SACMEQ III Study Design

Quantitative Study
  • Overall approach to data collection
    • Paper-based assessment and paper-based survey
  • Specification
    • Cross-sectional
Target population


  • All pupils at Grade 6 level
  • Mainstream primary schools, excluding:
    • Special schools
    • Small schools
    • Unregistered primary schools
    • Hard-to-reach primary schools
Sample design

First stage: sampling schools

  • Stratification of regions
  • PPS
  • Random-start fixed-interval systematic sampling


Second stage: Sampling students

  • Random selection of pupils within the sampled school, conducted by the data collectors
  • Data collection for teachers, school heads, parents, and school characteristics
Sample size

Per country

  • School sample: 150-200 schools
  • Student Sample: about 4,000 pupils
  • Teacher Sample: about 500 teachers


In total

  • 2,779 schools
  • 61,396 students
  • 8,026 teachers
Data collection techniques and instruments

Student tests

  • Three areas; administered to pupils in their traditional test settings and timed:
    • 55-item reading test
    • 49-item mathematics test
    • 86-item HIV/AIDS knowledge (HAK) test


Teacher tests

  • Three areas; administered to teachers and timed:
    • 52-item reading test
    • 42-item mathematics test
    • 86-item HAK test



  • Administered to pupils, teachers, and school head
  • Taken home by pupils in order to obtain and verify information about their parents


School information booklets completed by school head/deputy


School forms completed by data collectors using information obtained from school documents

  • achievement test
  • documents
  • questionnaire

Administration of tests and questionnaires in three languages:

  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Portuguese
Translation procedures
  • Translation, by a team of experts, was from English into the other two languages; then back into English, by a second team of experts.
  • The translations were professionally checked for discrepancies, inconsistencies, distortions, etc.
  • Amendments were then made to produce the final versions.
Quality control of operations

Measures during data collection

  • Two trained data collectors were assigned to each sampled school to administer the data collection instruments.
  • The data collectors checked all completed questionnaires (learner, teacher, and school head) and, if necessary, obtained any missing or incomplete information on the second day, before leaving the school.
  • Tests were administered in controlled school settings.
  • Clarification of items in the instruments was provided to respondents when required.
  • Information about parents provided by students in the questionnaires was verified with the parents.


Measures during data processing and cleaning

  • The SACMEQ Coordinating Centre organized a training program for all national research teams (NRTs)
  • Data files were cleaned by the NRTs, emailed to the Coordinating Centre for checking, and then emailed back to the NRTs for further cleaning.