Why do certain schools work and others struggle to produce quality learning outcomes? The National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) Schools that Work II – Lessons from the Ground report was initially presented during a Roundtable Discussion at the University of Pretoria on 11 July 2017. The report looked at 111 schools from across the system for an in-depth analysis into the inner workings of the top echelon of the South African Education system. To ensure that the 2017 sample was representative of the best schools in the system, all schools were first categorised by province and quintile, and were then ranked using set performance markers.
The Schools that Work II study findings will be presented in a series of condensed, accessible and easily digestible format in the form of policy briefs. These policy briefs will be published during the first semester of 2018. The purpose of these thematic briefs is to raise awareness of different issues; to provide clear takeaway messages from research findings; and to provide evidence-informed best practices and possible solutions to challenges that schools are generally grappling with.
By far, the most common characteristic of high-performing schools is the effective use of teaching time. The first policy brief focuses on Time-on-Task: Maximising student learning time and minimising downtime. The centrality of learning time lies in the fact that if it is not managed effectively, it has a negative impact on learner proficiency owing to reduced learning opportunities. Managing teaching time tightly to make every minute count is a prevalent practice in all high-performing schools or schools that work.
Policy briefs are available on https://www.education.gov.za/NEEDUPolicybriefsseries.aspx