Evaluation of School Readiness in Gujarat & Karnataka

Central Square Foundation (CSF), piloted two 40-day accelerated school readiness programs in government schools Karnataka and Gujarat, in association with the departments of education, Akshara Foundation and UNICEF, covering 5000 children in class 1. The programs aimed to build competencies necessary for a child to adjust in a school environment and keep pace with the primary school curriculum.

Development Solutions evaluated the two programs to assess change in school readiness among children and understand stakeholder perspectives and challenges in implementation. The objective of the intervention is to equip teachers with the skills, knowledge and the right mindset to enable the five to six-year-old students to be school ready. To enable this, a baseline and end-line assessment were undertaken in the beginning and at the end of the 40 days program.

Objectives

The program evaluation aims to:

  1. Assess change in learning outcomes and school readiness among students who have undergone the program, as compared to those who have not undergone the program.
  2. Understand stakeholder perspectives on the program, challenges in implementation and recommendations for scale-up.

Approach and methodology

A Quasi-Experimental study design was used to compare school readiness, among children of Grade 1, in intervention and control schools, before and after the program. The School Readiness Instrument, adapted by Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), from the World Bank School Readiness Instrument (SRI), was used to assess children’s cognitive, pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills.
In Karnataka, a total 560 students in Grade 1, 373 from intervention schools and 187 from control schools were sampled; and the instrument administered was at baseline and end-line. In Gujarat, the same was undertaken with 660 students, 400 from intervention and 260 from control schools.
Qualitative interactions were undertaken with key stakeholders to understand perspectives on the pilot program, process of implementation, challenges in implementation and perceived impact of the program. Key informant interviews were undertaken with teachers and headmasters in intervention schools and with block resource coordinators and other officials from the department of education, overseeing the implementation of the program. Classroom observations were undertaken to understand the implementation of the program in the classrooms and student’s engagement.

Results

The evaluation documented the implementation process, while outlining stakeholder perspectives on the program curriculum, teacher training, teaching learning materials, program implementation in schools, and systems of monitoring and feedback. The quantitative analysis presented the change in student performance on the domains of pre-math and number concepts, cognitive and conceptual concepts and pre-literacy and language concepts. Please read more on the program and evaluation results here -

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