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In rural India, half of village children can’t read or understand math at a level appropriate to their age and grade. This disparity in education creates ripples through society; it reinforces poverty and lack of opportunity.
This disparity in education creates ripples through society; it reinforces poverty and lack of opportunity. Pratham, a 2011 Skoll Awardee, focuses on high-quality, low-cost, replicable interventions to bridge these gaps in education and improve outcomes for Indian children.
Skoll Editor Zach Slobig recently sat down with Shivani Garg Patel and Joony Moon to hear more about their trip and the latest interventions that Pratham has developed:
It’s now been over a year since Pratham began scale-up of their Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) model, an approach that involves evaluating children with a simple assessment tool and then providing instruction according to learning level rather than age or grade.
While Pratham implements TaRL across a number of different grades, we were able to visit its work with children in grades 3-5, of whom many lack even the most basic reading and arithmetic skills. They get an initial assessment to determine their true level of learning, after which groups are formed, and teachers use level-appropriate methods and materials that students can actually comprehend and find engaging.
In these communities, there’s limited consistency in teaching quality and you have different levels of student knowledge and proficiency. So, the groupings will start at the most basic level. For example, students will be asked, “can you recognize this letter?” Additional groups to those who recognize letters will be around those who can read words, sentences and full paragraphs. As the Pratham intervention proceeds, they see students move from group to group. They take a similar grouping approach with math.
-Shivani Garg Patel
Rigorous data collection over the course of the 60-day supplementary learning program—developed and honed by Pratham but implemented by government teachers—allows teachers and government officials to track improvements from baseline results to midline and endline assessments.
Their interventions have both shown impact and shaped policy.