Western Cape comes out tops for Reading and Maths in Southern and Eastern Africa | Western Cape Government



Western Cape comes out tops for Reading and Maths in Southern and Eastern Africa

18 August 2017

The Western Cape has achieved the top scores in South Africa for reading and mathematics, according to the results of a new international study released this morning (18 August 2017).

The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) released results for reading and mathematics in Grade 6 in 13 countries covered by the organisation.

The SACMEQ results are important as they provide useful information regarding reading and mathematics performance within our Province and Country, as compared to other participating countries. The Western Cape's reading and mathematics scores were in fact higher than the national averages of all African states included in the study.

They also assess teacher development and other areas such as gender equality and promotion, infrastructure and resources, and learner and teacher knowledge on HIV/AIDS and TB.

While I am delighted to see improvements in our scores Nationally, I am particularly pleased with the performance of the Western Cape Province in these assessments, especially in Reading and Maths.

In both reading and mathematics, the Western Cape improved significantly, outperforming all of the other 8 Provinces and scoring considerably higher results as compared to the National average.

The Western Cape was the only province to achieve more than 600 points for both reading (627.6) and mathematics (654.5), according to the report, known as SACMEQ 4.

The Provincial Performance of the Western Cape in Reading improved from a learner reading score of 583 in 2007 (SACMEQ 3) to 627 points in 2013 (SACMEQ 4). This is an increase of 44 points.

This is also significantly higher than the current National Average of 538 points.

In Mathematics, results improved by a mammoth 88 points for Grade 6 in the Western Cape, compared to the previous study (SACMEQ 3).

The Provincial Performance in Mathematics improved from a learner math score of 566 in 2007 (SACMEQ 3) to 654 points in 2013. This is significantly higher than the current National Average of 552 points.

Learner Reading Score 583 627  +44 538
Learner Math Score 566         654   +88  552


In terms of our performance compared to the averages of other Countries participating in Africa, the Western Cape's results still outperform the best Regional Performance in Reading. The Seychelles achieved an average of 609 points, compared to the Western Cape's 627 points.

Mauritius achieved the highest score per country for Mathematics, with 644 points. I am therefore pleased that the Western Cape also performed above this score with 654 points.

There is, however, a lot more depth to these results. For example, the results break down various levels of reading and mathematics comprehension - such as where learners' competencies lie. For example, in reading, the results break down the abilities of learners to comprehend basic reading as opposed to interpretive reading or critical reading.

In these results, it is again evident that the Western Cape is achieving higher than the other Provinces, with the majority of our learners achieving scores in advanced reading comprehension, as opposed to intermediate levels.

The results indicate that the Western Cape achieved 72.7% in advanced reading, compared to 36.1% nationally. The second best performing Province was Gauteng with 54%.

Similarly, in the results indicating levels of advanced maths, the Western Cape achieved 47.3%, compared to 14.9% nationally. The second best performing Province was Gauteng with 21.4%.

Teacher performance is also calculated in the results.

Again, I am pleased to announce that the Western Cape achieved the highest scores as compared to other Provinces. For Reading, our teachers achieved 789.9 points, compared to 726.6 points nationally. In maths, our teachers scored 843.5 points compared to 780.5 nationally.

The results released today are encouraging as they indicate that the various strategies we have in the Western Cape to address Language and Mathematics performance are working. Critical to these strategies are the WCED Systemic Tests which are performed annually. These tests are essential in determining our maths and language strategies.

We are the only Province to conduct such testing.

The results also reflect the hard work of our teachers, principals and officials as they continue to help us improve on delivering a quality education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school.

The results also reveal areas where we need to improve and I have asked my Department to study the results carefully, to ensure that we make further advancements in both reading and maths as well as teacher development.

Media Enquiries: 

Paddy Attwell
Cell: 083 2617699
Email: Paddy.Attwell@westerncape.gov.za

Bronagh Casey
Cell: 072 7241422
Email: bronagh.casey@westerncape.gov.za