Despite significant public and private investment in education each year, poor performance of learners in South African public schools remains an enormous challenge, which is well documented. Access to reliable and relevant evidence-based insights on the drivers of poor performance has been a major constraint to the improvement of learner outcomes. These insights are imperative for informing interventions to address key issues in the public school system, which educates nearly 12.5 million learners across more than 24 000 schools.
New Leaders Foundation (NLF) partnered with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to support the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to improve the way education data is collected and used to help learners succeed, resulting in the launch of the Data Driven Districts (DDD) Programme in 2013. The DDD Programme is a systemic intervention which aims to embed a data-driven decision-making culture into the education system. Central to the Programme is the DDD Dashboard, which is an intuitive web-based tool that collates and visualises learner performance information that schools capture on the South African School Administration and Management System (SA-SAMS) or third-party information systems. As of October 2018, the DDD Dashboard represented 11 million out of the 12.5 million learners and had over 4 400 repeat users – from principals to district directors.