Measuring regional progress toward early grade reading and mathematics targets in a national application of LQAS as part of the RAMP Initiative in Jordan.

Presentation delivered at CIES 2017 (Atlanta). CIES Panel title: Measuring regional progress toward early grade reading and mathematics targets in a national application of LQAS as part of the RAMP Initiative in Jordan. RTI International (RTI) and its partners are implementing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Kingdom’s Agency for International Development (UKAID) funded Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Initiative (RAMP). RAMP is a nationwide initiative of the Jordanian Ministry of Education (MoE) designed to improve the reading and mathematics skills of students in kindergarten 2 through grade 3 (K2–G3). RAMP, which will be carried out over five years, expects to deliver improved reading and mathematics instruction to all public school students in Jordan in grades K2–G3—about 400,000 students. Central to the RAMP approach is developing reflective practice at all levels of the education system. At the classroom level, teachers use screening and diagnostic tools developed by the initiative for reading and mathematics to gain a better sense of the developmental level(s) of the students in their class and in response, to use research based pedagogical approaches and materials to respond to these needs. At the national level the MoE uses biannual national surveys that include the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) to measure progress toward national benchmarks. RAMP is exploring the efficiency of the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) methodology in providing regional structures (Field Directorates) with regular information on the progress by schools and Field Directorates toward achieving the national benchmarks for early grade reading and mathematics. In addition, the LQAS based assessments will also contribute to the development of school reports. This panel will discuss the first national implementation of the LQAS based assessment conducted in May 2016 (Brombacher, 2016). The first presentation will provide background to the RAMP initiative, the centrality of reflective practice at all levels of the system to improving performance in early grade reading and mathematics, and the role that the LQAS based assessments will play in providing regional structures with the information that they need to monitor and support progress toward the national benchmarks. The second presentation will describe the development of the instruments used in the LQAS assessment activity, the implementation of the first national LQAS based assessment, the findings of the study, and a range of important lessons learned. The third and final presentation will describe the response of the MoE to the national implementation. The presentation will also deal with the anticipated institutionalization of the approach into the roles and responsibilities of the ministry supervisors. The panel contributes to the conference theme, “Problematizing (In)Equality: The Promise of Comparative and International Education”, as it examines the implementation of an efficient and cost-effective mechanism for national and regional education structures to identify the schools and regions that are in greatest need of support – allowing the structures to deploy limited resources in a cost effective way.