SACMEQ IV 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
    • Probabilities proportional to the size of the school (PPS)
    • Random-start fixed-interval systematic sampling
  • Second stage: Sampling students
    • Random selection of pupils within the sampled school
Sample size
  • Intended sample size, per country:
    • School sample: 25–310 schools
    • Student sample: 1,300–7,600 pupils
    • Teacher sample: 100–700 teachers


  • Total sample size achieved:
    • 62,218 pupils
    • 6,667 teachers
    • 2,507 schools’ heads
Data collection techniques and instruments


  • Day 1
    • Pupil Homework Questionnaire (part of the pupil questionnaire was taken home by pupils in order to obtain and verify information from their parents)
    • HIV-AIDS knowledge (HAK) test
    • Reading test
  • Day 2
    • Mathematics test
    • Filling in questionnaires



  • Tests in three areas administered to teachers and timed:
    • Reading test
    • Mathematics test
    • HAK test
  • Questionnaire


School Heads

  • Questionnaire
  • School information booklets completed by school head/deputy
  • School form



  • Pupil Name Forms completed by data collectors using information obtained from school documents
  • Inspecting, counting, and recording physical school infrastructures


All instruments were implemented as pencil and paper versions.


  • achievement or student test
  • documents
  • questionnaire
  • others

Administration of tests and questionnaires in official instruction languages:

  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Portuguese
  • Others
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

  • Three trained data collectors were assigned to the sampled schools 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 SEACMEQ 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.