Research & Development Programme

Qualifying criteria for research projects in the Programme include the requirement that products must make an original and distinctive contribution to the understanding of factors that impact on learner performance in Mathematics, Science and Language education. Development products must equally be new and likely to contribute to the success of interventions in the field of Mathematics, Science and Language.

In recent years a more targeted approach to research has been adopted, with 70% of projects now focused on Foundation Phase Literacy and Numeracy because of their strategic importance in improving the teaching and learning of Mathematics, Science and Language in South African schools.

The Foundation also prioritises research into teacher development as it is also such a critically important change lever in the system. There is widespread acknowledgement – supported by extensive academic literature – that teacher quality is an important determinant of learner achievement.

The balance of Foundation-funded research programmes are now commissioned to focus on other phases of the school system, with a specific focus on Mathematics, Science and Language.

The following is a list of current and recent projects allocated to the Research & Development Programme:

The study was initiated to implement and evaluate three models of support to determine what model/s could improve the acquisition of literacy skills among learners and at what cost. Specifically, the study was designed to test interventions that could be implemented at scale.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is concerned with the huge level of disparity within the state school sector, believing that equal access to resources and quality education remains elusive in an environment where the disparity between state schools remains great and is growing. Of equal significance is the lack of ‘social cohesion’ among schools i.e. ensuring that schools collaborate towards the shared goal of improved cultural awareness through, for example, exposure to different cultures and experiences.

The Differentiated Academic Support intervention seeks to contribute to the strategic objectives and outcomes of the Learner Development Programme by providing targeted academic support to learners and introducing teachers to differentiated instruction. 

This research project focuses on improving teaching practice in the area of learner assessment. Specifically, it will assist teachers to use assessment to improve learner performance. The project will work with 240 Grade 2 teachers across 160 schools (80 interventions schools and 80 control schools) in the Soshanguve and Atteridgeville districts of Gauteng. 

the Foundation commissioned a landscape review with the aim of collecting evidence about Mathematics intervention programmes in South Africa. The purpose was to seek insight into the areas of greatest need in terms of phases, inputs and beneficiaries. In particular, the Foundation sought to better understand the concentration of interventions by type; phase; geographic location; content areas and by target.

The project supports the development of User Requirements Specifications for the upgrade of the DBE’s management information system.

This project is focused on the development of Vula Bula African Language Readers in eight South African languages by Molteno. The project also supports the reengineering of Molteno as they implement the Open Education Resources Model.

This project focused on understanding the underlying causes of poor performance in Foundation Phase numeracy and literacy. The research methodology involved analysing the various large national datasets that are available.

This project included a literature review on various teacher induction models, and made proposals for how induction could be implemented in South Africa. The project also proposed a costing model for induction.

This project was designed to build knowledge, tools and practices for the teaching and learning of Foundation Phase Mathematics in four languages. More specifically, the initiative produced a standardised test to assess Grade 1 pre-numeracy readiness.