Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 37 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Constraints to quality education and support for all: A Western Cape case</b>]]> In its vision for education, the National Planning Commission (2011:264) of South Africa states that "all children can access and benefit from high quality education" through flexible services which are available, accessible and responsive to the needs of children, and that "specific consideration will be given to the most vulnerable children - those who live in poverty or with disabilities". As an emerging economy, South Africa is faced with the challenge of implementing the policy aimed at realising this vision. This paper highlights the plight of learners who have been identified as having high-level support needs and who are waiting for special school placement. Data was collected through questionnaires and semi-structured focus group interviews. In total, 371 participants were involved in this research. Forty-one learning support teachers were purposefully selected, and 165 mainstream teachers were systematically selected from within a specific education district of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The findings imply that the needs of learners on waiting lists are grossly neglected in mainstream classrooms. Teachers generally feel ill equipped to provide adequate support. Various other contextual factors exacerbate this situation. This article offers some practical recommendations in pursuit of moving beyond a discourse of justification to debate the implementation of inclusive education that will benefit all learners, including learners with highlevel support needs. <![CDATA[<b>A resilience, health and well-being lens for education and poverty</b>]]> In this paper I argue that the health and well-being outcomes of people at different levels of a social hierarchy, as studied by epidemiologists and psychologists has relevance for educational research, especially in unequal societies. When addressing poverty-associated risk, the educational emphasis need not only be on attaining more individual wealth in society, but could rather be to improve the educational, psychological and social well-being. I draw on four ethnographic studies to construct a bricolage of narratives to show how resilience, health and well-being agendas may lead to positive education outcomes given inequality. <![CDATA[<b>The value of large-scale randomised control trials in system-wide improvement: The case of the Reading Catch-Up Programme</b>]]> This article illustrates the value of large-scale impact evaluations with counterfactual components. It begins by exploring the limitations of small-scale impact studies, which do not allow reliable inference to a wider population or which do not use valid comparison groups. The paper then describes the design features of a recent large-scale randomised control trial (RCT) evaluation of an intermediate phase literacy intervention that we evaluated. Using a rigorous sampling process and randomised assignment, the paper shows the value of the approach, and how the RCT method prevents researchers from reaching potentially harmful false positive findings. The paper also considers some of the limitations of the RCT method and makes recommendations to mitigate these. <![CDATA[<b>Family experiences, the motivation for science learning and science achievement of different learner groups</b>]]> Science education is particularly important for both developed and developing countries to promote technological development, global economic competition and economic growth. This study explored the relationship between family experiences, the motivation for science learning, and the science achievement of a group of Grade Nine learners in South Africa. A purposeful sample of 380 learners from three racial groups in public and independent schools completed the Student Motivation for Science Learning questionnaire combined with items investigating family experiences. The findings indicate that family experiences correlated significantly with three motivational aspects of science learning (self-efficacy, active learning and achievement goals); boys perceived family experiences significantly more positively than girls; and parental educational level as well as school values seemed to be related to science learning. Recommendations were made as to how schools can support families in enhancing family experiences that promote learners' motivation for science learning and science achievement. <![CDATA[<b>e-Portfolio as reflection tool during teaching practice: The interplay between contextual and dispositional variables</b>]]> This paper focuses on an e-portfolio pilot initiative at the Faculty of Education at a South African university and aims to determine whether the theoretical underpinning and expectations of an e-portfolio aligns with the current practices and attributes of students' training during school practicum as teachers at a South African university. In the South African context, e-portfolios are increasingly being considered in teacher training programmes, to enable student teachers to reflect in, on and about practice in a structured way, whereby they demonstrate their growth and development as professionals. A self-selected sample of 11 student teachers placed in different urban and rural school contexts were provided with tablets and data bundles. Equipped with varying digital skills, daily reflections and regular online interaction with peers and project members was expected. Data gathering was done by means of semi-structured interviews which were analysed by means of framework analysis. Results suggest that student teachers still require support in reflective writing; that the social and collaborative aspects of e-portfolio use within the given context is underdeveloped, and that the level of digital skills of students will impact the potential success of the integration of e-portfolios as reflective tools. This paper contributes to the growing interest in South African literature regarding the use of e-portfolios for teacher training, by highlighting contextual and dispositional variables as essential considerations before adopting such a learning approach as part of teacher training. <![CDATA[<b>'We are never invited': School children using collage to envision care and support in rural schools</b>]]> The voices of school children who are orphaned and vulnerable are more often than not missing from conversations about their care and support at school. In a rural ecology this is even more so the case. This article draws on a study with school children in rural KwaZulu-Natal and explores their constructions of care and support in the age of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). A qualitative approach using collage, a visual arts-based method was used with 20 school children from two rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to co-produce data with the participants, which was analysed using thematic analysis. A bio-ecological systems theory was used to frame how rural school children understand and envision care and support in a rural school context, explaining their ideas of transforming school care and support provided for vulnerable children. The findings point to the need for strengthened competencies and agency, improved collaboration and inclusion at school level, and enhanced relations and agency at community level. The findings suggest a democratising of care and support, and have implications for systemic programmatic interventions and policy-making aimed at strengthening the relationships of the individual, the school and the community. <![CDATA[<b>Assessing the outcomes of school-based partnership resilience intervention</b>]]> This study reports on the outcomes of educational psychology school-based intervention. The aim was to determine whether the intervention served as an educational pathway to resilience. Through a concurrent mixed-methods research design interpreted through a pragmatic lens, academic school performance of students in a rural school was used as an outcome variable to gauge educational resilience in relation to educational psychology-rural school intervention. Quantitatively, academic document sampling from two student cohorts were sampled (n = 53). Qualitatively, knowledgeable teachers from the school (n = 2) were interviewed to gain more in-depth knowledge of the perceptions of academic performance and intervention. The data analysis techniques consist of descriptive statistics and f-tests on the sampled data, and thematic analysis of interview transcripts. As evidenced, research findings suggest that partnership intervention to increase pathways to socio-emotional competence and educational pathways to influence academic performance of students was not significant. The findings further suggest that partnership intervention certainly holds numerous benefits, yet in this case, they are not directly evidenced in the performance of students. Quantitative academic performance scores are poor indicators of school-based intervention outcomes; we recommend that future research should include qualitative student self-report. <![CDATA[<b>Empowering principals to lead and manage public schools effectively in the 21st century</b>]]> Globally, education systems have been affected by radical social, political and economic changes. Although school principals play a pivotal role in improving student learning and attaining educational outcomes, they work under strenuous conditions to deal with multifaceted transformational issues. Principals experience great difficulty in coping with numerous changes, partly because they are inadequately prepared for their leadership position, or simply lack the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to lead and manage schools effectively and efficiently. Fundamentally, principals should be empowered to effectively deal with challenges facing them in the 21st century. Using qualitative research, this study explored the importance of promoting a culture of professional development that will prepare principals to confront education challenges and obstacles facing them. Fifteen principals were selected to determine their perceptions and experiences of how they were prepared and professionally developed to lead and manage schools. Findings revealed that in South Africa, there is no formal preparation for aspiring or practicing principals taking on leadership and management positions, and very few in-service professional development programmes are available. There is a dire need for education authorities to introduce compulsory training and development programmes for aspiring and practicing school leaders to lead and manage their schools successfully. <![CDATA[<b>The National Benchmark Test of quantitative literacy: Does it complement the Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy examination?</b>]]> The National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination in South Africa is a standardised assessment whose main function is to determine whether Grade 12 learners have mastered subject knowledge at the culmination of their secondary education. Alongside this, the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP) was introduced to develop the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) that are aimed at assessing the academic readiness of first time entry students to South African universities. This article explores the relationship between these two standardised assessments in the domain of mathematical/quantitative literacy. This is accomplished through a Pearson correlation analysis of 6,363 test scores obtained by Grade 12 learners on the NSC Mathematical Literacy examination and the Quantitative Literacy test of the NBT in 2012. The results reveal a curvilinear relationship between these two sets of results. This indicates that the two assessments are related but not identical, and the paper argues that their complementarity suggests the value of using performance information generated by both for access and placement. <![CDATA[<b>Home and school environmental determinants of science achievement of South African students</b>]]> Determinants of educational achievement extend beyond the school environment to include the home environment. Both environments provide tangible and intangible resources to students that can influence science achievement. South Africa provides a context where inequalities in socio-economic status are vast, thus the environments from whence students draw resources vary. This paper investigates school and home environments to determine what resources influenced science achievement. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on data from 11,969 South African Grade Nine students, who participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2011. The findings reveal that both the school and home environments play important roles in students' science achievement, with the strongest associations exhibited with: speaking the language of the test at home, home assets, and the condition of school buildings. Implications for policy are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Students' perceptions and readiness towards mobile learning in colleges of education: a Nigerian perspective</b>]]> Access to quality education is becoming a huge challenge in Nigeria, in view of the exponential growth in its population, coupled with ethno-religious crises and other acts of terrorism. A large chunk of the country's population - about 26% have no access to education, as existing teaching and learning facilities have become inadequate. Some interventions such as e-learning and mobile learning (m-learning) have been explored in other levels of education, particularly universities. In order to explore the viability of m-learning to address the inadequacies of facilities and poor access to quality education, this study ascertains the perceptions of students towards m-learning. A quantitative research design, using a sample of 320 students from three colleges of education, is adopted. Descriptive and regression analysis was performed. Based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model, the results show that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, and mobile learning conditions are positively correlated with behavioural intention, and that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and mobile learning conditions significantly predict students' intention towards m-learning. The study therefore concludes that students in colleges of education in Nigeria had positive perceptions towards mobile learning and are therefore ready to embrace it. <![CDATA[<b>Factors influence the digital media teaching of primary school teachers in a flipped class: A Taiwan case study</b>]]> The current study focuses on the key roles that affect the success of a flipped classroom. The research was conducted with a questionnaire survey created from a study of literature review. Out of a total of 441 samples, 424 valid samples (96.14%) from teachers have been received. The study key conclusions are as follows: (1) a principal leadership has positive effect on student's learning achievement; (2) a principal leadership has positive effect on teacher's attitude of digital media teaching; (3) a teacher's attitude of using digital media has positive effect on student's learning achievement; (4) a teacher's attitude towards digital media teaching moderates the relationship between principal leadership and student' s learning achievement; and (5) parental involvement has a positive effect on student's learning achievement. However, administrative support appeared to weakly influence teacher' s attitudes towards digital media teaching. Very often in the culture of Taiwanese primary school, the teachers tend to only obey the principal and neglect the requirements of the administrative staff.