Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Basic Education curriculum effectiveness in East Africa: A descriptive analysis of primary mathematics in Uganda using the ‘Surveys of Enacted Curriculum’

Atuhurra, Julius and Alinda, Violet (2018): Basic Education curriculum effectiveness in East Africa: A descriptive analysis of primary mathematics in Uganda using the ‘Surveys of Enacted Curriculum’.

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Abstract

For most school-going children in many developing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa today for whom schooling is not translating into actual learning, the question regarding the true value of education remains unanswered. Can the use of descriptive curriculum analytics impact teachers’ in-class instructional decisions as to lead to improved opportunities for children’s learning? Recent evidence from citizen-led annual learning assessments conducted in the three East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda reveal extremely low learning gains as children progress through school, starting in the very early grades where they are expected to acquire foundational competences. Whereas several factors have been studied, there is shockingly very little evidence on basic education curricula effectiveness in East Africa. Twaweza East Africa has adapted the ‘Surveys of Enacted Curriculum’ SEC framework to analyze basic education curricula effectiveness in the region. In this study, we developed a subject taxonomy for primary-level Mathematics in Uganda – one of four core learning areas – and analyzed the distribution of relative emphases in the standards, classroom instruction, and assessments. We conclude that the lack of nationally-agreed well-thought subject-specific comprehensive taxonomies likely translates into content coverage inconsistencies that might deter achievement of planned progressive learning across grades. We find no clear evidence of a systematic emphasis structure on developing learner performance expectations as they progress across grades. Our analyses also reveal low alignment indices between standards and national assessments, and between standards and classroom instruction. Finally, we find evidence of content delivery disparities between lower primary teachers in rural versus urban school settings, which disparities likely disadvantage rural children from early on thus making it hard for them to master the basic competences required for progress to higher grades

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