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Evaluation report

2003 MCD: Evaluation of the Interactive Learning Project



Author: Riley, K.; Docking, J.; Giffen, J.; Tilley-Riley, J.

Executive summary

Background:

Macedonia retains a traditional top-down educational system, inherited from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and has a range of difficulties associated with transition economies that have led to a drastic decrease in economic activity in Macedonia. Both the World Bank and the OECD have conducted reviews of the educational context and challenges in Macedonia, concluding that the Macedonian educational system imposes detailed directives on the schools from the national ministry which, in turn, means that the regional and local authorities tend to focus on compliance with rules and standards.

The history of the Interactive Learning Project (ILP) goes back a decade and was a response to the broader educational challenges in Macedonia, and the need for more child-centred approaches. The Project - which receives financial support from UNICEF, guidance and support from the Ministry of Education and Science and (the then) Pedagogical Institute of Macedonia (now the Bureau of Educational Development) - began as a Pilot Scheme involving four 4 schools. By 1999, it had grown to a network of 75 schools and is currently being expanded across schools in Macedonia. Previous evaluations have identified high levels of teacher enthusiasm, as well as recommending practical ways to strengthen the Project.

Purpose/Objective:

The terms of reference of the evaluation were to:

  • Make a comparative assessment of the classroom practice of schools involved in the Project, comparing the progress to length of involvement in the Project;\
  • Identify and assess the impact on teaching and learning processes;
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Project;
  • Assess the effectiveness of the range of networks involved;
  • Recommend adjustments to improve the quality and sustainability of the Project;
  • Provide policy recommendations to Government.

Methodology:

The evaluation team undertook the following activities:

  • A review of relevant documentation; 
  • A Teachers' Questionnaire: 1126 questionnaires (731 translated into Macedonian, and 395 into Albanian) were distributed to staff in 93 schools. 720 completed questionnaires were returned (a response rate of 63.0%).;
    School-based discussions with 77 teachers in eleven Project schools throughout the country;
  • Classroom observations of 34 lessons in those 11 Project schools;
  • Discussions with key personnel involved in supporting the Project.

Findings and Conclusions:

The evaluation showed that the Inter-active Learning project had a positive impact on the way teachers teach and children learn. Teachers report the benefits they have received from training and from opportunities to observe good practices. Their professional development from working together with other teachers and sharing their thinking and planning are significant. Over 90% agreed that teachers at their school were continually learning and seeking new ideas from each other, while between 77% and 87% agreed that their school encouraged new thinking and practices, that teachers regularly discussed IAL goals and also shared experiences of the project with colleagues in other schools. There are some excellent examples of good classroom practices and rich learning environments in schools that are well established in the project; however, even within these schools, there are significant differences across classes. Over 90% of the teachers agreed - at least to some extent - that boys and girls participated equally in class discussions (78% strongly agreed) - but only half thought the students were confident in class discussions. 53% said that their school uses parents to help in making policy decisions at least once every three months, and 20% said this happens at least monthly.

Recommendations:

  • Reinforce existing teacher resource centres (BDE) and establish new ones;
  • Strengthen supervision and increase the opportunities to observe project schools with good practices;
  • Formulate didactical and practical instructions for teachers on how to involve parents in the education process, how to carry out visits to local sites, how to offer to pupils the possibilities of learning through discovery and problem solving, and how to organise activities according to pupil's interest and their individual potential;
  • Develop the school as a force for change;
  • Resolve system issues, such as leadership and management of schools, quality teachers, mentorship and development of teachers' own progress, etc.;
  • Develop a small research project on what makes an effective school, an effective director and an effective teacher in the Macedonian context.


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Report information

Date:
2003

Region:
CEE/CIS

Country:
Macedonia

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Education - Participatory Learning

Partners:

Ministry of Education and Science, Bureau of Educational Development

PIDB:

Follow-up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2003/002

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