Teacher quality is a key determinant of student learning levels. Lack of content knowledge among teachers has been identified as one of the major causes of poor student learning outcomes in Pakistan. In Punjab, the Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) trains all primary teachers in the public school sector of the province through its Continuous Professional Development (CPD) model established in 2006. As part of the CPD model, the DSD trains primary school teachers at the district level once every quarter. In addition, it has employed close to 4,000 District Teacher Educators (DTEs) who provide mentorship/support to teachers within schools twice a month. This CPD model is constrained at present by the heterogeneous quality of DTEs (which means that quality of teacher training is not standardized) and the logistical challenge of organizing trainings for so many teachers at a more regular basis.
SAHE partnered with Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and the DSD to pilot technology-enabled in-service teacher training within the CPD model. Tablets and high quality digital education content (videos) were sourced to train grade-4 math and science teachers. Use of technology ensured a) that trainings were of high quality and standardized and b) that teachers were trained within schools without having to be relocated to a training venue.
Project design and implementation
SAHE and IDEAS provided the DTEs with tablets and videos from the grade-4 curriculum and trained the DTEs on the use of both. The DTE handed the tablet over to teachers on mentoring visits to schools every month. The teacher viewed videos for the duration of that visit at the end of which the DTE had a discussion with the teacher on training materials viewed. While the teacher had to return the tablet to the DTE, the teacher was able to keep the handouts developed by the project team accompanying each video beyond the DTEs visit as a recall aid. In case the teacher had any questions on the training content or the technology in use, the teacher could submit queries to the DTEs who would relay these to the project team by calling into a call center (set up for the purpose of this project). The call center sorted queries and passed these on to the project team who responded accordingly.
Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) methodology was used to conduct an impact evaluation in this study. DTEs from across all three target districts were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Treatment DTEs received the tablets and videos and took these with them to teachers on their monthly school visits while control DTEs continued to carry out functions as before. In total, Learning While You Teach targeted 156 treatment DTEs and over 1000 treatment teachers in approx. 750 government schools. Below is a snap shot of the intervention design:
Step 1: The project team uploaded training videos on a monthly basis on topics from the grade-4 curricula to digital tablets and developed supplementary training material.
Step 2: DTEs were given the tablets and were provided with content and technical training. New training material was delivered to the DTEs every month during Professional Development days held in the districts.
Step 3: The DTE provided digital tablets with videos to grade-4 teachers on mentoring visits to their respective cluster schools every month.
Step 4: The DTE forwarded any queries shared by teachers during their mentoring visits to the call center set up by the project team. The call center provided guidance to the DTEs who conveyed the information to the teachers.
Step 5: The call center sorted and forwarded any critical feedback to the project team. The project team noted the feedback and informed the call center about the proper response.
Evaluation and outcomes
Tests were conducted during the baseline and endline survey before and after roll-out of the intervention. Teachers were tested at both the baseline and the endline; students were tested at the endline only. Using RCT methodology, the team studied impact on teacher knowledge, teacher satisfaction with training and student learning levels. It was found that the intervention had a positive and statistically significant impact on the math test scores of teachers who had scored lower on the baseline test and teachers who had less formal education (i.e. had only completed their Matric or Intermediate education). Furthermore, teachers reported high levels of satisfaction with both the training content and the training model piloted. 88% deemed the training videos to be ‘very beneficial’ in explaining concepts and 81% thought the training videos used were better than existing training methods within the CPD framework.
|Duration||2014 – 2016|
|Location||Bahawalnagar, Hafizabad and Sahiwal districts in Punjab|
|Sponsor||Sub-National Governance Programme (SNG)|
|Project||Learning While You Teach|
Ahmad Raza Khan, Program Manager