Minister Grant Releases Grade 6 Literacy and Numeracy Results
Ensuring that all our learners are able to read, write and calculate at the appropriate level is a key priority for this administration.
In order to identify problem areas and to undertake remedial action in the fields of literacy and numeracy performance, the Western Cape leads the rest of the country in the use of extensive testing for Grade 3 and 6 learners.
In this regard, we welcome the fact that the President has endorsed nationally literacy and numeracy testing for grades 3,6 and 9.
In November 2009, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) assessed the literacy and numeracy skills of 83 921 Grade 6 learners from 1 046 schools in the province.
The results reveal that we are making steady progress in improving the literacy skills of our learners.
The percentage of learners achieving 50% or more for literacy across the Western Cape has increased steadily over the past six years:
This is an increase of 13.6% since 2003.
However, the results show that in relation to numeracy, there is much room for improvement. While there has been a welcomed 3.4% increase since the last test in 2007, the overall result of 17.4% is unacceptably low.
The percentage of learners achieving 50% or more for numeracy across the Western Cape has fluctuated over the past six years:
It is, however, encouraging to note, that these results outperform our targets for improving performance levels in literacy and numeracy in 2010.
In our strategic plan for education, released last November, we set targets for the improvement of the Grade 6 literacy and numeracy results for 2010 at 45% for literacy and 15% for numeracy. Therefore, if we continue at these rates of improvement, we are well on our way to achieving our targets of 65% for literacy and 50% for numeracy in 2014.
To do this, we have committed ourselves to improving the literacy and numeracy outcomes by directing maximum resources (both human and financial) to the first three years of schooling.
We will also continue to refine our literacy and numeracy strategy, with a special emphasis on mathematics.
The strategy includes diagnostic tests, classroom support, special teaching and learning support materials, teacher training, special programmes by districts and schools, and family learning activities.
Recently, we launched our literacy and numeracy campaign across the province, which supports schools in their efforts to build the literacy and numeracy skills of their children at primary school level, and encourages parents to take an active interest in their children's education, and to build their reading, writing and calculating skills within their homes and family circles.
Last year, we appointed experts in the field of literacy and numeracy to train our teachers in these disciplines. The teacher training programme will benefit every primary school in the province over an 8 year period.
Next month we begin our literacy and numeracy roadshow across the Province. The roadshow will see principals briefed on the results of the Grade 6 assessment and congratulatory visits to schools that have improved. There will also be targeted assistance and support offered to schools that have not shown improvement. Community meetings will be held to inform parents about how they can help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of their children. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Our Head of Department, Ms. Penny Vinjevold, will also be releasing a letter to all parents, explaining how their child's school performed in the latest assessment, relative to the provincial average. This will enable parents more effectively to hold their child's school accountable for their performance.
The important role of parental involvement in their child's education cannot be emphasised enough. We strongly encourage parents to talk to their children about what they are doing at school, what they read, what they wrote and what sums did they do. We also want parents to speak to teachers about what they are doing in school to build these skills, and what parents can do to help their child's teachers.
Through the combined effort of learners, teachers and parents, as well as support from the WCED, we are confident that we can continue to increase the levels of competency in literacy and numeracy in this province.
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 724 1422
Tel: 021 467 2377