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 the study were selected so as to meet the standards set down by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (Ross, 1991). These standards required (a) a response rate of at least 90 percent for schools and, where necessary, sampling weights to be calculated to remove the potential for bias that may arise from different probabilities of selection, and (b) to have sampling errors that allow generalizations to be made from the sample to the total learner population with a 95 percent certainty of being correct within plus or minus 5 percent for a percentage, and one tenth of a
learner standard deviation unit for a mean.
The desired target population in Namibia was 'all learners at the Grade 6 level in 1995 at the eighth month of the school year who were attending government or registered private schools in the country'. The sample had to be selected early in 1995 at a stage when no information was available on 1995 enrolments. Schools were thus selected on the basis of their August 1994 Grade 6 enrolments. It was decided to exclude two very remote schools which were not typical (Oranjemund Private School and Gam Primary School), the Eluwa school for deaf and blind children, and schools which had fewer than 10 learners in Grade 6 in 1994. The schools with very low Grade 6 enrolment were excluded to avoid the complications of having to create groups of 20 learners by clustering several schools into 'pseudo schools'. The percentage of learners thus excluded was very small, while the number of excluded schools was 37 out of 708 schools; these schools accounted for only 0.7 percent of learners in the desired population. Schools were stratified by education region. A division into urban and rural would have required a subjective classification. There are relatively few private schools in Namibia, of which many are staffed by government, and hence the distinction between private and government schools was not made. The resultant numbers of schools and learners in each of the education regions have been given in Table 2.2 of the Survey Report provided as external resources.
From the defined population a probability sample of schools was drawn, with the probability being proportional to a school's 1994 enrolment in Grade 6. A minimum of 20 schools was chosen in each education region to ensure that the regional population mean scores would be estimated within +5 percent with a 95 percent probability. Sampling weights were applied in the final analysis to adjust the results in such a way as to adjust for different probabilities of selection which included adjustments for the different sizes of the regions. Corrections were also made for data missing as a result of, for example, absenteeism. The national sample
included 158 schools, of which two very large schools each represented a learner enrolment equivalent to two schools, thus bringing the number of 'schools' to 160.As already stated, the first stage of sampling involved selecting schools with a probability proportional to the number of learners who were members of the defined target population.To achieve this, a 'random start - constant interval' procedure (Ross, 1992) was applied. In one region, Rundu, there were schools with the number of Grade 6 learners exceeding the 'constant interval', and therefore each of these schools was randomly divided into smaller 'pseudo schools' before the commencement of the actual sampling.
Deviations from the Sample Design
In each school selected at the first stage of sampling, two Grade 6 classes were randomly selected with a probability proportional to the number of learners in each class if the school had more than one class, otherwise the single class was included in the sample. Out of each of these classes, 20 learners were randomly selected to avoid overcrowding during the test administration and because the accuracy of sampling does not increase significantly if more learners are tested. This procedure deviated from the technique applied by the other SACMEQ countries, which randomly selected 20 learners out of all Grade 6 learners in each selected
school. Namibia had chosen this procedure as it intended to undertake a multi-level analysis (the levels being learner, class, and school) and thus had to test a sufficient number of learners in each class represented in the sample. This, however, implied that where there were more than two classes in Grade 6 in a school, then the within-school variance might be either overestimated or underestimated because there was the possibility of streaming within schools. The planned sample size and the actual number of learners tested have been shown in Table 2.3.of the Survey Report provided as external resources. Between zero percent and 1.7 percent of the differences between planned and achieved learners can be ascribed to small schools in the sample, with less than 20 Grade 6 enrolments; the rest of the differences resulted from learner absenteeism on the day of testing.
Sampling weights were applied in the final analysis to adjust the results in such a way as to adjust for different probabilities of selection which included adjustments for the different sizes of the regions.
Dates of Data Collection (YYYY/MM/DD)
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.
Namibia Ministry of Education
The data were entered on the Ministry’s computer network using data entry routines that were developed for the purpose in Oracle Forms. Stringent valid-range checking was undertaken at the time of data entry. All data were entered twice by different data typists and disagreements were resolved by referring to the instruments. Particular attention was given to cross-checking identification codes with the learner and school forms to ensure that the correct teacher and school questionnaires could be linked to each learner. The learner forms had the dates of birth copied from class registers, which were considered to be a more reliable source than the learners’ statements. The dates of birth in the questionnaires were thus replaced by those on the learner forms, except when the dates were missing on the forms. Some information on the teacher and school principal forms was also available from the 1995 Annual Education Census which was conducted early in August 1995. Missing or inconsistent data were replaced from this source when required. Other missing data were only replaced for those data items where it was judged that it was justified to make assumptions in this respect.The Data Entry Manager (DEM) computer software developed at the IIEP (Schleicher, 1994) was used to generate code books, and the SPSS syntax to convert data into SPSS format. The DEM software was not used for data entry as it did not provide network data entry.
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)