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Are girls’ math skills different than boys’? Evidence from an early grade numeracy assessment in five countries

Numeracy Boost is Save the Children’s early grades math approach which focuses on supporting teachers, students, and communities to improve and strengthen foundational math skills. It is based on expert input, research on how children learn math, and best practices in early math education. Numeracy Boost has been implemented in seven countries, in both development and humanitarian settings. Data collected on student learning outcomes and student’s home numeracy environment has provided SC with a deeper understanding of children's foundational math skills and various trends in math as they relate to types of skills, gender, home environment and socio-economic background. This investigation will use data on student learning outcomes collected from the Numeracy Boost assessment across five countries as a first step in better understanding what we can learn in terms of the relationship between gender and math acquisition in the early primary grades.

Can we close the gender gap in mathematics? Lessons learned from Secondary Schools in Ethiopia

This study will explore gender gaps in mathematics for secondary students in Ethiopia. Data for this study will correspond to subsequent evaluations of the Supporting Transition of Adolescent Girls through Enhancing Systems (STAGES) project, implemented in Ethiopia’s Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR). The purpose of this paper is two-fold: a) to gauge the gender gap in mathematics performance and b) to understand which elements within the STAGES intervention are having a positive impact in math outcomes for girls. Overall, this study will allow us to reflect more critically on what we can do to improve the situation of girls in secondary schooling, in relation to mathematics.

Published: April 2019

Author(s): Fernanda Gandara, School-to-School International

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Systematic School-based Disability Screening: A Comparative Analysis of Formal Approaches Across Select Country Contexts ​

There has been a noted increase in attention to inclusive education from national Ministries of Education as well as from bilateral and multilateral aid communities. However, despite the prevalence of many thoughtful national education policies that call for the inclusion of children with disabilities in formal education settings, many countries lack formal school-based approaches that effectively identify students who would benefit from targeted supports to maximize their opportunities to participate and learn. To investigate how education systems are identifying students with special learning needs the Education Equity Research Initiative’s Disability Task team established a dedicated working group to undertake a case-study approach to examine formal screening and identification processes across a set of select countries.

Costing inclusive education of children with disabilities: ​ ​ Analysis of expenditures of an inclusive education programme in Senegal​

The study sought to identify the incremental expenditure of including children with disabilities in mainstream public primary schools in Senegal, West Africa, collecting from schools in suburban districts of Senegal capital, Dakar, where a total of 187 children with disabilities - primarily blind or had severe low vision, were enrolled in general education primary schools. The expenditure analysis was conducted retrospectively using accounting systems of the partners involved in the pilot. The analysis was incremental, so that only expenditures that were directly related to the Inclusive education intervention were included.

Identifying children with special learning needs Results from a validation study in Ethiopia

Drawing on promising elements of established and experimental screening tools, our toolkit tested a range of abilities including vision, hearing, motor skills, language and numeracy skills, and important cognitive skills: memory, processing speed, and selective attention. Unlike many existing screening tools that rely on parent or self-reports, this toolkit emphasizes direct assessment of disabilities in the screening process.

Strategies that work: Lessons from All Children Reading projects supporting students who have low vision or are blind

To understand the ability of technology-based innovations to improve the literacy skills of early grade learners, School-to-School International (STS) collaborated with each ACR GCD Round 2 grantee to develop a robust research study design and advise on the sampling and research groups, conduct Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRA) at each project’s baseline and endline to systematically assess project participants’ reading skills, and provide technical assistance on monitoring and evaluation, and fidelity of implementation activities. STS also conducted qualitative end-of-project interviews with project management, beneficiaries, and key stakeholders on each project to explore lessons learned from project implementation, understand how the project impacted beneficiaries, and assess the potential scalability of the projects.

Leveraging Technology to Support Literacy Outcomes for Learners with Disabilities in Low and Medium-Income Countries​

The paper posits that while a universal design for learning (UDL) can be applied without technology, technology makes the experience richer for many. If the aim of UDL is to produce students who are purposeful, motivated, resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic and goal-directed, technology lends itself to differentiation and accommodations and provides many options for effective teaching in the classroom. Based on expert consultations and literature review, the paper recommends how technologies could be made more accessible to implementer through creative utilization of market-drivers and competition, drawing upon the role to be played by agencies across the public, private and not for profit sectors.

Resource allocation for inclusive education: A GEM Report analysis

With the aim of evaluating inclusive education policies in at least 100, regionally diverse countries, the national profiles will include the history of inclusive education in the country, government plans and policies, national definitions, models of inclusive and special needs education, and financing for inclusive and special needs education. When included in education budgets, inclusive education tends to be financed in one of two ways. First, most countries have a system for identifying learners with special needs which then awards additional financial support to schools based on the number of identified students. This per pupil approach is considered an input funding model. The second approach is designed to provide schools with greater autonomy in distribution decisions by providing block grants. This flexible funding model is more adaptable, allowing schools to differentiate their solutions. Different funding models motivate different school behavior.

Gender patterns in mathematics achievement in the early years: Results from Tayari Kenya

Tayari is funded by the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and is implemented by the Government of Kenya and RTI International. Tayari provides classroom materials for literacy and mathematics, life skills and social activities, ongoing skill-based teacher professional development, and focused classroom support to all of the pre-primary teachers in four of Kenya’s counties (Nairobi, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu and Siaya). In addition, Tayari supports low-cost private schools serving the nonformal settlements and slum areas in Nairobi. The program supports the Pre-Primary 1 (4-year old) and Pre-Primary 2 (5 year-old) classes.

Measuring the effect of an early childhood caregiver training on child development

Along with partners, Sightsavers has been testing a training intervention for caregivers at early childhood centres in rural Malawi. The study sought to understand the effect the training package would have on child development measures, caregiver retention and disability-inclusiveness of the centres as a whole. For the purposes of the study, child development was measured using the Malawi Developmental Assessment Tool; caregiver retention was measured through interview with caregivers operational at the time of visit; and disability inclusiveness was measured through composite factors including the number of children with disability enrolled (per the Washington Group/ UNICEF child functioning module) and an adapted version of the ECERS scale.

Using the Washington Group/ UNICEF Child Functioning Module in an early childhood setting in rural Malawi

Standardised and internationally validated tools and metrics are vital to measure disability among children and monitor their participation in services and interventions.The recently launched UNICEF/ Washington Group Child Functioning Module (CFM) builds on, and improves the UNICEF 10 Question Screen for disability, and assesses functional difficulties of children aged 2-17 years in in different domains including hearing, vision, communication/ comprehension, learning, mobility and emotions. Sightsavers, and partners, recently conducted a cross-sectional survey among children aged 2-6 years attending early childhood centers in rural Malawi as part of baseline data collection for a cluster randomized control trial.

Structured Approach to Equity Analysis: MMT Madagascar Impact Evaluation​

The intervention is designed similarly to most early grade reading interventions with a focus on capacity building activities to strengthen the Madagascar Ministry of Education’s (MoE) ability to design, implement, and monitor teaching and learning materials, as well as teacher trainings. Using the Structured Questions approach, we determine the program’s impacts on different student groups and ascertain the elements of the program that are more or less equity-building. The analysis includes an examination of preexisting learning gaps between gender, demographic, and socioeconomic groups and whether specific elements of the intervention impact all groups equally.

Teacher well-being and the missing piece of the puzzle: rethinking support to teachers in contexts of conflict, crisis and fragility

In many crisis contexts teachers are working in complex classrooms with minimal support, training, supervision, materials, or compensation, while also dealing with their own experiences of trauma and displacement. Despite the recognition of the significant role teachers play in supporting the well-being and development of their learners, little attention (programmatic/research) has been paid to teachers’ own well-being in these challenging settings. An evidence-based framework for teacher well-being in crisis contexts, supported by a variety of concrete strategies and resources, is urgently needed in order to bridge this gap and transform support to teachers and learners in the some of the world’s toughest classrooms.

Published: April 2019

Author(s): Paul Frisoli, FHI360, Julia Finder, Save the Children, Charlotte Louise Bergin, Save the Children, Amy Parker, Relief International, Minna Peltola, Finn Church Aid

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Measuring Equity in Resource Allocation An Output - Based Approach

We define equity as a reassessment and redistribution of resources (human, institutional, and financial) in education with the goal of reducing or eliminating systematic inequality in outcomes. In this sense, equity is a path to achieving equality. In the simplest terms, equity is fairness, or equal opportunity to achieve the same outcomes regardless of starting conditions and barriers. This panel examines the extent to which this reassessment and redistribution of resources towards learners who have greater needs – due to their socioeconomic origin, disability status, poverty or place of residence - is taking place, on a national, regional, and global level. We will present a framework for understanding the relative magnitude of inequity, and apply it to data from education systems across the income spectrum, from OECD to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Innovations in inclusive education policy to practice: How to make inclusive education a reality in low- and middle-income contexts

“Leaving no one behind when learning starts” is a project aimed at increasing disability-inclusive investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD). More specifically, this project 1) supports strategic advocacy efforts towards increasing disability-inclusive investment in ECD, 2) increases awareness amongst parents, professionals and other relevant networks about the importance of ECD, and 3) enhances the capacities of community based rehabilitation workers to deliver improved early intervention services through better, more informed investment and funding strategies.