The title of Tamar Kahn’s article of November 30, "Motshekga spins nation’s junk status in maths and science", misses the point of the recently released 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results (and, in a way, the essence of Kahn’s article). Moreover, Jonathan Jansen’s claim, in an opinion piece of December 9, that TIMSS is a waste of money for South Africa, seems irresponsible. The improvement seen in our Grade 9 TIMSS results is not a peripheral matter or mere spin. It is the headline. Educational improvement is arguably the best guarantee possible that over the longer term we will move towards a less unequal, less poverty-stricken South Africa. Our improvement has been substantial. Brazil, cited by many as the most remarkable improver in recent years, increased its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) average score by 0.04 standard deviations a year between 2003 and 2012. Our TIMSS improvement between 2002 and 2015 has been 0.08 ...
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