Monthly Archives: June 2013

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To address the Math content knowledge deficit of students and teachers, SAHE, in partnership with the Department of Staff Development (DSD), initiated this project that used the growing trend of using technology in the classroom as an aid for teaching and learning. Based on weak content knowledge of teachers, student assessment scores, location, and student enrollment, sets of 12 elementary and high schools in 3 districts (Chakwal, Lahore, Vehari) were selected as treatment and control groups. Urdu adaptations were made of 20 videos from Khan Academy and other sources on geometry. These videos were aligned with the National Curriculum, textbooks and DSD teacher guides and introduced to teachers and students through portable pocket-sized projectors.

The report expands on a number of interesting insights attained through the study. The student assessment survey found that where instructional videos were used, student performance increased, particularly amongst medium and low performing students. Khan Academy videos were better suited for teachers at the primary level while other videos which were less complex videos, were more useful for the students in local classrooms. A satisfaction survey indicated mostly positive perspectives from students and teachers with regard to the innovation. Findings also show that taking videos to the students is feasible where there is access to computer labs, which mostly is the case in high schools. The study recommended that future interventions should focus more on teachers using clusters for cost efficiency and considerations of the local context. Teachers’ input and participation should also be taken into account to ensure ownership of such interventions.

Author(s):
Ayesha A. Awan, Muhammad Azhar and Abbas Rashid
Sponsor(s):UKaid, Ilm Ideas 1


Date:Jun 2013
themeTeaching
typePublication
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This study tries to investigate whether the 2011 Punjab language policy that makes English the Medium of Instruction (MoI) from grade 1 supports meaningful teaching and learning in Punjab government schools. It uses observations from English, science, and math classrooms, as well as in-depth qualitative interviews with parents, head teachers and teachers from six districts of Punjab. Findings show that instead of addressing the problems relating to content-knowledge deficit and teacher practice that pre-date the policy, another layer of difficulty has been added. Neither the teacher nor the students are in a position to use English to their advantage and interactions conducive to the learning of these subjects have become further restricted.

A number of recommendations have been presented as a result of these findings. English needs to be taught at the primary level as a subject from grade 1, or later, depending on the availability of competent teachers and not as the MoI. It should be taught as a subject with a focus on communication. There is also a need to review the policy of using English as MoI in math and science in earlier grades to maximize student understanding, which, as research shows, is best done in the language that they are most comfortable with. Efforts should be made to ensure that teachers are competent in the teaching of English as a second or a foreign language and the curriculum, textbooks and examinations framework should reflect an emphasis on a communicative rather than form-based approach.

Author(s):
Abbas Rashid, Irfan Muzaffar, Salaeya Butt with Ayesha A. Awan and Ayesha Bashiruddin
Sponsor(s):Open Society Foundations


Date:Jun 2013
themeLanguage
Teaching
typePublication
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This brief summarizes a study that tries to investigate whether the 2011 Punjab language policy that makes English the Medium of Instruction (MoI) from grade 1 supports meaningful teaching and learning in Punjab government schools. It uses observations from English, science, and math classrooms, as well as in-depth qualitative interviews with parents, head teachers and teachers from six districts of Punjab. Findings show that instead of addressing the problems relating to content-knowledge deficit and teacher practice that pre-date the policy, another layer of difficulty has been added. Neither the teacher nor the students are in a position to use English to their advantage and interactions conducive to the learning of these subjects have become further restricted.

A number of recommendations have been presented as a result of these findings. English needs to be taught at the primary level as a subject from grade 1, or later, depending on the availability of competent teachers and not as the MoI. It should be taught as a subject with a focus on communication. There is also a need to review the policy of using English as MoI in math and science in earlier grades to maximize student understanding, which, as research shows, is best done in the language that they are most comfortable with. Efforts should be made to ensure that teachers are competent in the teaching of English as a second or a foreign language and the curriculum, textbooks and examinations framework should reflect an emphasis on a communicative rather than form-based approach.

Author(s):
Abbas Rashid, Irfan Muzaffar, Salaeya Butt with Ayesha A. Awan and Ayesha Bashiruddin
Sponsor(s):Open Society Foundations


Date:Jun 2013
themeLanguage
Teaching
typeBrief
Academic achievement, school performance and spatial heterogeneity (2013) [3]

The establishment of the Punjab Education Sector Reform Program in 2003 was the catalyst for various initiatives that produced data for guiding education policy in the province, both through providing information about various school inputs and by revealing differences in student learning outcomes. However, the role of such data in generating meaningful and reliable evidence for informing policy remains under-utilized. This paper seeks to contribute towards the generation of such evidence by making use of the two existing large data sets in Punjab to understand the correlation between school inputs and student achievement. The school input data was provided by the Program Monitoring and Implementation Unit, and data on student outcomes was available through the standardized grade 5 and grade 8 exams conducted by the Punjab Examination Commission.

Through combining and analyzing data from these two sources, the paper found that the variation in learning outcomes was more substantial within administrative units such as districts and tehsils than across them. It also found no evidence of differences in test scores across urban and rural areas. Given the heterogeneity in school quality within districts, the paper recommends that the education reform effort in Punjab would do well to devise a school-focused approach instead of a regional one. It also found that school inputs explain a sizable portion of the variation across schools, but concludes that further research is required for more definitive evidence on the causal impact of various school inputs on learning outcomes.

Author(s):
Farooq Naseer
Sponsor(s):Open Society Foundations


Date:Jun 2013
themeAssessments
Governance
typePublication