This study explores the relative proportions of children who are at the right age for the grade and are either over-aged or under-aged, the poverty range and gender balance of each group, and their respective performance in literacy and numeracy. Using data from the national school effectiveness study, (NSES) the investigation follows a group of learners in Grade 3 in 2007, Grade 4 in 2008 and Grade 5 in 2009. The study provides new and important insights into progression in South African schools and more specifically in relation to the slow progress of learners through the grades, the performance of over-age learners and the socioeconomic and gender characteristics of such learners. The conclusions provide significant policy insights into how some of these features can be addressed focusing in particular on the role of pre-primary schooling and grade repetition.
N. Taylor, T. Mabogoane, J. Shindler, B. Akoobhai. Seeds of Their Struggle: The Features of Under- and Overage Enrolment Among Grade 4 Learners in South Africa. In: CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 47. (2010) 1-36. ISBN 0-901881-54-6