Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Grade nine maths average slips badly in 2014

The average performance of grade nine pupils in maths has dropped again – to 10.8%, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday at the release of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs).

“Our Achilles heel remains the unacceptably low performance in grade nine mathematics … we will institute an intensive investigation into what factors contribute to low performance in schools offering grades seven to nine [senior phase] generally and grade nine mathematics in particular,” she said.

Last year, grade nine pupils’ performance in maths was 14%, up from 13% in 2012.

The assessments, which began in 2011, measure the numeracy and literacy of 7.3-million pupils in grades one to six, and in grade nine.

This year, pupils in grade seven and eight were also included as a pilot project “in preparation for a full-scale incorporation of the senior phase into the ANA tool in the foreseeable future”, Motshekga said.

Maths

The average performance in each of the grades in mathematics at a national level is as follows:

Grade one: 68.4%

Grade two: 61.8%

Grade three: 55.4%

Grade four: 37.3%

Grade five: 37.3%

Grade six: 43%

Languages

The average performance in each of the grades in home languages at a national level is as follows:

Grade one: 63.2%

Grade two: 61.1%

Grade three: 56.2%

Grade four: 56.5%

Grade five: 57.1%

Grade six: 62.7%

Grade nine: 48.3%

The average performance in grades four, five, six and nine in first additional language at a national level is as follows:

Grade four: 41%

Grade five: 46.7%

Grade six: 45.4%

Grade nine: 34.4%

Interventions are ‘not working’
Motshekga said, overall, “the results show that the system is responding to the unrelenting focus on underperformance and inefficiency within the system”.

The patterns showed, she said, that in the transition from foundation phase to the intermediate phase, pupils “find it difficult to handle the more technical aspects of the language usage such as parts of speech, progression to more complex tenses and creative writing”.

This learning gap affected other subjects too.

“Evidence … indicates that pupils in the intermediate phase find it difficult to correctly answer questions in mathematics that involve ‘words or high text’ problems.”

The investigation into grade nine maths would involve a “baseline study of the sampled schools”, she said, to “provide deeper information about these schools, particularly on issues pertaining to curriculum coverage and the quality of school-based assessment”. Ten percent of all schools offering grade nine maths would be sampled for “closer monitoring”, she said.

The president of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, Basil Manuel, said the grade nine maths results showed that interventions to improve it were not working.

“The department must move out of bureaucratic [action] and into schools. Interventions must focus on teacher’s subject content knowledge and methodology.”

He said heads of departments at schools must be trained to train teachers.

Motshekga said classroom teaching must improve so that learners could receive quality knowledge at the requisite level.

“To achieve this we have launched various initiatives, including 131 fully functioning teacher training centres, including 40 information and communications technology enabled centres supported by our generous partner Vodacom.” – Mail & Guardian

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Victoria John
Victoria studied journalism, specialising in photojournalism, at Rhodes University from 2004 to 2007. After traveling around the US and a brief stint in the UK she did a year's internship at The Independent on Saturday in Durban. She then worked as a reporter for the South African Press Association for a year before joining the Mail & Guardian as an education reporter in August 2011.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Life Esidimeni inquest postponed until August 30

The lawyer for the bereaved families argued that Dr Makgabo Manamela’s requests for postponements have a negative impact on the families of the deceased who seek closure

RECAP: Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

More top stories

ANC Free State endorses three names for Mangaung mayor

The three candidates the province has put forward are said to be Ramaphosa supporters, who will further alienate Magashule from his power base

ANC’s provincial executive committee endorses three candidates for Joburg mayor...

Sources say that the PEC gave the nod to the three names put forward by the Johannesburg regional executive committee

Covid-19 draws the bulk of health sector’s focus, at the...

Children have accounted for a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, but other facets of their healthcare and wellbeing have suffered

Phoenix killings: 22 suspects held

A total of 36 murder charges are being probed in the wake of vigilante attacks in the area during last month’s riots
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×