Intersen Catch Up Programme

The Intersen language programme for 2012 began with a “catch up programme” aimed at bridging the gap between the Foundation Phase, which is taught in home language, and the Intersen Phase, which is taught in English. Thus the programme and the tools developed to ascertain its effectiveness, were at a foundational level and were not, strictly speaking, grade appropriate.

In order to monitor the effectiveness of this catch-up programme, learner performance data was collected by all service providers both before and after the implementation of the catch-up programme.  This process was outsourced to Class Act, one of the GPLMS service providers.

Class Act developed an assessment tool for assessing learner performance. This tool was developed according to the format used in the Annual Nation Assessments (ANA). Two versions of the tool were developed – one for Grades 4 and 5, and one for Grades 6 and 7. Each assessment tool consisted of four sections: a spelling component; a language component; a comprehension component; and a writing component.

Teachers administered the tool to their classes, marked the scripts and recorded results per learner. Teachers were given assessment memoranda to guide their marking. Coaches from all service providers were required to review the completed mark sheets and follow up on discrepancies and missing data where needed.


A total of 2500 pre-test class assessments and 2261 post-test class assessments were captured. When matching on school, teacher, grade and class, a total of 1570 classes matched, representing a 69% match. This is a sufficient sample for analysis to take place.


Summary statistics are presented for the matched sample of 1570 classes.

Figure 1: Summary Pre-test and Post-test Percentages for All Matched Classes (N=1570)


The figure above shows the mean scores for all 1570 classes for Spelling, Language, Writing and Comprehension and Overall total, for both the pre-test and the post-test.

Figure 2: Summary Percentage Change for All Matched Classes (N=1570)


The figure above shows the mean change scores for all 1570 classes, measuring the increase in scores from pre-test to post-test.

The results show an increase from the pre-test to the post across all categories.

  • The average percentage change from pre-test to post-test is an increase of 15% on the Overall score;
  • The highest average percentage increase is for Spelling (17%), followed by Writing (16%), Comprehension (14%) and Language (13%).
  • The learners scored highest for Comprehension in the pre-test, followed by Spelling.
  • The highest score in the post-test was for Comprehension, followed by Spelling.
  • The learners scored lowest for Writing, both in the pre-test and the post-test.

So, this shows:

  • There is a steady increase observed across all four categories;
  • Comprehension is highest, followed by Spelling, and this is in both pre-test and post-test;
  • Although Writing increased, it is still the lowest score out of the four.
Analysis by Grade:

The figure below shows the mean scores on the Overall category, for Grades 4 to 7

Figure 3: Overall Pre-test and Post-test Percentages, Analysis by Grade (N=1570)


As can be seen, there is a steady increase of scores, from Grade 4 to Grade 7. There are evenly spread changes in scores from pre-test to post-test.

  • Spelling scores increased most for Grade 4, followed by Grade 5.
  • Scores increased from Grade 4 to Grade 7 for all components, though this is less marked for Language.
  • Post-test scores are highest for Comprehension followed by Spelling.
  • The average percentage change from pre-test to post-test is consistent, and about the same across grades, and between components.
  • Writing is particularly low for Grade 4.
Individual Learner Scores:

For each learner, a calculation was performed to assess whether the learner obtained a score of 50% or above on the post-test.

For analysis by grade:

  • A large percentage of Grade 7(76%) and Grade 6 (64%) learners scored 50% and above on overall score
  • Just over half (54%) of Grade 5 learners scored 50% and above.
  • A lower percentage of Grade 4 learners (40%) scored 50% and above.

These results are consistent with the findings in the main analysis section, where there are differences between grades, and there is a steady progression of scores across the grades.

Findings and Reflections

The analysis of the Intersen Catch Up programme data shows the following:

  • The programme has been a success in that there has been improvement in learner scores across all four categories – Spelling, Language, Writing and Comprehension.
    •Scores are highest for Comprehension at the time of the post-test, followed by Spelling.
    •Scores are lowest for Writing indicating this is still an area for much development.
  • Differences between grades are significant, with scores increasing between the grades. This makes sense that, given the type of assessment, higher grades would perform better.
    •Differences between grades are less marked for Language. This is marked as an area for much development.
  • Distributions are skewed towards levels one and two for most categories in the pre-test. This moves to a more normal distribution in the post-test. This means that the scores were low for most categories, and the catch up programme helped to move the scores towards a more normal distribution.
    •Writing post-test distribution is still slightly skewed to the second level. This means Writing scores are still low.
    •Comprehension post-test distribution starts to become slightly skewed to the third and fourth levels. This means Comprehension is slightly higher than the other categories.
  • The GPLMS approach of standardised lesson plans and standardised training is working successfully based on the results attained.