The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of instructional efficiency on Grade 6
learner achievement in Mathematics in Mpumalanga in SACMEQ project III. Since
1994, South Africa in pursuit of improvement in educational quality has had extensive
curricular changes and increases in educational budgets. Furthermore, the country has
participated in a number of national and international studies of learner achievement
such as the systemic study, Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Education
Quality (SACMEQ), Progress in International Literacy Study (PIRLS) and Trends in
International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). However, learner results across
all the studies have been consistently low.
Mpumalanga learner results have been lower than that of other provinces such as
Gauteng and their average score has been lower than the national average score.
Mathematics achievement in particular has been very low. The study investigates the
role that instructional strategies may have played in relationship to mathematics
achievement.The conceptual framework is adapted from Slavin s (1995) model of
effective instruction with key constructs being quality of instruction, appropriate level of
instruction and time on task. The study follows a post positivist approach applying a
correlational design. The population for this study is Mpumalanga Grade 6 learners.
The limitations of the study were that the data were collected about nine years prior,
therefore some factors have changed, for instance Mpumalanga has its first University
which offer teacher professional training. Secondly the SACMEQ III project removed
variables addressing teaching and assessment in the classroom. These are items such
as activities, goals and approaches used in mathematics. This reduced the element of
continuity from one era to another and ability to make a comparison of the behaviour of
such variables. The data was analysed applying descriptive statistics, correlational analysis, Principal
Components Analysis and Hierarchical Multiple Regression analysis using SPSS.
Mpumalanga data was analysed in comparison with Gauteng and South Africa overall.
Since the main research question is about Mpumalanga, the factors affecting this
province were addressed and then the differences and similarities were related to
Gauteng and the nation.
The conclusions drawn from this study were that: English language proficiency and
exposure has an effect on learner achievement in Gauteng and South Africa, Learners
with educated parents have a higher likelihood of achieving better performance in
Mathematics, teacher training has an effect on learner performance in Mpumalanga and
South Africa, socioeconomic status is a predictor of learner achievement and classroom
resources have an influence on performance in Mathematics.