Publication author: Vijay Reddy

Understanding mathematics achievement amongst learners in South Africa

Outline and contents

  • Achievement and achievement trends in South Africa
  • Individual factors and achievement
  • The home environment
  • The school environment

Story of South African educational inequalities

Outline and contents

  • Key Statistics for South Africa and USA
  • Mathematics Achievement and Development
  • Highest level of education of persons aged >25 yrs. 1996-2016
  • A tale of two South African children
  • Grade 12 outcomes are far from desirable for the society and economy

Education & Training: Successes, Challenges, Possibilities, Constraints and Key Priorities

Framing and Approach to the Presentation

  • ANC December 2017 Conference Recommendations
  • National Development Plan & Targets


  • High level view of education and training: basic and post-school with a focus on literacy/ reading and numeracy/mathematics.
  • Analysis of trends over a longer time period
  • Comparisons with other countries
  • Research conducted at HSRC (LMIP, TIMSS) plus other research

TIMSS 2015 Grade 9 National Report

TIMSS 2015 Grade 5 National Report

The 2015 TIMSS Grade 5 study was administered for the first time in South Africa in August 2015. The study was led by a team of researchers at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

Providing the first, nationally representative, internationally comparative compendium of data on Grade 5 learners in South Africa, the report is a new indicator of the health of our educational system. The analyses describe in detail the current picture of achievement for learners in the country, highlighting key individual, family, school and provincial differences. The results also include key developments concerning preschool attendance, early learning environments, as well as the importance of educational expectations and academic beliefs, and the damaging effects of bullying. The findings highlight the importance of early achievement and the need to understand the multiple layers of influence on educational pathways, with the conclusions and recommendations highlighting an unequal, yet treatable system.

The Grade 5 study sits alongside the Grade 9 study which has been carried out in South Africa since 1995, recently completing its fifth round.

Beyond Benchmarks

Mathematics and Science Achievement at South African Schools in TIMSS 2003

Mathematics and science are key areas of knowledge for the development of individuals and for the social and economic development of South Africa. In November 2002, about 9000 Grade 8 learners from South African public schools participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This monograph reports on South Africas performance in TIMSS in relation to the other 50 countries. In addition, the report describes the performance of different groups of learners in South Africa and provides contextual information about, teachers, schools and the curriculum. The report concludes with recommendations for strategic interventions that could contribute to improved performance in mathematics and science. The findings contained in this report offer valuable insights to academics, policymakers, curriculum-planners, teachers and those involved in the development of education in South Africa.