Spatial variation in school performance, a local analysis of socio-economic factors in Cape Town

Naidoo, Arulsivanathan Ganas Varadappa ; Van Eeden, Amanda ; Munch, Zahn (2014)

CITATION: Naidoo, A. G. V., Van Eeden, M. & Munch, Z. 2014. Spatial variation in school performance, a local analysis of socio-economic factors in Cape Town. South African Journal of Geomatics, 3(1):78-94.

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Poor pass rates of matric learners at secondary schools in South Africa has been a concern for quite some time. Despite large government spending on education, research has shown that the South African schooling system is struggling to convert resources to student performances and failing to promote social equity. The poor performance by South African students prompts further investigation into the factors contributing to educational outputs. The focus of this case study in Cape Town is twofold, firstly to determine if there are any spatial patterns among the matric pass rates of secondary schools and secondly to determine if there are any relationships between the matric pass rate of the school and the socio-economic attributes of the school feeder areas. Key findings of this research suggest that Cape Town schools are clustered in terms of school performance with high performing schools grouped together and many low performing schools also clustered together. There were a few exceptions where within a cluster of low performing schools there was one high performing school and vice versa. Outcomes of the research into spatially varying relationships point to selected socio-economic factors of the community, particularly parent and household characteristics, influencing the learner’s school performance.

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