impact
learning outcomes. In this regard, this policy brief proposes wider usage of value-added assessment (VAA) and analysis (which provides a more reliable estimate of the value added - the extent to which schools make a difference in their learners' achievement levels) in policy decision-making.