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Date published August 16, 2020

Category :


1. Introduction

This is a call for services of agencies/individuals to evaluate the South African Mathematics
Challenge (SAMC) organised by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF). The
SAMC aims to create awareness and interest in the importance of mathematics as a subject
and to improve learner performance in the SAMC and school mathematics. Interested
applicants must submit their proposals to the Zenex Foundation by 30 August 2020.This
document sets out the details of the evaluation assignment.

2. Background

The SAMC is a well-established national competition for Grades 4-7 learners. The SAMC is
not an end in itself, but is intended as a vehicle to enhance the quality of the teaching and
learning of mathematics. More specifically, the SAMC objectives:

  • to generate an interest in mathematics (to popularise mathematics);
  • to promote a broader perspective on the nature of mathematical activity, including that
    mathematical activity consists of more than simple calculations;
  • to promote problem solving in mathematics education;
  • to promote the perspective that the calculator is a useful and necessary tool in
    mathematical activity but that a calculator cannot solve problems for learners;
  • to emphasise the importance of reading in mathematical activity;
  • to provide a diagnostic tool to enable teachers to identify learners’ misconceptions;
  • to develop and disseminate materials that may contribute to meaningful mathematical
    activity in classrooms
  • to identify, nurture and develop learners with mathematical talent

The First Round is written at schools in March. The papers are distributed only by e-mail to
schools through AMESA’s Regional Organisers or SAMF. Schools make copies of the papers
for their learners. The paper is an hour long and consists of 20 multiple choice questions.
Given the aims and nature of the SAMC, we encourage schools to let all learners participate
in the First Round. There are two categories of participation in each grade: “Brighter” learners
may prefer to participate as individuals (singles), whilst others may prefer to work in pairs
(doubles). Teachers mark the answers themselves from the memorandum we provide or the
class may mark it during a class discussion.

The Second Round is for learners who achieved 50% or more in the First Round written at
participating schools in May. The paper is an hour long and consists of 20 multiple choice
questions. This round learners only write as singles. The papers and answer sheets are
couriered to the participating schools. The answer sheets are marked by computer.

The approximately top 108 learners per grade nationally (thus 432 learners in total) qualify for
the Final Round in July. The papers will be written at centralised venues after a workshop
for the contestants and their teachers. Learners again write as Singles. The paper consists of
15 questions weighted differently. There are two divisions, namely Junior (grades 4 and 5)
and Senior (grades 6 and 7).

After the Final Round the best 10 learners per division will be selected and will receive their
prizes at an award function.

The problems in a mathematics competition are more demanding and stimulating than the
routine exercises of the classroom, giving promising young mathematicians opportunities to
expand their horizons and show their potential. It is expected that exposure to the SAMC will
create an interest in Mathematics and as a result more learners will choose Mathematics as
subject from Grade 10. This aspect is important since Mathematics forms the basis for many
of the desired skill career paths. Investment in grass-root skills development contributes to
societal growth which is vital for our country’s economic growth. We have to empower learners
to become independent, creative and critical thinkers in order to interpret and critically analyze
everyday situations and to solve problems and develop future leaders and influencers in the
science, engineering, technology, economic, financial and management sciences space.

3. Evaluation

This evaluation seeks to answer the following:

  • Why do learners participate in the SAMC?
  • What kind of learners participate in SAMC ?
  • What are the psychological and academic benefits for learners who participate in

    • Have the learners who participated in the SAMC performed better
      academically than learners who have not participated in the SAMC?
  • Why do teachers encourage participation?
  • Which schools participate?
    • Are the same schools participating annually? If yes, is it mostly the more
      advantaged schools (quintile 4/5 public and private schools)?
    • Which schools have only entered once over the past 3 years?
  • Is the current organisation of SAMC optimal in meetings its objectives?

3.1 Evaluation Approach

The bidder must submit appropriate design and methodology approaches to answer the
questions stated above. However, it is recommended that the following be included in the
evaluation scoping:

  • An inception meeting to clarify the brief and agree on the design and methods.

3.2 Scope

  • The evaluation will be conducted in 2020.
  • National footprint.
  • Grades 4 to 7.
  • Target groups: learners
  • Utilisation of existing SAMC data.
  • Indicative budget of R150 000.00

4. Proposal Submission Process


Date 30 August 2020
Submission of proposals

  • A brief outline of how you understand the task
  • An outline of the evaluation design and evaluation
    logic. This includes outlining a process,
    methodology, data collection strategy, instruments
    and data analysis.
  • Specifying ethical requirements
  • A detailed plan and budget.
  • Times line with key deliverables
  • Experience and expertise of the organisation and
    team that will undertake the evaluation.
  • List of team members. This includes CVS of the team
  • leader and researchers/evaluators
  • BEEE status


Date 10 September 2020
Applicants to participate in interview process

5. Competencies

An appropriate mix of expertise is required in a team that comprises:

  • High level capability in strategy and education programme design.
  • Strategic and Technical capability in evaluation design and implementation.
  • Knowledge and experience of the South African schooling sector.
  • Experience in leading reviews/evaluations.
  • Appropriate operations management expertise.
  • Demonstrated Project Management capacity.
  • Demonstrated research and evaluation skills in undertaking project research and
    evaluation involving donors, government, NGO’s
  • A diverse team in terms of race and gender.

6. Criteria Weighting on submission of the proposal

  • Profile and experience of the team 25%
  • Approach to the task 35%
  • Organizational capacity 20%
  • Price 20%

7. Deliverables

The final evaluation design and plan will inform the nature and timing of reports. This is to be
negotiated as part of contracting process. Budget schedules will also be negotiated before
signing the contract. However, you will be required to provide the following:

  • Final evaluation design
  • A project Plan
  • Baseline report
  • Progress reports
  • Final report, including Summary of final report
  • Presentation to key stakeholders

8. Contact Person for Queries and Submission

Queries and Proposals must be emailed to:

Sam Rametse: sam@zenexfoundation.org.za
011 481 7818
083 390 3770

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