Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality 1995
Socio-Economic/Monitoring Survey [hh/sems]
The origins of the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) date back to 1991, the year when several Ministries of Education in Eastern and Southern Africa started working closely with UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) on the implementation of integrated educational policy research and training programmes.
In 1995 these Ministries of Education formalized their collaboration by establishing a network that is widely known as SACMEQ. Fifteen Ministries are now members of SACMEQ: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania (Mainland), Tanzania (Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) undertook three large-scale, cross-national studies of the quality of education: SACMEQ I (1995-1999, reading) with seven ministries; SACMEQ II (2000-2004, reading and mathematics) with 14 ministries; and SACMEQ III (2006-2010, reading, mathematics, and HIV and AIDS knowledge) with 15 ministries.
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.
Data was collected on pupils’ home backgrounds and their school life; classrooms, teaching practices, teachers' working conditions, and teacher housing; enrolments, school buildings and facilities, and school management.
basic skills education [6.1]
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province, and in some cases, metropolitan area.
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
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 Zanzibar was 'all pupils in Standard 6 in 1995 in the ninth month of the school year who were attending registered government or nongovernmental schools in the country'. The numbers of pupils in the desired, excluded, and defined population have been presented in Table 2.2 of the Survey Report provided as external resources.
There were 11 'small' schools excluded from the desired target population. These schools were excluded because they did not have more than 10 pupils in Standard 6. This resulted in 104 pupils being excluded out of 11,712 Standard 6 pupils. One other school in North Unguja region was excluded because it was a new school and the staff and pupils had not settled into a normal school routine. Within each selected school, a simple random sample of 20 pupils was selected from among all Standard 6 pupils. The figure of 20 pupils was determined by the SACMEQ NRCs because conditions in many schools would not permit a valid administration of the reading test if more than 20 pupils per school were involved.
The response rate for schools was 100 percent and the rate for pupils was 89.2 percent. The non-responding pupils were those who were absent on the day of testing. This absenteeism amounted to around 10 percent, which was higher than expected. However, it should be noted that the testing took place in a holiday period when the Ministry had opened the schools for the purpose of testing. This may well account for the high rate of absenteeism.
All schools in the defined target population were also included in the achieved sample. The sampling within each school was undertaken by using simple random sampling. As a result the sample design for Zanzibar could be viewed as a stratified simple random sample in which each school formed a separate stratum. Sampling weights were therefore calculated using the standard weighting formula for stratified simple random sampling.
After drawing the sample of 20 pupils per school, sampling weights were used to adjust for the disproportionate allocation of the sample across the districts and also to account for the loss of student data due to absenteeism on the day of the data collection.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Zanzibar technical committee proposed two categories of people responsible for the data collection. The first category consisted of education officers, who were to carry out the actual data collection. The second category consisted of Ministry officials, who supervised and facilitated the smooth running of data collection and the return of data collection instruments to the Ministry.Before the field work commenced, training sessions were conducted. The first session was for the supervisory group and those who assisted in the training. Due to geographical location, the training sessions were conducted on two islands: Unguja Island and Pemba Island.
The survey required school heads to undertake some homework before the questionnaires were administered in order to answer some of the questions. Letters were therefore sent to each school head one week in advance of the data collection so that there would be enough time for this preparatory work. Further, the data collectors visited the schools a day early in order to undertake the sampling of the 20 pupils and to arrange for the testing room.
Each data collector was given 20 pupil booklets, (plus two spares) and one or more Teacher Questionnaires, depending on the number of teachers teaching Kiswahili at Standard 6 level in the particular school. Each data collector was also given one School Head Questionnaire. Because of the election preparation in which some school heads were involved, the assistant school heads filled in the questionnaire for some of the schools. All completed questionnaires were returned to the head office of the Ministry on the same day. The conduct of the study went according to plan. However, as expected, some data collectors were more thorough than others. The plan of having supervisors did help in clarifying some mistakes, by solving problems on the spot. Data collectors were asked to write a brief report on the fieldwork.
Ministry of Education - Tanzania
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 data-collection instruments were returned to the Ministry they were checked to ensure that the instruments for each pupil, each teacher, and each school head were there. Each questionnaire was checked for completeness because it was intended that there should not be any missing data. A team of 10 data-entry staff had been trained by the National Research Co-ordinator. One personal computer was available to be used full-time for each data entry clerk. 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 and no problems were encountered in the installation and use of this software. The data entry took four weeks. All data were entered once and a sample of schools was taken for double entry. No major problems were encountered but in some schools, the data collector had mixed up identification codes and these had to be corrected. After the first stage of data cleaning, the data were returned to IIEP in January, 1996.
Detailed information on data building and management is available in the 'Data Building and Data Management' document available as external resources.
Estimates of Sampling Error
An inspection of the sampling weights showed that they did not vary greatly in size. In addition, the sample represented around 20 percent of the defined target population and hence the finite population correction was relatively large compared with other countries. These two features of the sample design resulted in the conclusion that the sampling error for each sample estimate could be approximated by using standard formulae for simple random sampling.
Director- Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)
International Institute for Educational Planning - UNESCO
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)
Before being granted access to the dataset, all users have to formally agree:
1. To make no copies of any files or portions of files to which s/he is granted access except those authorized by the data depositor.
2. Not to use any technique in an attempt to learn the identity of any person, establishment, or sampling unit not identified on public use data files.
3. To hold in strictest confidence the identification of any establishment or individual that may be inadvertently revealed in any documents or discussion, or analysis. Such inadvertent identification revealed in her/his analysis will be immediately brought to the attention of the data depositor.
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