Mission and Vision
A summary of randomized evaluations on Teaching at the Right Level can be found on J-PAL’s website here
Teaching at the Right Level, pioneered by Pratham, aims to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills of primary school students in grades 3–5. Supported by a USAID DIV Stage 3 grant, the Zambian Ministry of General Education, in partnership with UNICEF, J-PAL Africa, Pratham, and IPA Zambia, will roll out implementation of TaRL model adapted for Zambia, supported by teachers across all government and community schools.
How does your innovation work?
In schools, TaRL provides children in the middle grades of primary (Grades 3-5) with a dedicated time to focus on learning basic skills. The intervention follows these steps:
1. Teachers assess learners in literacy and numeracy on a one-to-one basis using a simple assessment tool.
2. Learners are regrouped based on their ability level rather than grade or age.
3. During a dedicated time set aside by the school, learners are taught in those groups using learner-centred activities and are regrouped as they make progress.
4. Teachers are supported by visits by mentors, who participate in lessons, give feedback and advice to teachers, and check assessments of learners.
5. Mentors meet at regular intervals to discuss performance in schools and how to tackle challenges they are facing.
Rigorous evidence shows that lack of basic skills in learners in grade 3-5 can be overcome by regrouping children according to their performance level instead of age or grade for a period of the day in order to focus on basic skills. This is known as Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL). Regrouping by performance level allows teachers to pitch their lessons to the level of the child, which enables children to absorb the lesson and acquire basic skills. By regrouping children and recapping basic skills, children quickly rise through the levels. Research by J-PAL affiliated professors show that this program, when implemented well, is effective across time, place and implementation models.
- Duflo, Esther; Dupas, Pascaline; and Kremer, Michael (2011): Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomised Evaluation in Kenya. American Economic Review. 101(5): 1739-74.
- Banerjee, Abhijit; Banerji, Rukmini; Duflo, Esther; Glennerster, Rachel and Khemani, Stuti: (2010) "Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence from a Randomised Evaluation in Education in India." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. 2(1): 1-30.
- Banerjee, Abhijit; Cole, Shawn; Duflo, Esther; and Linden, Leigh. (2007). “Remedying Education: Evidence from Randomised Experiments in India.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 1235-1264.
- “Evaluation of Government of Harayana’s Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation Scheme and Learning Enhancement Program” Preliminary Results, July 2013. Working Paper.
Planned Goals and Milestones
The scale up in Zambia over the next three years will be in the two pilot provinces, Eastern Province and Southern Province, reaching around 1,800 schools. By covering all schools and all districts in those provinces, the Ministry will be able to tell the impact of the intervention in those locations. In 2018 the intervention will expand to a total of six districts in each province, and in 2019 will be in 9 or 10 districts in each province. The districts targeted for expansion first will be those who have the lowest learning levels.