Pupils' maths mark concerning - Motshekga

2012-12-03 16:21

Johannesburg - The maths performance of Grade 9 pupils is cause for concern, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Monday.

"In Grade 9 mathematics, the average performance is 13%. Provincial performance ranges between 9% and 17%," she said.

Motshekga was releasing the annual national assessment (ANA) results in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg.

"These results explain to a very large extent why, among many other reasons, we have such high failure and dropout rates at Grades 10 and 11."

Lack of teachers

Motshekga said the department was concerned that few pupils pursued maths and science in the Further Education and Training phase, and that even those who had the potential to take these subjects did not.

"Among many other reasons, including the availability of teachers, is the fear of failing as they witness others not making the grade."

She said pupil performance in the foundation phase (Grades 1, 2 and 3) was pleasing and there was also progress in the intermediate phase (Grades 4, 5 and 6).

She said that in Grade 3, the national average performance in literacy was 52% this year, compared to 35% in 2011.

"I must say, this is extremely encouraging and should give South Africans great hope that at this rate, we will reach, or even surpass, the targets we have set for ourselves.

"This is a big margin to achieve in a year by any standards. Provincial performance ranges between 46% and 57%."

Building solid skills

She said in Grade 3 numeracy, pupils were now performing at an average of 41%, compared to 28% in 2011.

"[Again], great improvement of 13%, particularly noting our commitment to ensure that our learners pursue mathematics and science in later grades.

"This will help them build solid skills so that they can take these subjects with all the necessary confidence."

Provincial performance ranged between 34% and 47%, and was highest in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

In Grade 6, the national average performance in language this year was 43% (home language) and 36% (first additional language), compared to 28% in 2011.

"This is an improvement of 15% in home language, putting us on track with our 60% target of 2014," said Motshekga.

She said in 2011, the first additional language was not assessed and that this year's result would act as a benchmark moving forward.

"Paying attention to first additional language is very important because the challenge with our education system is that the majority of our learners who are black Africans study in a language which is not their first home language."

Improved maths skills

Provincial performance in home language ranged between 28% and 52%, and was highest in the Free State. Provincial performance in first additional language ranged between 31% and 43%.

In Grade 6 maths, the average performance in 2012 was 27%, compared to 30% last year.

Provincial performance ranged between 21% and 33%.

"I guess this is also understandable, noting that improvements in mathematical skills require the acquisition of conceptual skills first for learners to make the necessary progress," Motshekga said
In Grade 9, the national average performance in language was 43% (home language) and 35% (first additional language).

Provincial performance in home language ranged between 31% and 50%, and that in first additional language ranged between 30% and 40%.

"These, and the literacy results, are benchmark results. They also help us pay special attention to a very important phase in the system, the phase during and after which we lose many children, with very high dropout rates."

Motshekga said in addition to the performance of Grades Four, Five and Nine in particular, more attention had to be paid to the lower end of the system.

"These improvements again are a source of great hope because we are beginning to see improvements at the lower end of the system whilst we have to be concerned that the higher end seems to be stagnating," she said.

Best practice

The annual national assessment is a testing programme which requires all schools to conduct the same, grade-specific language and maths tests for Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9.

Motshekga said the choice of subjects to prioritise for monitoring was informed by the recognition, worldwide, that literacy and numeracy were key foundational skills which predisposed pupils to effective learning in all fields of knowledge.

She said the annual national assessment had exposed teachers across the country to what the national experts considered to be the best practice in assessments.

"This gives teachers a clearer idea of how to proceed when developing their own assessments at critical points in the school year."

  • jacob.zooma.9 - 2012-12-03 16:27

    It is good enough for me! R100 000 + R900 000 = +- R250 000 000 My work here is done

      nontobeko.tshabz - 2012-12-03 16:35

      lol lol that comment made my day lol.

      thabo.mdodo - 2012-12-03 16:35

      me thinks you must go back to preschool! da answer is clearly 1 milion

      thabo.mdodo - 2012-12-03 16:36

      how you get at 25 anywayz?

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-12-03 16:40

      @Thabo. He was making fun of the point that Zuma's bond amount (R900k) and whatever other donations he got simply do not equate to the R250mill, try as he might.

      trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-12-03 16:50

      @Thabo Sleep with HIV woman - condom = shower? This also don't make sense I though it was only our Prez that was dumb.

      nico.dejongh.90 - 2012-12-03 17:30

      One plus one makes three, now.. how come this maths teacher try to tell me it's two. Aauw

      gerda.vanrooyen.39 - 2012-12-03 17:45

      Great one Jacob.zooma. You just made my day. Hhaha

      ronald.stilianou - 2012-12-03 17:51

      Case and point for Thabo's comment. At first I thought he was joking, but alas, I was mistaken.

      michael.heys.3 - 2012-12-03 17:52

      Yes but it is only the non swimmers that are bad at maths.

      frank.vankaapstad - 2012-12-03 18:36

      Not to worry, the ANC fails to educate the nation but they make up for it with racist policies ensuring those that were failed by this government's education system are given great jobs with fat salaries, even though most of them are illiterate and inept.

      jakalas.kruger - 2012-12-03 21:07

      Maths potential is a genetic BBEEE or AA or any racial discrimination against non-ANC voters will ever change this fact.

      freddie.miff - 2012-12-04 09:08

      @ jacob.zooma.9 - brilliant comment. @ thabo.mdoda - (shakes head) irony is obviously way above your pay grade.

  • Rob Allen - 2012-12-03 16:31

    fukken hopeless you and your policies

      fussed.anderson - 2012-12-03 16:46

      Year end will be a 90% pass, HOW

      kalabafazi - 2012-12-03 16:54

      Motshekga should be held accountable for these failings. She is the Minister of Education. The buck stops with her. The solution - Fire people who can't/don't do their jobs. and start with the useless piece of dog pooh Motshekga. The kids results are dismal because of the failings of the Education Department.

      Jason - 2012-12-03 16:54

      They have spent 18 years cocking up the education standards in South Africa!! Now they are concerned????? hahahahahahahahahahahahahah 1+1=b

      tim.gordon.5011516 - 2012-12-03 18:18

      Ah. So at least Motshekga is able to put two and two together . . .

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-12-03 16:37

    "In Grade 9 mathematics, the average performance is 13%. Provincial performance ranges between 9% and 17%," she said. Ihlazo leli (this is disgraceful). How can the average grade 9 pupil only "know" 13% of what they should be knowing? It's a national crisis, and in any other democracy where accountability is respected she would have been fired a long time ago. There's not even a major discrepancy between the best and worst provinces (17% to 9%), which shows us just how deep the problem is.

      lee.brand.73 - 2012-12-03 16:43

      There is no crisis. Mediority is good, poor leadership is normal and corruption is ok. Welcome to the South African dream.

      trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-12-03 16:53

      What do expect when education is not a priority, next they are going to complain about the new subject that was introduced "CORRUPTION" where pupils is only getting 90% is bad.

      bibi.vanzyl - 2012-12-03 17:05

      Ange this is your and your department's fault. What motivates the kids these days? Unions rule the schools, you have changed the curriculum several times (my nephew went through 3 curriculum changes in his 12 years) What do you expect when the stronger kids have to support the weaker ones in group projects? The list goes on. We won't even mention the textbook saga and poor training of the teachers.

      ronald.stilianou - 2012-12-03 17:58

      My daughter is 5, and she can do basic addition an subtraction, she can count to 100 and word problem solving. All it took from us as parents is to spend 2hours each weekend and do fun mathematical games with her. Parents should take charge of their children's education, you clearly can't count on our government to do it

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-12-03 18:53

      @ Gcwabe- you rightly call it a national crisis, while Angie sees it as a "cause for concern", and that is where the problem lies. To address a problem you have to acknowledge its existence. As long as they keep downplaying any crisis they will never fix it.

      jakalas.kruger - 2012-12-03 21:53

      @Ronald.stilianou, 90% of ANC voters are not capable of doing basic maths, they do not have the intellectual capacity to teach these things to their kids. It is a genetic thing, ask any teacher as long as it is not an ANC voting one because they also lack the ability.

  • mawandewonderman.mkuba - 2012-12-03 16:41

    Minister Motshekga is this not what you wanted when you fired thousands of teachers? Don't act surprised because this 13% grade 9 pass rate is all your making. Now be patriotic about it,resign.

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-12-03 17:07

      And it's not even a pass rate. I would love to know what percentage managed to get over 50%, or if we choose to lower standards like they have, how many got over 30%.

  • vrouman.thom - 2012-12-03 16:42

    Getting between 40 and 50% is cause for concern... A national avg of 13% is nothing short of atrocious!!!! A person with half a brain can get 13%!!!

      michael.i.wright - 2012-12-03 18:26

      You do realize that a great many, may actually only have half a brain?

  • ahenriquesfernandes - 2012-12-03 16:43

    "These results explain to a very large extent why, among many other reasons, we have such high failure and dropout rates at Grades 10 and 11." Angie, Angie, Angie... please. This is a symptom not the cause. Maybe look a little closer instead of making excuses

  • lee.brand.73 - 2012-12-03 16:51

    We dont need education. If we need anything we can just steal it from the people. We are all going to be politicians. Guess which party:-)

  • nick.crossley.395 - 2012-12-03 16:54

    It astounds me that after 11 years at school this is the best they can achieve. No wonder there is so much unemployment, who would employ someone that cannot understand ,let alone apply maths. To all ANC voters, you are getting what you deserve, the goverment wants to ensure you stay uneducated and unemployed so Zuma and his mates stay in power to line their own pockets. They do not care about poverty and those that suffer. Enjoy SA after you re-elect Zuma and you get poorer and poorer, hungrier and hungrier.

  • Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-12-03 16:57

    1. Fire this woman. 2. Overhaul the education system. 3. Train and re-hire competent educators.

  • dragonfire47 - 2012-12-03 16:57

    Well didn't you know, playing with crackers in residential areas is far more important

  • sean.letley.7 - 2012-12-03 17:00

    2012 - 1994 = chaos squared

  • kimard - 2012-12-03 17:02

    well what do you expect? no text books, uneducated/under-trained teachers, pupils sexually active from the age 10 (or younger), pregnancies, drugs and other criminal activities etc etc why go to school at all if your uneducated president can do maths up to 250 milj?

  • peter.ellis.37051 - 2012-12-03 17:03

    ALways the excuse ,not enough teachers. All blame Zuma but a lot of blame can go back to Madiba. When they took over how many teacher colleges did they close and there were many good training staff. There is a lot of answers to be found ther

  • - 2012-12-03 17:05

    So if I'm a doctor and this year 43% of my patients survive compared to 28% serving last year, I am good doctor? GTFO

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-12-03 17:06

    Anywhere else the CEO is only as good as his company's results!

  • khumo.lebone - 2012-12-03 17:11

    How nice can it be to f#ck and f#ck and then complain about the dropping education standards ?? Maybe I need to apply for her job, it sounds interesting.

  • donald.perumal - 2012-12-03 17:15

    @ Minister of Education These percentages may look like some kind of improvement in the SA'n sense but in the global arena countries are expecting 90% average in all grades! There is work to be done!

  • david.lebethe - 2012-12-03 17:18

    How will pupils results improve when the minister (read govet) cares less about our children's education? If I were her, I would first instil discipline among teachers. The main rot in our schools are teachers, who debunk classes to attend to their personal needs and undermine authority in the name of the union and anc. The debacle about one Meadowlans High principal in Soweto is one classical example. His actions and so was that of his supporters was never condemned by the minister. How does she expect us to entrust our children's eductaion in the hands of such individuals or our children's performance to improve in the midst of such ill-discipline?

  • avremel.niselow - 2012-12-03 17:18

    Expect the minimum pass mark for maths to be 10% from next year.

  • magogodale.mulalo1 - 2012-12-03 17:19

    If xe 's concerned xe mst do smething

  • prakash.singh.169 - 2012-12-03 17:28


  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-12-03 17:36

    Lazy stupid damned idiot woman! You SHOULD be going off the deep end even if the marks dropped below 75% NOT this pitiable failure rate you seem PROUD of achieving.

  • shauncro - 2012-12-03 17:47

    You won't pay for proper schools and teachers and then you wonder why? But let's be honest here, it's not really a problem cause all they have to do is lower the bar making it easier to pass. (Dripping in sarcasm by the way)

  • truthbetold221 - 2012-12-03 17:51

    Did I just read 7, 13 and 17%?

  • di.hingley - 2012-12-03 18:07

    Find maths and science teachers and redo the maths syllabus, the current maths syllabus scares off the students.

  • jman.maluleke - 2012-12-03 18:52

    So who do you blame? You are the minister of basic education so you should give us explanation why the grade 9 math perfomance is very poor, you will never know bcs non of your children, if ever you have one, are in public school. Just resign madam.

  • gretchen.adams.16 - 2012-12-03 19:15

    So therefore they decided to introduce Math literacy which is not only useless but cant really get you a job or university, why oh why did they adopt this rediculous education system, end of year there will be a 95% PASS RATE , how?wtf? and then these kids get to go to university and fail miserable cause the basic education system havent prepared them properly.... SAD

  • nonhlanhla.sithole.73 - 2012-12-03 19:23

    from grade 10, maths teachers are abusive. that is why pipuls dropout. this needs special attention.

  • mmangaliso - 2012-12-03 19:43

    and all the little girls sing '' we dont care as long as there is sassa we will never be poor '' and the boys make em and drop them... and angie dont forget to ask for support. The song of our nation

  • dave.scott.984786 - 2012-12-03 20:21

    I hope they not going to fix this problem by droping the maths pass mark to 10%

  • mfundo.radebe1 - 2012-12-03 20:54

    I got an A! The ex-Model C schools (which government hates so much) are the ones which achieve! Stop setting barriers for our schools to continue in excellence! In another country this would be a huge crisis but not in South Africa! Why?

  • prec.mem - 2012-12-03 20:56

    My son wrote the Grade 9 paper, came home and told me it was the easiest exam he has ever written.

  • eugene.ngobeni.7 - 2012-12-03 21:27

    And she realises this now? Her job of convincing anc members to nominate Zuma is done so she should resign as minister. Croocks like her arent supposed to be in charge of education which is our countries future

  • truthbetold221 - 2012-12-03 22:24

    She should fire herself for the sake of the young ones.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-12-04 05:04

    This is one what happens with lack of text books, two lack of good teachers, three lack of interest from the government because ZUMA cant have his people smarter than himself. The idiot cant even read.... so come on can he count? no... so if he cant why should any of us... Remember were the 4th dumbest country in the WORLD!!!!!

  • john.lonsdale.5 - 2012-12-04 05:25

    But are not the private schools not included in this percentage for grade 9's maths. If that is so, I would say that the 13% pass quoted is even lower, because I can not see any parent paying R5000 or more per month for there child's schooling, and accepting a 13% pass, and this goes equally for all the other grades and subjects. What are we producing as a nation, and some of you teachers should hang you head in shame. Oh forget my last comment, those teachers can not read.

  • richard.zanner - 2012-12-04 07:00

    Why is she concerned about this. She was not concerned about non delivery of books and teachers on pay rolls that were not teaching and education not being a right that children have. This is a natural progression from her leadership skills so maybe she should be concerned about herself.

  • richard.zanner - 2012-12-04 07:04

    No need for concern. Just drop the pass mark again and the pass rate will increase. If you drop the pass mark by another 30% then you will have a 100% pass rate. No need for concern.

  • gawie.gatvol - 2012-12-04 07:20

    How about appoionting teachers that have the proper qualifications and NOT on race or BEE status...just a thought

  • lisa.dhayalam - 2012-12-04 07:23

    Has anybody questioned how the ANA was conducted? When I tried to question this @ my son's school, I was told that this is a government thing and this could not be done. It is totally unacceptable that the children were assessed on scenarios that were not addressed in the curriculum. These items were only addressed after the assessment was done. Also, the manner in which the assessment was conducted should be questioned as the children were not prepared for the assessment, but surprised by what was put in front of them - as the teachers were. They were then limited to a time constraint for this totally new assessment. Use my son's results as an example of the ineffectiveness of this assessment and it's administration; 16/30 and 12/20, for a child whose class marks are usually around 80%. When questioned with the school, I was told that I should not worry about this "government" assessment due to the circumstances under which they were conducted. Upon requesting further feedback, I was told that the model answers used for marking e assessment were very specific, and if the children's responses were not close, they were marked incorrect. Therefore, my son was marked down on most aspects of the curriculum, including comprehension and the basic mathematical concepts of multiplication, subtraction, etc. This ANA is not conducted with any professionalism, as occurs most things conducted by this education department, and there is no redress for the scholars that are being hurt.

  • brasteve.myaluze - 2012-12-04 08:20

    There are three types of pupils; those who can count and those who can't

  • jack.koopman.3 - 2012-12-04 11:36

    All is not lost with this bad maths reports. We need to keep education of maths simple, use the K.I.S.S. concept .. Let’s go back to basics, if you want to learn to count, start with playing marbles. The snag is, where do you find marbles in this electronic age ?????? and also, where can we play marbles. Our playing areas have been hijacked by the gangs, our walkways by vendors, our yards by criminals, education by politics and so it goes on and on. So, never mind the basics let’s play chess....taking your back at square one. Jack

  • mbambo.shi - 2012-12-04 18:57

    All thanx to incomptent cadres deployment by ANC.

  • Paul - 2012-12-05 08:28

    Liberation before education!

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