This study aims to determine the effect of school conditions on learner reading achievement in primary schools in South Africa. Reading skills are not only imperative for further study but are essential for economic and meaningful citizenship. Initiatives such as the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, geared to improve the quality of education for all children and to ensure improved learner achievement have resulted in an increase in educational spending. Despite such initiatives, learner achievement remains poor.
In order to measure the relative relationship between school conditions and learner reading achievement, this study focused on selected variables from the PIRLS 2006 South African data, notably from Grade 5 learner reading achievement, teacher and school questionnaires. A secondary data analysis through multiple regression technique was utilised in an attempt to measure those school conditions that may enhance or impede learner reading achievement.
This study follows the tradition of school effectiveness research by utilising the context-input-process-output (integrated model for school effectiveness research) model as espoused by Scheerens (2000; 2005). The integrated model was adapted combining school and classroom factors in order to measure the effect of school wide processes on learner reading achievement.
Although this study was unable to measure the effect of educational leadership on learner reading achievement, it found significant school and classroom factors associated with learner reading achievement. This study highlights the importance of improving the teaching and learning of literacy across all 11 official languages.