In this article school characteristics linked with educational effectiveness in 14 sub-Saharan African countries are identified. Effectiveness has been defined in terms of students' literacy achievement at the end of Grade 6, after taking their social and academic backgrounds into account. The data used are from the second major educational policy research study conducted by the 14 countries that constitute the Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality study (SACMEQ). This study, known as the SACMEQ II Project, collected questionnaire and test survey data from around 42,000 students in 2,300 schools in the 14 countries. Information about schools was obtained from questionnaires administered to teachers and principals. The multilevel methods (HLM) we used are appropriate for such analyses and the SACMEQ II nested data design. Schools are differentiated in terms of their social compositions, contexts, and resources (physical and human). Though student achievement is strongly associated with students' social and academic background in all SACMEQ countries, school effects vary across countries. Evident is a pattern of higher achievement in urban schools, with more resources and higher-quality teachers; achievement is typically lower in large schools and those that offer education in "shifts." Policy implications are emphasized.
Literacy and reading
Studies of achievement