External whole school evaluation of underperforming secondary schools in Mpumalanga province
Mathaba, Richard Siphamandla Ryan
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The study is based in the Mpumalanga Province and focused on a sample of 18 externally evaluated underperforming secondary schools across all four districts of the province. The schools obtained less than 30% average pass rate of learners in the 2011 Grade 12 examinations. The main objectives of the study were to analyse the purpose of Whole School Evaluation (WSE) from a quality assurance perspective, investigate the significance of a key component of WSE, namely, teaching, learning and educator development, analyse the Grade 12 results of externally evaluated underperforming secondary schools prior and post evaluation, analyse monitoring and evaluation reports for changes in teaching, learning and teacher development, as well as identify factors impeding teaching, learning and teacher development in underperforming secondary schools. The mixed methods approach was used. This approach made it easy to reconcile findings through triangulation and complementing qualitative and quantitative data (both primary and secondary).This study relied on secondary data (WSE external evaluation reports and Grade 12 results), as well as primary data obtained from questionnaires administered to school management teams (SMTs) of the sampled underperforming secondary schools. The study exposed the great level of acceptance of the external WSE process by SMTs in Mpumalanga Province underperforming secondary schools, as a means of quality assurance towards improvement. Furthermore, it revealed the extent to which improvement and development of schools in the underperforming schools as a result of the external WSE process. The study also indicated that the results of seventeen of the eighteen schools (94.4%) improved. Furthermore, the study confirmed that what was revealed in the external WSE as areas for development became a revelation to SMTs. As a result, the manner in which teaching, learning and teacher development (AFE4) as a key component of WSE is viewed by teachers and SMTs, has been positively influenced. The study produced new knowledge through the development of a theoretical model. This model is based on the view that effective external WSE process, as a dependent variable, is significantly influenced by predictor (independent) variables. The predictor (independent) variables are planning for teaching; teaching strategies; assessment of learners; teacher development; and management of teaching and learning processes (curriculum management). This emerging theoretical model is based on the belief that, the more one increases independent variables (they can be from any of the nine AFEs’ criteria), the more the dependent variable (effectiveness of external WSE process) is strengthened.