Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality 1995
The Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) is a consortium of Ministries of Education and Culture located in the Southern Africa subregion. This consortium works in close partnership with the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). SACMEQ’s main aim is to undertake co-operative educational policy research in order to generate information that can be used by decision-makers to plan the quality of education. SACMEQ’s programme of educational policy research has four features which have optimized its contributions to the field of educational planning: (1) it provides research-based policy
advice concerning high-priority educational quality issues that have been identified by key decision-makers in Southern Africa, (2) it functions as a co-operative venture based on a strong network of Ministries of Education and Culture, (3) it combines research and training components that are linked with institutional capacity building, and its future directions are defined by participating ministries. In each participating country, a National Research Co-ordinator is responsible for implementing SACMEQ’s projects.
The SACMEQ I Project commenced in 1995 and was completed in 1999. The SACMEQ I main data collection was implemented in seven SACMEQ Ministries of Education (Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe). The study provided "agendas for government action" concerning: educational inputs to schools, benchmark standards for educational provision, equity in the allocation of educational resources, and the reading literacy performance of Grade 6 learners. The data collection for this project included information gathered from around 20,000 learners; 3,000 teachers; and 1,000 school principals.
This co-operative sub-regional educational research project collected data in order to guide decisionmaking in these countries with respect to questions around high priority policy issues. These included:
• What are the baseline data for selected inputs to primary schools?
• How do the conditions of primary schooling compare with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s own bench-mark standards?
• Have educational inputs to schools been allocated in an equitable fashion?
• What is the basic literacy level among pupils in upper primary school?
• Which educational inputs to primary schools have most impact on pupil reading achievement at the upper primary level?
In 1995 there were five fully active members of SACMEQ: Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania (Zanzibar), and Zimbabwe. These Ministries of Education and Culture participated in all phases of SACMEQ’s establishment and its initial educational policy research project. There are also four partially active members of SACMEQ: Kenya, Tanzania (Mainland), Malawi, and Swaziland. These Ministries of Education and Culture have made contributions to the preparation of the Project Plan for SACMEQ’s initial educational policy research project. Three other countries (Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa) had observer status due to their involvement in SACMEQ related training workshops or their participation in some elements of the preparation of the first proposal for launching SACMEQ.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
- v2.1: Edited, anonymous dataset for public distribution.
basic skills education [6.1]
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province, and in some cases, metropolitan area.
Unit of Analysis
The target population for SACMEQ's Initial Project was defined as "all pupils at the Grade 6 level in 1995 who were attending registered government or non-government schools". Grade 6 was chosen because it was the grade level where the basics of reading literacy were expected to have been acquired.
Producers and sponsors
Authoring entity/Primary investigators
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Funding the project
Funding the project
Funding the project
Ministries of Education
Funding the project
A stratified two-stage sample design was used to select around 150 schools in each country. Pupils were then selected within these schools by drawing simple random samples. A more detailed explanation of the sampling process is available under the 'Sampling' section of the report provided as external resources.
All sample designs applied in SACMEQ's initial project were selected so as to meet the standards set down by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (Ross, 1991). These standards require sample estimates of important pupil population parameters to be (a) adjusted by weighting procedures designed to remove the potential for bias that may arise from different probabilities of selection, and (b) have sampling errors that are of the same magnitude or smaller than a simple random sample of 400 pupils (thereby guaranteeing 95 percent confidence limits for sample estimates of population percentages of plus or minus 5 percentage points, and 95 percent confidence limits for sample estimates of population means of plus or minus one tenth of a pupil standard deviation unit).
From the defined population in Mauritius, a probability sample of schools (with probability proportional to the Grade 6 enrolment in each school) was drawn. In Black River and Rodrigues all schools in the defined target population were selected into the sample. This resulted in a planned national sample of 159 schools and 3,180 pupils. This sample design was designed to yield an 'equivalent sample size' (Ross and Wilson, 1994) of 400 pupils based on an estimated intra-class correlation (rho) for pupil reading test scores of around 0.30. In fact, after the rho was calculated for the reading scores, it was found to be 0.21 - which was considerably lower than had been expected.
Within schools, a simple random sample of 20 pupils from all Grade 6 pupils was drawn. The figure of 20 pupils was selected because, from practical experience, it was known that increasing the number of pupils within schools above this figure would increase the accuracy of sampling by a negligible amount, but would increase the cost of the data collection considerably. There were also concerns among the SACMEQ NRCs that conditions in many schools would not permit a valid administration of the reading test if more than 20 pupils per school were involved.
Deviations from the Sample Design
There were nine pupils excluded from the desired population in one school on the island of Agalega. This island is situated about 100 kilometres from the main island. Communication is difficult to and from Agalega, and the expense of travel is high. At the same time, schools which had Grade 6 enrolments of fewer than 20 pupils were also excluded. There were seven such schools in the whole country and, taken with the one excluded school in Agalega, this resulted in eight schools being excluded out of a total of 283 schools. Altogether, there were 133 pupils excluded out of a total of 27,849 pupils. The excluded population of pupils represented less than half of 1 percent of all pupils in the desired target population.
In the districts of Black River and Rodrigues, all schools in the defined target population were taken into the sample. This was because the Master Plan had identified these two districts as low-achieving areas compared with the rest of the country.Sampling weights were then applied to all data in order to ‘adjust’ for missing data and also to ensure that the relative size of the defined target population across school districts was accurately represented in the relative sizes of the weighted sample data across school districts.
The planned sample was designed to contain 159 schools allocated across districts. After the sample of schools was selected it was found that one school in the district of Riviere du Rempart had adopted an ‘International School’ curriculum for Grade 6 which was quite different from the approved Ministry curriculum. It was therefore decided to remove this school from the sample. The final achieved sample therefore contained 158 schools.
The response rates for the sample have been recorded in Table 2.3. The percentage response for schools was 99.4 percent and that of pupils was 91.8 percent. The nonresponding pupils were those who were absent on the day of testing. By district, this absenteeism varied from 2 to 12 percent.
The sample designs applied in SACMEQ's initial project were selected so as to meet the standards set down by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (Ross, 1991). These standards require sample estimates of important pupil parameters to
(a) be adjusted by weighting procedures designed to remove the potential for bias that may arise from different probabilities of selection and
(b) have sampling errors that are of the same magnitude or smaller than a simple random sample of 400 pupils (thereby providing 95 percent confidence limits for sample estimates of population percentages of plus or minus 5 percentage points, and 95 percent confidence limits for sample estimates of population means of plus or minus one-tenth of a pupil standard deviation unit).
At the first stage of sampling in Mauritius, schools were selected with probability proportional to the number of pupils who were members of the defined target population. To achieve this selection a ‘random start - constant interval’ procedure was applied (Ross, 1987). In several strata there were some schools with numbers of pupils in the defined target population that exceeded the size of the ‘constant interval’, and therefore each of these schools was randomly broken into smaller ‘pseudo schools’ before the commencement of the sampling.
At the second stage of sampling a simple random sample of 20 pupils was selected within each selected school. Sampling weights were used to adjust for the disproportionate allocation of the sample across districts and also to account for the small loss of student data due to absenteeism on the day of the data collection.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
Data Collection in Rodrigues
Data Collection on Main Island
Mode of data collection
Type of Research Instrument
The data collection for SACMEQ's Initial Project took place in October 1995 and involved the administration of questionnaires to pupils, teachers, and school heads. The pupil questionnaire contained questions about the pupils' home backgrounds and their school life; the teacher questionnaire asked about classrooms, teaching practices, working conditions, and teacher housing; and the school head questionnaire collected information about teachers, enrolments, buildings, facilities, and management. A reading literacy test was also given to the pupils. The test was based on items that were selected after a trial-testing programme had been completed.
The SACMEQ Data Collection Instruments include the following documents:
- SACMEQ Questionnaires - which are administered to pupils, teachers, and school heads.
- SACMEQ Tests - which are administered to pupils and teachers (covering reading mathematics, and HIV-AIDS knowledge).
- Other SACMEQ Data Collection Instruments - such as take-home pupil questionnaires, school context proformas, and within-school project management documents.
Once the instruments were returned to the main Ministry office they were checked to ensure that the correct number of pupil tests and questionnaires for pupils, teachers, and school heads were there. Each questionnaire was checked for completeness because there were not meant to be any missing data. A team of five data enterers had been trained by the NRC. One personal computer was available to be used full-time for the data entry. Three other computers could be used when available.
The Data Entry Manager (DEM) computer software developed at the IIEP (Schleicher, 1995) was used to manage the data entry. This software was adapted specifically for the entry of SACMEQ data. No problems were encountered in the installation and use of this software. The data entry took five weeks. All data were entered once and a sample of schools was taken for double entry. No major problems were encountered. The data were returned to the IIEP in two batches, the first in the first week of January 1996 and the second towards the end of January. The Mauritius NRC visited the IIEP in Paris in order to work with IIEP
specialists on data cleaning and data analysis. This work was completed during February 1996.
Director- Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)
International Institute for Educational Planning - UNESCO
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE OF THE SACMEQ DATA ARCHIVE
The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) Co-ordinating Centre (SCC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>) has produced a data archive containing all information collected for SACMEQ's first three educational policy research projects (SACMEQ I, SACMEQ II, and SACMEQ III). This archive is now available online on the SACMEQ website so as to give bona fide researchers and students online access to SACMEQ data and documents.
The SACMEQ data sets have been developed at great cost and with the application of stringent quality controls. It is being made available to eligible users because it has a great potential to contribute to educational policy development beyond what has already been achieved in this respect through the reports written by the National Research Co-ordinators (NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>s) and Deputy National Research Coordinators (NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>s). It is expected that many researchers and students will wish to use the Data Archive for research, publications, and/or training purposes.
The Terms and Conditions serve two purposes. Firstly, they provide interested applicants with guidelines on how to access this valuable information resource. Secondly, they are intended to safeguard against the danger of users being unaware of the complexities of the data collection process and consequently arriving at misinterpretations that could lead to incorrect conclusions.
2.0 How can the user gain such access?
In order to obtain SACMEQ Data Archive for any of the SACMEQ school systems, the applicant should follow these steps:
2.1 Read and Agree to these "Terms and Conditions for the Use of the SACMEQ Data Archive."
2.2 Complete an online application form.
3.0 What rules govern the use of the SACMEQ data archive?
3.1 The Data Archive is the outcome of expensive and time-consuming activities of the staff of the represented Ministries of Education spread over many years. For this reason, the SACMEQ Ministries of Education described in the Data Archive should:
3.1.1 be notified by the SACMEQ SCC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> of any request for data;
3.1.2 have an opportunity to review reports based on the data archive so as to correct any gross errors before they are published; and
3.1.3 satisfy themselves that the data have been used in such a manner that they contribute positively to the development of relevant education policies in relevant SACMEQ member countries.
3.2 It is the National Research Coordinators (NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>s) and Deputy National Research
Coordinators (DNRCs) who have spearheaded the collection and compilation of SACMEQ data. In acknowledgment of their efforts, the applicant(s) will be required to invite the relevant country's National Research Coordinator to participate in the study associated with the use of the data. Where an individual other than the NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> or DNRC is co-opted, the relevant NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> and DNRC shall be given the first right of refusal.
3.3 This provision does not apply in situations where the SACMEQ Data Archive is used purely for purposes of individual academic research by a student, and where the results are not intended for publication.
3.4 All relevant NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>s and DNRCs will be informed by the SCC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> about the recipients of the Data Archive.
3.5 SACMEQ provides the SACMEQ Data Archive to applicants on the basis of the intended use stated in the application. The applicant, therefore, should not use the data for any purpose other than the one stated in the application. Should the applicant(s) wish to use the data for a purpose other than that stated in the agreement, then he/she/they must first secure the written approval of SACMEQ before he/she/they proceed to do so.
3.6 SACMEQ data are provided for the sole and exclusive use of the applicant specified in the agreement. The successful applicant should, therefore, not share the SACMEQ Data Archive with, or pass it on to, any other unauthorized person(s).
3.7 The authorized user shall take responsibility for the safe custody of the SACMEQ Data Archive and also take reasonable steps to ensure that no unauthorized persons gain access to it.
3.8 The authorized user shall give due credit to SACMEQ for providing the Data Archive by providing written acknowledgement of this in any publication emanating from their use.
3.9 As the Data Archive remains the property of the SACMEQ, no other person(s), including the successful applicants or the member Ministry, shall re-distribute or offer for sale the SACMEQ Data Archive.
3.10 All reports based on the SACMEQ Data Archive have to secure the written approval of the SCC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> prior to the publication in order to confirm compliance to our terms and conditions, and also to ensure that there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the data.
3.11 Once authorization has been granted to access the archive, you will see a link on the website which will take you to the Data Archive.
3.12 All relevant NRC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops>s will be informed by the SCC <http://www.sacmeq.org/_legal/accept_new?destination=training-workshops> about the recipients of the SACMEQ Data Archive.
3.13 Full acknowledgement of the source of the data (including reference to the SACMEQ Data Archive) must be given whenever the data are used.
3.14 A copy of any published article or report based on the SACMEQ Data Archive must be provided free of charge to (a) the SACMEQ Co-ordinating Centre, and (b) the Ministry(ies) of Education from whose data the report has been generated.
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality. SACMEQ Project 1995-1998 [dataset]. Version 4. Harare: SACMEQ [producer], 2004. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO [distributor], 2004.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
Copyright, Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Policy
Director- Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality
International Institute for Educational Planning - UNESCO
International Institute for Educational Planning
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)