I assume that we all remember the first little tests that we had at school when we were kids. Well, if you don’t, I know I do - I can still see my teacher telling us at the end of the class: “Tomorrow we have a little test, nothing to worry about, just read the last three lessons we had and it will be fine”. Well as a kid, I didn't bother thinking about whether it was useful or not, productive or not… I just knew I had to do it. But now, several years later (and as a teacher), I know why our teachers did it and how useful it was for them to see if we actually understood what they were teaching us.
Well in Mkwiro, it has been more
than 8 months since we started holding small, regular tests for the pupils of Mkwiro Primary School. We recorded each and
every test in order to see the evolution of the grades and get a good idea of
where we needed to place more focus when teaching our classes.
At the beginning, the students did not really understand what we were
doing since they were not used to having this kind of testing (all standards
have 3 full days of exams at the end of each quarter but no regular testing
throughout the year). I thought that it was going to be hard to keep on
assessing each standard but it was more a question of how to organize the
lessons while having tests. The pupils got used to it and after a couple of
times, the discipline started improving during the testing.
We recently started analysing the results. It is not necessarily easy to
do considering that they don’t depend only on the teaching but on the
environment, the topics tested and the state of minds of the pupils etc.
However, we are very happy to see that all standards ‘averages have improved
during the last eight months and are now above 50% (which is the passing
score). Moreover, the girls are performing very well,
sometimes even better than the boys (which is not the norm in the district).
So, even if it is hard to scientifically analyse school results we can
be proud to see that all our efforts were useful. We will continue with regular
testing and monitoring student progress over the coming year.
|Mishal and Julie monitor the pupils during a test|
|Some of the pupils completed test papers|
|Our results analysis|
|GVI analysis of student performance - notice the improvement!|
Julie Barrot De Brito – Community Field Staff