Dosage and feed-forward information loops: Maximizing the effectiveness of cascade teacher education in Uzbekistan [CIES 2024 Presentation]

This presentation summarizes the achievements, challenges, and recommendations from previous studies conducted as part of the Uzbekistan Education for Excellence Program. These studies focused on teacher professional development (TPD) and the implementation of innovative teaching practices in Uzbekistan's public schools. The Program conducted a multi-phased Status of Instruction Study (SIS) to gain insights into instructional resources and practices. The study collected feedback from teachers on resource usage, lesson planning, available resources in schools and classrooms, instructional techniques, and engagement in school based communities of practice. The findings influenced the customization and development of student textbooks, teacher's guides, and TPD approaches. The study used the Framework for Teaching (FFT) developed by The Danielson Group to guide the research and ensure consistency across subjects (ULA, Math, ICT, and EFL). SIS2, conducted online via Telegram channels shared by the Ministry of Preschool and School Education (MoPSE), employed a descriptive quantitative design considering the impact of COVID-19. In addition, the Program undertook the Teacher Support System Study (TSSS). The TSSS examined the existing teacher support system in Uzbekistan, including self-directed and school-level professional development activities. The study focused on instructional coaching, peer-to-peer support, and training. The studies used a combination of online surveys and in-person training sessions. Data from teachers, school directors, and methodologists were analyzed through descriptive quantitative and qualitative content analysis. The effectiveness of virtual training programs, the teacher support system, and the implementation of student textbooks and teacher guides were examined. Finally, the Program undertook the Teacher Guide Uptake Study (TGUS) augmenting the online SIS and TSSS surveys with classroom observations over a school year. Findings indicated a shift towards student-centered teaching approaches, but highlighted the need for lesson planning support, creative adaptation of teaching materials, and opportunities for instructional coaching and peer support. Recommendations included providing comprehensive teacher guides and online courses, improving assessment guidance, enhancing coaching processes, and utilizing existing collaboration platforms. The studies offer valuable insights into TPD and instructional practices in Uzbekistan's public schools. The presentation highlights lessons learned from combining online with classroom observation data over time.

Harnessing AI Speech Recognition Technology for Educational Reading Assessments amid the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Philippines [CIES 2024 Presentation]

The challenges of conducting educational assessments in low- and middle-income environments during the pandemic can be eased by AI-powered speech recognition technology that offers a promising solution to enhance assessments. By utilizing advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques, this technology accurately transcribes spoken language into written text. Reading fluency and comprehension can be efficiently measured by integrating AI speech recognition into assessments, without the need for physical presence. From the safety of their homes, students can perform the assessments using their smartphones or computers, assisting schools in organizing complex logistics. AI speech recognition technology has a great edge in providing instant feedback, which is one of its main benefits. While students are speaking out loud, the AI system can swiftly assess their intonation, pronunciation, and tempo, rendering quick guidance and identifying areas for refinement. This personalized feedback effortlessly assists students in boosting their reading abilities, even in the absence of in-person teacher interactions. Moreover, AI-backed evaluations can be carried out on a wider scale, enabling educators to collect extensive data on reading patterns and tackle specific issues that are commonly seen among students. The objective of this presentation is to feature the self-administered AI Speech recognition Computer-based reading assessment that RTI developed at the request of the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd), under the USAID All Children Reading (ACR). Throughout the school years of 2020-2022, the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to conducting face-to-face assessments, particularly in remote learning environments. As a result, teachers faced constraints in terms of time and resources to individually assess learners' reading skills against crucial learning competencies. The proposed automated assessment technology offered a potential solution to alleviate this burden and streamline the evaluation process, allowing educators to efficiently gauge students' reading abilities remotely. In February 2022, ACR-Philippines initiated discussions with USAID and the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) to produce a ‘proof of concept’ that explores the feasibility of a self-administered computer-based reading assessment (CoBRA) in English and Filipino for students in the Philippines. The concept found resonance with the DepEd leadership as the adoption of a computer-based format for assessments aligns with international practices and provides an excellent opportunity to ascertain students' preparedness to take computer-based tests, such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The result of this intervention generated a prototype solution piloted and tailored to fit DepED's existing platforms for supporting remote learning and delivery. The pilot provided insights on the feasibility of a computer-based assessment in the context of the Philippines for students in grades 4 -6. The research findings examined the performance, reliability, and results of the AI Speech recognition technology reading assessment, compared to the assessor-administered approach of the assessment. The research generated key design considerations, feedback from end users, recommendations regarding implementing similar approaches, and the future development of similar technology for other languages within and outside the Philippines.

UEEP Status of Instruction Study Phase 2

The Status of Instruction Study (SIS) aims to shed light on teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, skills, and behaviors, as well as the available resources at the school level and for the targeted subjects, and how these resources are used. The SIS was designed to inform the customization and development of student textbooks, teacher guides, and teacher professional development approaches. This report presents the SIS methodology and findings from online surveys with over 4000 teachers, 183 school directors and 131 methodologists from all regions of Uzbekistan, including the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Tashkent City.

Status of Instruction Study: A snapshot of in-service English teaching preparation and innovation in Uzbekistan [CIES 2023 Presentation]

The Uzbekistan Education for Excellence Program conducted a multi-phased Status of Instruction Study (SIS1 and 2) to understand the resources available and in use by schoolteachers in Uzbekistan. In the SIS2, the Program applied a descriptive quantitative design, considering the contextual realities resulting from COVID-19. The study was designed in an online survey system and the link to the survey was shared through the Ministry of Preschool and School Education via Telegram channels. This presentation examines elements of primary and secondary English teachers’ planning and preparation, their teaching skills, and ability to create a positive learning environment that fosters student engagement active learning. The implications of the two studies enabled the Ministry to generate and implement a number of recommendations including, but not limited to: 1) development and provision of teacher guides with sample lesson plans and explicit teaching strategies, 2) development of online learning courses for teachers on teaching strategies and techniques, 3) enhancing guidance on summative and formative assessment, 4) enhancing teachers’ skills in incorporating meaningful independent and group work and 5) upgrading of teachers’ content knowledge in selected subjects. This presentation explores, from the Ministry’s perspective, the importance of education system research. The Ministry presents and elaborates on their recommendations to maximize opportunities for co-creation of research – beginning with identification of research questions, design, implementation, analysis and dissemination.

Adapting the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) for Students Who are Deaf in the Philippines [CIES 2023 Panel Presentations]

The purpose of this formal group panel session is to share and discuss the experience in the Philippines of adapting the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. This was conducted in two phases. First, under the USAID-funded Gabay project the traditional EGRA was adapted and piloted for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. The resulting instrument was then used to conduct a baseline assessment in March 2020. Subsequently, in 2022 USAID tasked the All Children Reading Asia (ACR-Asia) project to develop a prototype of the assessment which could be administered remotely to students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing when it is not possible to send trained assessors to physically conduct the assessment in person. This panel will discuss the challenges, successes, and lessons learned through the process and provide recommendations on how other countries or projects could build upon the experience in the Philippines. In 2022, the USAID-Philippines Mission tasked the ACR-Asia project (2016-2023; implemented by RTI International) to develop a prototype EGRA instrument that can be conducted remotely for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. The school closures and travel restrictions imposed under the COVID-19 pandemic created major challenges in reaching all students, including students with disabilities. In addition, the context of the Philippines which experiences frequent adverse weather and geological situations – like typhoons, flooding, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes – coupled with a geography of thousands of islands and hard to reach areas, makes it difficult to conduct on-site and in-person activities in general. Therefore, a remotely administered assessment would help to address these challenges in reaching students, especially those with disabilities, for assessment and support. This panel will address the following: • Addressing the needs of the Philippines for assessing and reaching students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing • Considerations in adapting the traditional EGRA for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing • The process of adapting and piloting an EGRA for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing • Prototyping a remote version of the adapted instrument, including the technological and procedural challenges to address • Lessons learned and recommendations for similar adaptations

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.

Project Reconnect - Final Report

This is the final report for Project Reconnect, a bold and ambitious effort conceived by Google Germany,, and NetHope in late 2015 that aimed to help refugees as they rebuild their lives in Germany by facilitating access to online education, language learning, culture learning, and information resources. This report was written by RTI International and based on data from 50 grantee organization reports, 320 Chromebook location managers, and 304 refugee Chromebook users, highlighting achievements and lessons learned from the program.

eResources Review Toolkit

This toolkit was developed for the All Children Reading Philippines project to support Department of Education staff in developing and reviewing electronic resources for the DepEd Commons (online OER repository).

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

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).

Virtual Assessment and Making the Right Technology Choices (Presentation)

This presentation was held by Carmen Strigel during the second webinar of the Basic Education Coalition EdTech working group on April 27, 2020. The presentation is about using Tangerine for student self-study and self-assessment as well as family outreach. The presentation also introduces a new tool developed by RTI on considering access, user engagement, and content in making the right technology choices for your audience.