n Africa Education Review - Three years of a literacy development project in South Africa : an outcomes evaluation




The article describes an evaluation, over three years, of a Concentrated Language Encounter literacy development project in the Western Cape region of South Africa. At the end of 2003 the project had involved 262 disadvantaged schools, with 2 749 classroom teachers trained in the programme methodology over four geographically different districts of the Western Cape. Data were gathered from Grades 1 to 7 in four randomly selected experimental schools and four matching control schools over the four districts. Four learner performance measures applicable at different grade levels, and appropriate to regional linguistic and cultural constraints, and one parent questionnaire were used. <BR>Statistically significant differences were found on all four performance measures for the main (condition) effect. These results are generally supported by interim results for 2001 and 2002, as well as by qualitative analysis of teacher feedback. Given a baseline assessment at the beginning of 2001, showing initial non-significant differences between experimental and control schools (Grades 1-7 ) on all measures, the results indicate that the Concentrated Language Encounter programme is having a significant and sustained impact on student performance. A marginal, but significant, difference in parental support of reading development was also demonstrated, despite no direct parent intervention of the programme in this area.


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