Formative and Classroom Observation Apps' Role in Improving Teaching and Learning [CIES 2023 Presentation]

USAID funded “Okuu Keremet!” is a project (5 years, $19M) designed to help improve learning outcomes in reading and math among 300,000 students in grades 1-4 in 1,686 target schools in the Kyrgyz Republic. As part of its efforts to improve learner performance, the project supported development of two user-friendly applications in four languages (Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek and Tajik). These apps are SabakApp (classroom observation), and BaalooApp (formative assessment), each described below. These apps represent cutting-edge and innovative solutions to challenges that teachers in the Kyrgyz Republic face in classrooms and will play a critical role when it comes to providing teachers with real-time feedback on their teaching strategies as well as instant access to knowledge, best practices, and advice that teachers currently do not have. Regular use of these applications will allow primary school teachers to implement tailored and effective teaching strategies in reading and math that will result in stronger early grade students’ performance. SabakApp is a coaching application tool developed for use by national trainers (coaches), district level coaches, and school-based instructional support teams (IST) to support teachers to improve student outcomes. This app enables these stakeholders to conduct classroom observation, use data to provide focused feedback to teachers, and engage in dialogue with decision makers on how to plan additional coaching support. This app includes the classroom observations forms that are synced with the reading and math curriculum being taught and based on the observation provides immediate feedback to teachers of their strengths and weaknesses. This data then feeds into a dashboard that ranks schools by performance, and thus provides information to the system on which schools to target. To date, more than 13,500 teachers were provided with focused mentoring support at school and district levels by the school and district leaders and national trainers. Early reviews of data collected indicate that the quality of teacher instruction has increased in less than one year. BaalooApp is a formative assessment application developed for use by primary school teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in student performance, and to support teachers to decide the best approach to remedy the challenges identified – via individual, group or whole-class instruction; to provide individual descriptive and actionable feedback to students; and regularly reflect and adapt their own instruction with the aim to improve student learning outcomes. At present, BaalooApp is being used in 1,686 target schools. According to teachers’ perceptions: “BaalooApp gives both the overall picture on students’ results and the dynamics of each student and helps the teacher to identify both strong and struggling students and gives recommendations on how to work with both each groups” (Primary school teachers, School #5, Jalal-Abad city).