Tracking how well programs in schools are taught and received–the basics of learning–is critical to a successful program. When new learning is introduced, like bilingual education, monitoring becomes even more critical for student development.
In Mozambique, World Education is monitoring the implementation of bilingual education programming in schools through Local Education Monitoring Approach (LEMA) activities. LEMA uses a simple approach to determine if schools meet performance standards by randomly sampling a small number of schools with an easy supervision tool used by local education officials, asking yes or no questions. Some aspects consider whether classrooms are utilizing books provided by the program, Vamos Ler! (Let’s Read!), whether teachers are present in the classroom, and whether they are using specific instructional methods.
Primarily used as a school management tool, in 2021 LEMA also incorporated a student test based on Mozambique’s National Assessment, currently used by the Ministry of Education (MINEDH) to gauge student learning outcomes. The test results were then presented to the government by local officials with the support of program staff to provide a more accurate picture of what is happening at the local level. As schools in Mozambique re-opened this year after long closures due to COVID-19, these results provided even more valuable insight into how schools are able to function with new protocols.
After sampling a total of 420 schools, consisting of 2-day visits to 20 schools from each of the 21 target districts, Vamos Ler! results show improvements in school management practices, classroom instruction, and student reading assessment scores. On the first day in each school, a district education technician observed a grade 3 literacy class, selected 20 students at random to take the student learning assessment, and interviewed the school director. On day 2, at the same school, the technician observed a grade 3 math class and administered a math learning assessment to the same 20 students.
To prepare for this activity, World Education worked with 170 education technicians, made up mostly of local district education officials, to adapt the LEMA tools and help pilot the assessments in schools to determine if adaptations were needed. Throughout the course of the Vamos Ler! program, World Education and its partners have been supporting the Ministry of Education, Department of Primary Education, and the District Education Departments to use LEMA independently as part of their routine monitoring activities.
The LEMA process has taken on a new and important role in 2021, pivoting to act as a response tool for the government to gather timely information on what is happening in schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where both curriculum structure was modified and total classroom time decreased. Adapting to changes in instruction time and Vamos Ler! programming, LEMA incorporated MINEDH testing tools to get a sense of student learning levels after prolonged school closures.
Supervision and accountability routines take time to establish, but have been shown to greatly impact school management and student performance. With nearly a decade of experience working in education in northern Mozambique, LEMA is just one example of World Education’s work to promote the use of effective monitoring tools and data for decision-making in close partnership with government education stakeholders, in the interest of improved sustainable learning outcomes across the country.
World Education works in partnership with Creative Associates International to implement Vamos Ler!, funded by the US Agency for International Development.