DA welcomes ANA improvements

Annette Lovemore expresses concern over poor maths performance by grad 6 and 9 pupils

ANA report: Education Department must identify and emulate best practice models 

The DA welcomes the Annual National Assessment results released today indicating a general improvement in literacy and numeracy results in the grades tested. 

We are however seriously concerned about the very poor performance in mathematics by learners in Grade 6 and 9. Mathematics scores in fact get progressively worse the higher the grade. The average for mathematics for grade 1 was 68%, while the average for grade 6 and 9 are 27% and 13% respectively. Urgent intervention must take place to stem this adverse pattern.

The report includes the following results:

  • Grade 3 national average performance is 52% in literacy and 41% in mathematics, up from 35% and 28% respectively in 2011.
  • Grade 6 literacy is 43% in home language and 36% in first additional language, as compared to the 28% literacy result in 2011.
  • The Grade 6 mathematics average was 27%, down 3% from 30% in 2011.
  • Grade 9 learners achieved an average score of 13% in mathematics - there is no 2011 comparison as grade 9 was not tested last year.

The improvements in lower grades show that there must be best practice models that could be followed. The poor results for Grade 6 and 9 learners require further interrogation. 

Last month I wrote to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Hope Malgas, to request that the Basic Education Portfolio Committee (i) prioritises a discussion on different models and interventions to address the quality of maths and science in South Africa, (ii) call for representations by education experts on how maths and science education can be improved, (iii) call for input from successful schools in maths and science to provide their best practice methods, and (iv) make recommendations to the Department of Basic Education on an alternative model for teaching these critical subjects. 

I will again write to the Chairperson reiterating these calls and request that the debate and input include literacy recommendations. It is tragic that less than half of our children can be considered literate in their own home language or in any language at all.

Emphasis must be placed on attaining and recommending best practice methods from successful school interventions.

We must do all we can to find models and interventions that work to address the quality of numeracy and literacy for our learners to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in a global knowledge economy and lift themselves up in life.

Statement issued by Annette Lovemore MP, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, December 3 2012

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