Capabilities for Learning to Read
An Investigation of Social and Economic Effects for Grade 6 Learners in Southern and East Africa
This paper considers what multilevel modeling approaches to analyzing large scale cross-national surveys of education quality can tell us about the capabilities that support primary school children in learning to read. The impact of pupil background characteristics on achievement in reading towards the end of the primary cycle in sub-Sahara Africa is investigated via an analysis of the second wave data collected by the Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) in six low-income countries and four lower-middle-income small states.
The findings on various pupil background, social and economic wealth-related factors associated with disadvantage/advantage are interpreted using a capability approach. Hence, the study goes beyond reiterating the well-known relationship between socio-economic status and equality with learning outcomes to identify what is it that primary schools pupils in East and Southern Africa can or cannot do that influences their acquisition of literacy.