Monitoring and Evaluating Improvement
The long-term impact we want to see is each school realising its vision for itself and its community. We know that when schools sense that they are beginning to make progress towards goals they have generated, school improvement not only accelerates but becomes self-sustaining – that is a lasting change and a powerful legacy.
Measuring outcomes and determining impact on those outcomes is complex. The Aprender Education Development Foundation use the following outcomes defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (UNSDG4) as a basis for its evaluation criteria:
4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.
4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
4.C By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States
We use the guidance in Organizational Psychology by Carrie Foster to help determine our part in outcomes. They are:
Time-order effect: The training and development must precede the outcome. The training and support through Aprender occur before the impact in the measured outcomes occurs.
Strength of association: There is a correlation between the desired outcome and the training and development. For instance, there should be a trend between those who participated in the training, and the corresponding increase in a measured outcome. This is true in our case, with desired outcomes impacting the students and staff of our schools where we have been able to gather key indicators.
Exclusion of alternate explanations: There should be no other major explanation attributed to the outcome except for that of Aprender’s training and development. We are aware that in some of our schools the staff did receive some additional training through other organisations, but these were small interventions and did not duplicate our main work.
Our processes of monitoring and evaluation enable us to better understand the contributions Aprender has made to positive changes in the communities where we work, and how we can continue to build local capacity for improvement in the future.