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 Education Achievement (Ross, 1991). These standards require sample estimates of important pupil population characteristics to be (a) adjusted by weighing procedures designed to remove the potential for bias that may arise from different probabilities of selection, and (b) have sampling errors for the main criterion variables 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).
The desired target population in Zimbabwe was all pupils at the Grade 6 level in 1995 at the tenth month of the school year who were attending registered government or nongovernment schools in the country. The numbers of pupils in the desired, excluded, and defined populations have been presented in Table 2.2 of the Survey Report, provided as external resources. All schools which had a Grade 6 enrolment of fewer than 20 pupils were excluded. Table 2.2 of the Survey Report indicates that Harare had the lowest number of excluded schools (5) and pupils (24). On the other hand, Matabeleland North had the highest number of excluded schools (77) and pupils (864).
The 304 excluded schools covered 6.7 percent of the desired target population of schools, but this represented only 3,327 pupils, which was just 1 .0 percent of the pupils in the desired target population. Sampling weights were applied to 'adjust' for missing data and also to ensure that the relative size of the defined target population across regions was accurately represented in the relative sizes of the weighted sample data across regions. From the defined population, a probability sample of schools (with probability proportional to the total enrolment in Grade 6 in each school) was drawn. Twenty schools were sampled from regions with more than 600 schools, while 15 schools were sampled from regions where the number of schools was below this figure. This resulted in a planned national sample of 150 schools and 3,000 pupils (see Table 2.3 of the Survey Report). The sample design was designed to provide 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.
Within selected schools, simple random sample of 20 pupils from all Grade 6 pupils was drawn. The figure of 20 pupils was chosen because, from practical experience, it was known that increasing the number of pupils within scl~ools 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.
At the first stage of sampling, 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 regions and also to account for the loss of student data due to absenteeism on the day of the data collection.
The response rates for the sample have been recorded in Table 2.3 of the Survey Report. Masvingo region achieved the lowest response rate of 84 percent, while Harare region achieved the highest response rate of 95 percent. Nationally, the percentage response rate for schools was 100 percent, while that of pupils was 90 percent. The non-responding pupils were those who were absent on the day of testing.
- Sampling weights were applied to ‘adjust’ for missing data and also to ensure that the relative size of the defined target population across regions was accurately represented in the relative sizes of the weighted sample data across regions.
- 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)
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.
Ministry of Education - Zimbabwe
The data entry exercise started at the beginning of January 1996. A separate room equipped with two personal computers and a laptop computer was set aside for this exercise. A data entry committee was set up, consisting of an overall supervisor, a technical officer and data entry clerks. The data entry committee started with the Pupil Booklet followed by the School Head and Teacher Questionnaires. By 30 January 1996 data entry was complete. The last instruments to be entered were the School Form and Student Name form, which in the rush to meet the SACMEQ deadlines had been forgotten until a timely reminder came for the IIEP. These forms were dealt with very quickly (four days) spread over the first two weeks of February. The total duration for the data entry exercise was, therefore, six weeks. 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 validation and cleaning procedures were undertaken by the technical team. The Audit Trail and Unique ID Check techniques were employed. The former technique was used to:
(a) check whether data for all the sampled schools had been entered, and
(b) check the accuracy of district codes.
The Unique ID Check procedure was used to ensure that only one record with the same pupil, teacher and school identification existed. The checks proceeded as follows:
(a) The variables ID SCHOOL and ID PUPIL were used to trace duplicate records in the pupil data file.
(b) The combination of ID SCHOOL and ID TEACH variables were employed to trace duplicate records in the teacher data file.
(c) The ID SCHOOL variable was solely used to trace duplicate records in the school’s data file.
All the cleaned data files were then forwarded to the IIEP for further processing.
From Table 2.3 of the Survey Report it may be seen that there were major data losses due to non response at the national level and in particular regions. At the national level, data were obtained from only around three quarters of the pupils selected into the sample. At the regional level, data loss due to non response was particularly high in Luapula, where around one third of the pupils did not respond.
The source of this non response was not completely clear from the field records submitted by the data collectors. In Luapula four of the 15 schools selected into the sample either refused to participate or were not visited by the data collectors. Further data loss occurred in Luapula because 10 percent of the pupils in the remaining 11 schools were absent on the day of testing. Major loss of data also occurred in other regions: Lusaka (30 percent loss), Western (30 percent loss), and Eastern (27 percent loss). These major levels of data loss were far larger than had been set down as part of the quality control standards for SACMEQ’s initial project. In the other four countries involved in the project, the response rate at the pupil level reached 90 percent or more.
It was beyond the scope of the survey report to conduct detailed analysis of the degree of bias that may have occurred in the Zambian data due to these high levels of non response. Therefore, the results presented in the ‘report must be treated with caution until further analytical work has been undertaken by the Planning Division of the Zambian Ministry of Education.
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)