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Earth Institute Research Projects

Real-time Access and Utilization of Children’s Learning Data in the Tamale region of Northern Ghana.

Lead PI: Radhika Iyengar

Unit Affiliation: Earth Clinic (EC)

July 2012 - August 2014
Inactive
Africa ; Sub-Saharan Africa ; Ghana
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Using technology for large-scale recording and analyzing test scores with immediate report card generation and dissemination in the communities will improve data utilization to carry-out large–scale assessments of learning levels of children in schools or community. The study will showcase how low-cost technology combined with educational testing could help in large-scale community mobilization, improving accountability measures, plan remediation and improving learning levels. The information will be distributed through the local authorities, education outreach agents and school administrators.

OUTCOMES: The study finds that for both the grades combined, the drop in the children who cannot read (categorized as ‘nothing’ or ‘letters’)in the treatment classes are much higher in the treatment group as compared to the control group. The drop for the control group from baseline (91%)to end line (82%) is 9%, whereas the drop for the treatment group from baseline (96%) to end line(66%) is 30%.This drop is reflected in a much higher percentage of children in the“canread1”category for the treatment group (34% at end line) as compared to the control group (18%).
The study also included classroom observations by GES, MVP, and head teachers as a part of the qualitative data. This data was used to provide corrective feedback to teachers throughout the study by the MVP and GES teams. It also helped the MVP team to plan their teacher trainings. Through these observations, we learned that providing teachers with the idea of “starting from the basics” to improve English language skills is not enough. They needed specific lesson plans that detailed the specific scope and sequence for content to teach. Another challenge was teachers’ own knowledge of correct English letter sounds and word pronunciation. Knowledge of English (both teachers and students) was severely limited, as Twi was still the main medium of instruction in an English class. Students lacked materials that were appropriate to their reading level to practice with. The official textbooks approved by the Ghana Education Service were of a higher difficulty level than where the children were able to read. Students spent too much time copying from the board, a difficult practice to break. Students repeated in unison many times, with teachers not able to notice the children who simply followed other children without gaining any knowledge. In addition, teachers did not make smaller groups based on the learning levels of the children, but still took the “whole class” approach.

SPONSOR:

Earth Institute

FUNDED AMOUNT:

$19,950

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY COLLABORATORS:

Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development (CGSD)

KEYWORDS

education report card generation urbanization learning level community mobilization