PMET’s approach to research and development

PMET works within an action reflection framework to support the Department of Basic Education by developing cost effective models for implementing existing school leadership, curriculum management and curriculum implementation policies in under-resourced and under-performing

It does this through balancing quantitative and qualitative research on the one hand; with capacity building through participatory development on the other as outlined below.

Quantitative Research


Baseline Studies

PMET conducts two baseline studies in each partner school prior to commencing any support interventions as follows:

  • School functionality baseline study & diagnostic report
  • Learner results baseline study & diagnostic report


These studies adopt a purposive sampling approach to determine the support that a school needs in order to meaningfully fulfil the DBE’s policy requirements for:

  • School leadership and management
  • General school functioning
  • Curriculum management
  • Teaching and assessment across the curriculum
  • Learner competencies in mathematics and reading to learn across the curriculum in Grades 3, 6 & 9


Longitudinal Impact Studies

In each of the following 3 – 5 years of the programme, the impact of the support interventions (discussed below) is monitored through:

  • Quarterly progress reports to the district
  • Annual School functionality reviews & diagnostic reports
  • Annual learner assessments in maths and reading to learn across the curriculum & diagnostic reports as follows:
    • Year 1: Grades 3, 6 & 9
    • Year 2: Grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 & 10
    • Years 3 - 5: Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11


Qualitative Research


Participatory Action Reflection

PMET adopts a participatory action reflection approach which is:

  • Informed by a constructivist-interpretive paradigm
  • Aligned with the principles underpinning the DBE’s policy frameworks


The approach involves ongoing cycles of formal and informal site-based monitoring, observation and reflection of the following ‘in action’:

  • School leadership and management
  • School functionality
  • Curriculum management    
  • Teaching, learning and assessment across the curriculum


Capacity Building Through Participatory Development


PMET draws on its ongoing quantitative and qualitative research to inform

its capacity building programme which includes:

  • Partnering with districts and schools through agreements that specify roles and responsibilities and hold partners accountable to each other for specified actions
  • Collaboratively developing a 3 – 5 year school support programme for each school aimed at enabling schools to achieve their core purpose of delivering quality teaching and learning through implementing the learning-centred, participatory, problem-solving approach to school leadership; curriculum management and teaching and learning embodied in current DBE policies
  • Developing capacity and independent agency within schools and districts to enable programme implementation through ongoing, needs-driven, support oriented, site-based, ‘action research’ cycles involving on-the-job practical training, modelling, mentoring, coaching, monitoring, feedback and reflection
  • Developing successful school support and development models that can be replicated in other under-resourced schools
Learners engaging