Quality schooling : defining and developing indicators of quality schooling for South African schools. A case study of a secondary school in an economically deprived area of the Western Cape

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

If the main objective of schooling is the holistic development of the learner, i.e. the development of cognitive skills, critical thinking skills, social skills, life skills, creativity and emotional maturity, then it stands to reason that a quality school is one which contributes to such a holistic development of the learner. Therefore indicators of quality schooling would be those factors which make the holistic development of the learner possible. The important point to bear in mind however, is that these factors (indicators) in themselves are not standard nor static, they are dynamic and context-specific. It is this conceptual framework which underpins the research study. Tue research study is informed by the work of West and Hopkins (1996), Schmelkes (1996), Heneveld (1994) and Govinda & Vargese (1993), who propose a more ''whole school approach" in the measurement of school performance. The indicators of quality schooling were measured separately, but it is their collective impact that must be considered when attempting to assess the quality of schooling. Over a seven month period a co-educational secondary public school centrally situated in a community which resides in an economically and socially deprived area of the Western Cape, was closely observed and studied. The items and questions used in the questionnaires, interviews and observations were significantly influenced by the following: the work of West and Hopkins' (1996) four domains of school effectiveness; the IIEP research on increasing and improving the quality of basic education and Heneveld's (1994) model: Factors that determine School Effectiveness. The case study illustrates that when assessing the quality of schooling of any school it is important to assess all the factors that impact on the quality of schooling.

Bibliography: 129-134.