LEGO Play Accelerator Baseline Report

The Play Accelerator research partner grant presents a unique opportunity to examine five large-scale educational interventions focused on improving learning through play (in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Vietnam, respectively). One aspect of this activity is determining if and how these five programs change the practice and attitudes of key education stakeholder and whether or not this leads to improved holistic learning outcomes through increasing playful pedagogies. This, in turn, will generate much-needed rigorous evidence on implementing playful pedagogies successfully through government teacher professional development systems at scale. Due to prolonged school closures and other obstacles resulting from COVID-19, this report presents baseline findings collected between June and November 2021 from three of the five Play Accelerator partner programs: Partners in Play Program (P3) implemented by Right to Play in Ghana; Tucheza Kujifunza (TuKu) implemented by Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Kenya; and the Scaling Learning Through Play program implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Rwanda. The goal of this report is to provide comprehensive baseline estimates for these three Learning through Play (LtP) programs. These results will serve two purposes: 1) to provide a starting point against which program impact will be measured at midline and endline, and 2) to provide programs with data-driven recommendations of areas to focus on for improved implementation throughout the remainder of their programming. While the overall evaluation of these programs includes a wide range of research questions that will be addressed at midline and endline, the baseline study focuses specifically on four main research questions: 1. What are the baseline levels of student literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning among Grade 1 students in treatment and control schools? 2. What is the baseline state of teachers’ pedagogical practices in the classroom (including LtP) among Grade 1 teachers in treatment and control schools? 3. What are the baseline perceptions of LtP among school-, district-, and community-level stakeholders? 4. What are the enabling factors associated with implementing LtP pedagogical methods in classrooms? What are the barriers associated with implementing LtP pedagogical methods in classrooms?

What Works to Improve Learning at Scale? Key Findings from Learning at Scale and the Kenya Tusome Early Grade Reading Activity

This brief presents findings on what worked to improve learning outcomes at scale under 8 successful early grade literacy programs, with a focus on findings from the Tusome program in Kenya.1 These findings were generated as part of the Learning at Scale study, conducted by RTI International with the Center for Global Development and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Framework for Technology-Supported Remote Trainings [CIES Presentation]

Existing research on the uptake of technologies for adult learning in the global South is often focused on the use of technology to reinforce in-person learning activities and too often involves an oversimplified “with or without” comparison (Gaible and Burns 2005, Slade et al. 2018). This MEL Framework for Technology-Supported Remote Training (MEL-Tech Framework) features a more nuanced perspective by introducing questions and indicators that look at whether the technology-supported training was designed based on a solid theory of learning; whether the technology was piloted; whether there was time allocated to fix bugs and improve functionality and user design; how much time was spent using the technology; and whether in-built features of the technology provided user feedback and metrics for evaluation. The framework presents minimum standards for the evaluation of technology-supported remote training, which, in turn, facilitates the development of an actionable evidence base for replication and scale-up. Rather than “just another theoretical framework” developed from a purely academic angle, or a framework stemming from a one-off training effort, this framework is based on guiding questions and proposed indicators that have been carefully investigated, tested, and used in five RTI monitoring and research efforts across the global South: Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Malawi, the Philippines, and Uganda (Pouezevara et al. 2021). Furthermore, the framework has been reviewed for clarity, practicality, and relevance by RTI experts on teacher professional development, policy systems and governance, MEL, and information and communications technology, and by several RTI project teams across Africa and Asia. RTI drew on several conceptual frameworks and theories of adult learning in the design of this framework. First, the underpinning theory of change for teacher learning was informed by the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen 1991), Guskey’s (2002) perspective on teacher change, and Clarke and Hollingsworth’s (2002) interconnected model of professional growth. Second, Kirkpatrick’s (2021) model for training evaluation helped determine many of the categories and domains of evaluation. However, this framework not only has guiding questions and indicators helpful for evaluating one-off training events focusing on participants’ reactions, learning, behavior, and results (as is the focus in Kirkpatrick’s model) but also includes guiding questions and indicators reflective of a “fit for purpose” investigation stage, a user needs assessment and testing stage, and long-term sustainability. Furthermore, this framework’s guiding questions and indicators consider participants’ attitudes and self-efficacy (based on the research underpinning the theory of planned behavior), as well as aspects of participants’ post-training, ongoing application and experimentation, and feedback (Clarke and Hollingsworth; Darling-Hammond et al. 2017; Guskey). Lastly, the framework integrates instructional design considerations regarding content, interaction, and participant feedback that are uniquely afforded by technology.

Early Childhood Services for Young Refugee Children: Uganda Case Study

This qualitative case study describes the experiences of young refugee children and their families accessing early childhood development (ECD) services in Uganda in late 2019. The study team collected data through key informant interviews with representatives of the Ugandan government, national non-governmental organizations, humanitarian agencies and service providers. Focus group discussions were held with refugee families living in Bidi Bidi and Nakivale settlements. The study team supplemented key informant interviews and focus group with policy document review. Analysis is presented along the lines of policy and practice, with a focus on the respective roles of the government and international agencies in delivering ECD services to refugee families.

USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Program EGRA results Cluster 1 End of Primary 5, Cluster 2 End of Primary 4, Cluster 3 End of Primary 3

To measure the impact of SHRP on reading achievement, EGRA data were collected at the beginning of Primary 1 (P1) and then at the end of every school year through Primary 3, 4 or 5 depending on when the local language entered the program. Though there was little difference in local language cwpm at the end of P1, differences started to emerge at the end of P2 and by the end of P3, significant positive differences were found in 10 of the 12 languages.

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Follow up 3 End of Primary 3: Lebacoli, Lugbarati, Lumasaba, and Runyoro-Rutoro and English

Has reading achievement increased as a result of the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program? Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) data collected for Cluster 2 at the end of P3 suggests improved progress towards reading proficiency in all 4 program languages. In all C2 languages, more learners in program schools are reading more words than learners in control schools in both English and Local Language.

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Cluster 2 Follow up 2, End of Priamry 2: Lebacoli, Lugbarati, Lumasaba, and Runyoro-Rutoro and English

Has reading achievement increased as a result of the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program? Is classroom teacher behavior improving based on program interventions? Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) data collected for Cluster 2 shows that Leb Acӧli, Lugbarati, and Runyoro-Rutooro schools receiving the SHRP intervention are continuing to make small but significant progress towards reading proficiency. • All 4 Cluster 2 languages started out with very low levels of reading readiness at the beginning of P1. At the end of P2, Leb Acӧli and Runyoro-Rutooro schools receiving program interventions are performing significantly better than control schools in local language reading fluency, local language reading comprehension and in English reading fluency, with a medium to large effect size. • Teachers in program classrooms are teaching more from lesson plans that employ early grades reading methodology. Learners in program classrooms are more likely to read from printed material. • While teachers are receiving some classroom support from head teachers, follow up support by CCTs is insufficient • In general, there were no differences in reading scores for boys and girls, but they are noted in the report when they do occur.

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Cluster 3 Baseline: Lugwere, Lusoga, Lhukonzo, Ŋakarimojoŋ and English

This report summarizes the findings from a baseline assessment that was conducted in February and March, 2015 to determine the current status of reading achievement in the “Cluster 3” schools in which the Program is currently working, as well as achievement in control 1 schools that will be used as a basis for comparison in assessing the effectiveness of the interventions going forward. The baseline assessment sets out to answer the following questions in an attempt to lay the foundation for and support a national literacy policy and subsequent reading program in primary schools nationwide. -- What is the level of reading achievement among P1 and P32 learners in the local language and in English in Ugandan primary schools? -- What is currently happening in P1 reading lessons? -- How are teachers and schools supported to teach reading? -- What should be the focus of future MoESTS and stakeholder support for reading?

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Cluster 1 Follow up 4, End or Primary 4: Ateso, Leblango, Luganda, Runyankore/Rukiga and English

Has reading achievement increased as a result of the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program interventions? Early Grade Reading Assessment data collected for four Cluster 1 languages (Ateso, Leblango, Luganda and Runyankore-Rukiga) and English at the beginning of Primary 1 compared to end of Primary 4 show increases in fundamental reading skills, higher than increases found in control schools. No systematic differences were found between girls and boys. By the end of P4, learners in Program Schools are reading more words than learners in control schools and are closer to becoming fluent readers in both Local Language and English.

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Cluster 1 Follow Up 3, end of Primary 3: Ateso, Leblango, Luganda, Runyankore/Rukiga and English

Has reading achievement increased as a result of the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program interventions? Early Grade Reading Assessment data collected for 4 Cluster 1 languages (Ateso, Leblango, Luganda and Runyankore-Rukiga) and English at the beginning of Primary 1 compared to end of Primary 3 show increases in fundamental reading skills, higher than increases found in control schools. By the end of P3, learners in Program Schools are reading more words than learners in control schools and are closer to becoming fluent readers in both Local Language and English.

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