The authors use NIDS wave 1 data to analyse the transitions of students through primary and secondary school. Special attention is given to the links between grade repetition and overall attainment, and how these outcomes correlate with school quality, household income and parental education. We estimate summary statistics and linear probability models. We observe large increases in attainment among younger cohorts relative to older cohorts. Racial differences in attainment are smaller in younger cohorts than in older ones. However, grade repetition continues to be correlated with race and income. Africans spend about 1 year longer in school, but attain about 1 year less schooling than their white counterparts. Controlling for school fees, which proxy for school quality, reduces the racial differences considerably.