Achievement in Mathematics: Comparative Analysis from East Africa
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Against a perception that results in mathematics are low, this chapter examines available data on achievement across the region, including two datasets based on surveys in the primary sector—Uwezo and SACMEQ—and O levels and equivalent. Common themes which emerged were wide variations across countries and within countries, with youngsters from urban areas performing more highly than rural. Whilst most surveys showed girls performing less well than girls, this was not uniformly the case. Unclear trends need to be put into the context of increased enrollment in the secondary sector. Where examiners’ reports were available, common issues which arose were lack of use of the methods required and engaging with multi-step problems expressed in words, consistent with problems in using English as a medium. No indication in the reports reviewed was given of problems with the questions themselves, despite a number of mistakes being uncovered. In working towards harmonization, a review is needed as to how assessment systems can most effectively support high quality learning in the region.
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