Pupil performance, pedagogic practice, and school management: an SSME pilot in Zambia

Autor(es): Collins, Penelope; De Galbert, Pierre; Hartwell, Ash; Kochetkova, Emily; Mulcahy-Dunn, Amy; Nimbalkar, Abhijit; Ralaingita, Wendi

Organisation(s): USA. Agency for International Development; RTI International

Date: 2012

Pages: 56 p.


Assessments of pupil learning in the primary grades, such as the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA), offer an opportunity to determine whether children are developing the fundamental skills upon which all other literacy and mathematical skills build, and, if not, where efforts might be best directed. This is vital information for countries that are working to improve the quality of education in their schools. Indeed, further evidence of growing international concern for learning outcomes, as opposed to attendance or completion rates, is the fact that EGRA and EGMA have been adapted and used around the world, including EGRA implementations in over 40 countries. When measuring the quality or effectiveness of an education system, we can pose some basic questions: Are children learning to read? Are they learning basic math skills? Are they acquiring those skills early enough in primary school to secure the foundation for further learning? In addition to measuring pupil performance, it is essential to understand why some schools are better able to perform than others. The Snapshot of School Management Effectiveness (SSME) provides a multifaceted view of school conditions and practices that are historically linked to pupil performance. Through the SSME we are able to answer important questions such as: Do pupils and teachers have the materials they need? Do pupils and teachers spend enough time engaged in activities that support learning? What instructional practices are teachers using? To answer these questions about learning and the factors influencing it in Zambia, the Education Data for Decision Making (EdData II) project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered with USAID/Zambia, the MOE, and the Examinations Council of Zambia to conduct a study of early grade reading and math skills, and the learning environments that support them, in a sample of Bemba-speaking schools. Pupil assessment and school survey protocols developed under the EdData II project were tailored to the Zambian context during an adaptation workshop with MOE and Examination Council Staff. Reading and math assessments (EGRA/EGMA) were administered to a total of 800 grade 2 and grade 3 pupils randomly selected from within 40 schools. The 40 participating schools had been randomly selected from within the Bemba-speaking regions of Zambia (Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, and Northern regions). In addition to pupil assessments, researchers interviewed Headteachers, teachers, pupils, and parents; conducted classroom and school inventories; and observed reading and math lessons. The fieldwork was carried out by trained data collection teams in July 2011, midway through the school year.

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