Education research: Maths in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, part 3

29 October 2015

Ok, we are finally going to look at the maths numbers in the Diepsloot schools. Just keep in mind a couple of ideas and assumptions:

– We’re looking only at Mathematics, and not at Maths Literacy. You’ll notice that only 168 student wrote maths out of 391 students that ended up writing matric in the area (or about 43 per cent of all students)

– We are using results in Mathematics as a proxy for eligibility for certain streams of tertiary education. We’re looking for the type of matriculants who would be suitable for B. Com. and B. Sc. degrees, although this is just a initial, rough stratification

– We’ll look at the number and percentage of students that passed with 30 per cent or more. We’ll also look at the number and percentage of students that passed with 50, 60 and 70 per cent or more

– We’ll use ’70 per cent or more’ as the criterion for eligible students in tertiary education. I actually used the official Wits recommended marks for entry into an undergraduate degree in engineering and the built environment. You can find the link here

– Between the 30 per cent minimum subject pass and the target of 70 per cent there will be a number of students who do well enough to be admitted into technical colleges and other forms of tertiary education. We’ll assume that a mark between 50 per cent and 70 per cent is good enough to keep the door open to higher education.

The table below gives the number of students, per testing station, that wrote Mathematics in 2014. We’re able to disaggregate the data right down to pass rate deciles (ranges of ten percentage points):

Matric 2014 Mathematics results in Diepsloot

Matric 2014 Mathematics results in Diepsloot

We can see that out of 168 students who wrote Mathematics in Diepsloot only 27 achieved 50 per cent or more, only 17 achieved 60 per cent or more, and only 7 achieved 70 per cent or more.

In other words, about 2 per cent of the students who wrote matric in 2014 did well enough in Mathematics to consider a B. Com. or B. Sc. degree – maybe 4 per cent if we admit students with a mark of 60 per cent or better.

The next table and graph will look at the percentage of students that achieved a minimum mark in Mathematics:

Matric mathematics results - percentage of students with a minimum mark

Matric mathematics results – percentage of students with a minimum mark

You can see that only 48 per cent of students scored above the minimum threshold of 30 per cent. Only one in six students scored above 50 per cent, only one in ten students got above 60 per cent and just one in 25 students scored above 70 per cent.

The graph below shows the percentages for each school:

Diepsloot maths results, by school

Diepsloot maths results, by school

The LEAP Science and Maths School does best overall, but the other two independent schools fare worst, with no students scoring above 50 per cent in either school.

That concludes our initial analysis. Please let me know your ideas and comments.


5 thoughts on “Education research: Maths in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, part 3

  1. Alison Gasparini

    This data is frightening, Paul. What is the solution? Si is writing Mathematics tomorrow, and is really worried, and trust me, he has studied – a lot, and he has an excellent teacher.

    1. Admin Post author

      Hi Ali

      I think the solution is a combination of the public sector pulling up its socks and the private sector coming to the party (through targeted support of schools and/or deserving matriculants). Our tool has already seen interest from clients who make social-corporate investments in specific areas and communities.

      In the case of the independent / private schools, all three in Diepsloot have websites and contact details, so it is possible to interact with them directly:

      LEAP schools:

      Thanks for your interest and concern – and good luck to Si.


    1. Admin Post author


      You are most welcome. We’ve now got the information and tools to do this kind of analysis, which hopefully will get us closer as a country to the right solutions for secondary education.

  2. Pingback: [MAP MONDAY] The state of maths education in Diepsloot visualised -

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