Study: Western Cape top-performing province in Mathematics and Science

According to the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results, the Western Cape is South Africa’s top-performing province in Mathematics and Science.

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) conducts the study every four years with a nationally-representative sample of Grade 5 and Grade 9 learners.


For Grade 5 learners, the Western Cape was the best performing province in South Africa in both Mathematics and Science. 

“Our province achieved a score of 441 for Mathematics, 67 points above the national average and 31 points above Gauteng in second place. For Science, the score was 415, which is an incredible 91 points above the national average and 36 points above Gauteng,” said Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schäfer. 

“Grade 9 Western Cape learners also performed the best in the country. For Mathematics, we achieved a score of 441 (52 points higher than national average and 20 points clear of Gauteng), while in Science we scored 439 (69 points higher than national average and 17 points above Gauteng),” she added. 


In the 2019 round, the Western Cape joined six other cities and regional entities across the world (including Gauteng) as benchmarking participants at the Grade 9 level. 

“This allows our results to be ranked separately in addition to the national result, in order to have a more accurate measurement of achievement. This requires a much larger sample of schools, and 150 of our schools participated in the round,” said Schäfer. 

“As a result, the Western Cape ranks eight places higher than South Africa as a whole on the international ranking for Mathematics and six places ahead for Science. The HSRC will further unpack the provincial results in detail at our provincial presentation on Friday 11 December 2020,” said Schäfer. 

Schäfer said the most pleasing result is the increase in Grade 9 scores since the 2011 round where it achieved a 37-point increase in Mathematics and an 18-point increase in Science. 

“This is a testament to the excellent work that the Department and our schools have done to continuously improve education standards across the province. We now set our sights on achieving the TIMSS centre point score of 500. I have no doubt that the incredible officials, school staff and learners across our province can achieve this,” added Schäfer. 


Presh JM Reporter

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