Measures of quality through classroom observation for the Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons from low-and-middle-income countries

Background paper prepared for the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all With the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global education agencies are grappling with how quality can and should be measured for global reporting purposes. Several factors at the education system, school, and classroom levels shape education quality, including the limited information available at the global level about what is happening in the classroom. Such information can only come through observation-based measures that record teacher practices, either through routine monitoring conducted by system actors or through surveys. Classroom observation is used extensively in not only teacher education and professional development, but also in evaluation studies. However, there are fewer cases where classroom observations are used for system monitoring purposes—particularly in low- and middle- income countries. This paper reviews what has been learned from observation instruments in low- and middle-income countries and what opportunities (i.e., scope) there are to systematize these countries to that they can monitor quality at both the school and system levels.

Implementing large-scale instructional technology in Kenya: Changing instructional practice and developing accountability in a National Education System

Article published in the IJEDICT, Vol. 13, No. 3 (2017). Published Abstract: "Previous large-scale education technology interventions have shown only modest impacts on student achievement. Building on results from an earlier randomized controlled trial of three different applications of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on primary education in Kenya, the Tusome Early Grade Reading Activity developed the National Tablets Program. The National Tablets Program is integrated into the Tusome activity by providing tablets to each of more than 1,200 instructional coaches in the country to use when they visit teachers. This enables a national database of classroom instructional quality, which is used by the education system to monitor overall education quality. The tools provided on the tablets are designed to help coaches increase the quality of their instructional support to teachers, and deepen the shallow accountability structures in Kenya’s education system. Using results of a national survey, we investigated the ability of the National Tablets Program to increase the number of classroom observations done by coaches and to improve student learning outcomes. Survey results showed high levels of tablet program utilization, increased accountability, and improvements in learning outcomes. We share recommendations regarding large-scale ICT interventions and literacy programs.

Using ICT to support evidence-informed instruction [Presentation]

This presentation was delivered by Wendi Ralaingita at the Open Learning Exchange (OLE) conference in Kathmandu, Nepal (November 2017). It provides an overview of RTI's evidence-based approach to ICT integration, based largely on the Improvement Science literature, particularly Edward Deming. Describes uses of Tangerine open-source software for teacher coaching (Tangerine:Tutor) and classroom continuous assessment (Tangerine:Class) as well as hearing and vision screening tools integrated with EGRA and EGMA assessments.

Technology for Continuous Assessment of Reading Instruction

This is a presentation about Tangerine:Class, which was delivered at the 2016 Pacific Circle Consortium in Saipan.

[Presentation] Boys' Underachievement: Global Literature Review

This presentation summarizes the lessons learned from the global literature review on boys' underachievement in education.

Using Mobile Communications Technology to Support School-based, In-service Teacher Training

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded an investigation of the effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) in rural areas of Nepal, Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Samoa. In these areas, the multidimensional elements of poverty diminish access to and the quality of education for the poorest people. The study assessed the potential for ICT, combined with training, to improve these education factors for people whose educational opportunities are severely limited. In Bangladesh, the focus was on creating an opportunity for school-based in-service teacher training with the support of mobile communications technology. RTI equipped a cluster of 10 schools with mobile telephones that had advanced multimedia and communications features. A standard 2-week face-to-face training was converted to 6-weeks distance mode, and a pair of teachers from each school completed the course using print materials, practical school-level exercises, and communication on a regular basis with trainers and teacher trainees in other schools. The results show that the distance mode can be as effective as face-to-face training, and it is the strongly preferred mode by training participants.

Moving from pilot to scale in education: What does it take?

Presentation delivered at the ICT4D 2017 Conference in Hyderabad. Taking successful pilot projects to scale should be the goal of any pilot program; yet often projects address scale only as an afterthought. The challenges of realizing large-scale impact, and of seeing that impact sustained, are not new to development. However, they are being approached with renewed interest and attention in the education sector. This presentation examines the issue of scale up in basic education programs in seven countries where interventions to improve early grade reading are being taken to scale--some with project support, some through government initiative. Management Systems International's framework for taking projects to scale, and the framework defined in the Brookings Institute's Millions Learning report are used to examine how scale has been and is occurring in selected countries, and we look at how scale is achieved in ICT projects. The presenter invites participants to be active discussants in this presentation, sharing their experiences and providing feedback on the relevancy of the proposed frameworks for ICT at scale

Revisiting the "M" in m-learning: Making the most of mobile environments for teaching and learning

Published in the conference proceedings for E-Learn 2015 - October 19-22, 2015 (Kona, Hawaii). A version of this paper was also presented at the mobile learning conference in Helsinki, 2013. Educational innovations in developing countries are expanding due to pressure to achieve quality outcomes at scale and changing markets, where mobile devices are increasingly affordable. m-Learning as a concept has existed prior to the acceleration of these forces, but has gained increasing attention because of them. Growth in mobile phone ownership in developing countries has made mobile-phone enabled education (a form of e-learning) commonplace in formal and informal education. This paper draws on a broad review of existing m-learning programs to illustrate how instructional strategies are being employed, and explore whether these strategies are appropriate for learners in these contexts. It urges thinking differently about the ‘m’ in m-learning, and moving the conversation away from broad notions of mobile learning for any and all purposes to more detailed guidance on how to implement mobile learning from an informed pedagogical perspective that includes attention to local cultures

Mobile Learning and Numeracy: Filling gaps and expanding opportunities for early grade learning

The present study on Mobile Learning and Numeracy examines how mobile learning (m-learning) could influence and improve numeracy education at early grade levels (ages 4-10) especially in low-income countries. Key questions to guide the research include: 1) What are the benefits and challenges of integrating mobile learning into early grade numeracy education? 2) What is the role of a teacher with regard to mobile learning and numeracy education? 3) How can the community and the parents actively contribute to/participate in the child’s numeracy education with the use of mobile devices? and 4) How can mobile technology be used effectively in measuring/assessing numeracy gains? The conclusions and recommendations of this study have been informed by an international working group that met over two days during the first International Numeracy Conference in Berlin in December 2012. We would like to acknowledge the following participants of this working group for their thoughtful contributions: Michaela Brinkhaus (BMZ); Dorothea Coppard (GIZ); Melanie Stilz (Konnektiv Büro für Bildung und Entwicklung); Jens von Roda-Pulkowski (KfW); Abigail Bucuvalas (Sesame Workshop); Mr. Kann Puthy (Primary Education Department, MoEYS Cambodia); Edward Barnett (DFID).

Malawi Reading Intervention: EGRA Impact Evaluation Report

In 2010, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), developed a project to improve primary education and implementation of the National Primary Curriculum. The Malawi Teacher Professional Development Support (MTPDS) project, as it is known, included five major results areas related to improving teaching policy, teacher performance, early grade literacy, primary teaching and learning materials, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. While many of the inputs designed to support these objectives took place on a national scale, a specific reading improvement program was designed and delivered in two districts in order to determine its effectiveness on a small scale. This report describes the impact of the intervention, evaluated based on a rigorous three-year randomized control trial (RCT) design.