Determinants of Primary Students’ Attainment in Africa

Research using data on 17,000 grade six learners and their teachers in a thousand primary schools across six countries in East and Southern Africa has identified factors both in and out of school affecting pupil scores in reading and maths tests.

Key findings:

  • In and out of school factors not only directly affect the scores of some children but have a ‘neighbourhood’ effect—pupils in the same school not directly affected are also disadvantaged. Targeting areas and schools most affected by this issue is critical.
  • Basic learning resources matter. Lack of these is a very real barrier to learning for many children. This is not difficult or expensive to solve but tends to get overlooked.
  • School leaders have a key role in addressing many factors affecting pupil attainment. Investment in school leadership and support for school-level innovation is key.

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