East Cape pupils a cut above nation


Maths assessments show little improvement countrywide.

Grade 9 maths pupils in the Eastern Cape seem able to add slightly better than their national counterparts, the province coming out tops in terms of average marks in last year’s external literacy and numeracy assessments.

However the results still show that only 3% do so at the desired level.

The Eastern Cape’s Grade 9 pupils yielded a dismal yet above national average result of 13.8% in maths in the annual national assessments (ANAs), while the national average stood at 10.8% – a drop from the previous year’s 13.9%.

The ANAs are written annually in September by pupils in grades 1 to 6 and 9.

The marks are used to assess pupils’ literacy and numeracy levels, which the Basic Education Department uses to tailor the syllabus by identifying curriculum weak points.

Despite ranking tops, the province’s Grade 9 result is a slip down from 2013’s 15.8% provincial average. Only 3.3% passed with 50% and above.

The Butterworth district took top spot in the province, its Grade 9 pupils yielding an average maths mark of 23%, while Uitenhage, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth rank far lower at 15th, 19th and 20th respectively, out of 23 districts.

Uitenhage pupils had an average mark of 9.8% (down from 15.7%) in maths, while Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth both scored a paltry 8.4% – down from 13.2% and 14.2% respectively.

Cradock, the province’s topperforming district in the matric results, came second last with an abysmal 6.9% average, down by 2.8 percentage points.

The provincial results for Grade 9 maths showed that rural areas far outperformed urban areas, with the top 10 spots secured by Cofimvaba, Libode, Mthatha, Mbizana, Mount Frere, Qumbu, Dutywa, Ngcobo and Lady Frere.

Grade 6 nationally recorded a 43.1% average mark, with the Eastern Cape at 36.8% – up from 33% the previous year. Of those who passed, only 23.3% had 50% or more – still a vast improvement from 2012’s 8.1% and 2013’s 16.2%.

District performance saw East London leading with 43.9%, up from 37.8%. Port Elizabeth was eighth with 37.9%, a 6.4 percentage point decline.

The Uitenhage district secured fifth place with a threepercentage-point increase to 38.5%, and Cradock 17th with 35.4% – up from 30.8%.

However the foundation phase yielded a gradual improvement in maths, with the national average mark in Grade 1 maths standing at 68.4% from 2013’s 59.6%.

Eastern Cape Grade 1 pupils fared below the national average, with 64.5%, with 76% of them – up from 65.5% – passing with 50% and more.

The national average for Grade 2 maths was 61.8%. The Eastern Cape had 57.7% – up from 54.1% in 2013. Of the country’s Grade 2 pupils, 74.5% passed at the desired level of 50% plus.

Grade 3 pupils achieved a 55.5% national average. The Eastern Cape average was 52.7%, up from 50.6%. More than half of those (58.1%) passed with 50% and above.

Of Grade 4 pupils, 27% exceeded 50%. The national average was 37.3%; the Eastern Cape’s 34.8%.

Of Grade 5 pupils, 18.6% had 50% plus. The provincial average was 32.2% – just below the national of 37.3%.

Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula applauded the province on its performance, attributing the success to improved stability in curriculum delivery and in the foundation phase.

– Zandile Mbabela

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