Original Research

Learner performance in the 2009 to 2014 final Grade 12 mathematics examination: A quantile regression approach

Nombuso Zondo, Temesgen Zewotir, Delia North
Pythagoras | Vol 41, No 1 | a545 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v41i1.545 | © 2020 Nombuso Zondo, Temesgen Zewotir, Delia North | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 April 2020 | Published: 30 November 2020

About the author(s)

Nombuso Zondo, Department of Statistics, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Temesgen Zewotir, Department of Statistics, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Delia North, Department of Statistics, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

The South African education system bears evidence of fluctuations in the final Grade 12 mathematics marks occurring across different learner profiles. This study reflected on the National Senior Certificate (NSC) mathematics results from the Western Cape Education Department for the years 2009 to 2014, the period just after the introduction of the NSC in 2008 and including the updated NSC introduced in 2014. Accordingly, this study aimed to examine the learners’ performance by socio-economic school quintile and education district for the period of 2009 to 2014, for learners in the Western Cape. Instead of the ordinary regression model, we adopted the quantile regression approach to examine the effect of school (national) quintile (NQ) type and education district at different quantiles of learner performance in the mathematics examination. The results showed that there is a significant school quintile type and education district effect on learner performance in NSC mathematics examinations for learners in the Western Cape. In some years, there were no significant performance differences between learners from NQ2 and NQ4 schools in the different quantiles. Similarly, learner performance differences for NQ3 and NQ4 schools were not significant. As we moved from 2009 to 2014, the performance difference between the lower school quintiles and the upper school quintiles narrowed, although the performance differences remained significant. These differences were smallest in 2013. This is a good sign, as it indicates that government efforts and policies, designed to narrow the historical social disparities manifested in the schools, have been somewhat successful. The identification and scrutinising of school quintile type and education district where the gap is wider will assist the government to review policies and interventions to accelerate the transformation.

Keywords

Quantile regression; school quintile; education districts; performance; Western Cape; education system

Metrics

Total abstract views: 887
Total article views: 445


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.