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Devising New Models for School Improvement in Developing Nations: Sierra Leone, a case study

MASON, MIRIAM,THERESA (2019) Devising New Models for School Improvement in Developing Nations: Sierra Leone, a case study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Background and Introduction: This research describes the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of a (Continuous Professional Development & Learning) CPDL-based programme for schools in Sierra Leone, a low-income country with low educational standards.
Aims: The research aimed to: (i) assess evidence of EducAid schools’ effectiveness; (ii) identify features of EducAid practice that government schools might adopt; (iii) design a CPDL programme for Sierra Leonean teachers; (iv) report the programme’s impact on students’ progress; (v) explore the possibility of programme delivery by local and largely untrained teachers; (vi) throw light on aspects of the programme that participants saw as strengths and weaknesses.
Design and Methods: Within an innovative quasi-experimental design, an impact evaluation drew on data from five intervention and ten comparison schools, and a process evaluation drew on data on information from programme participants and the trainers. The impact evaluation was based on public exam results, literacy test scores and attendance data collected pre- and post-CPDL. Process data included information from lesson observations, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a post-intervention evaluation workshop.
Results: The impact evaluation showed larger improvements in student attendance and literacy test results in the intervention schools than in the comparison schools. The process evaluation identified challenges in embedding changes in pedagogic practice, and in data collection. However, it also identified consistent evidence of improvements in student behaviour. These were supported by head teachers and community groups and were seen as a necessary but not sufficient condition for the literacy score improvements.
Discussion and Conclusions: Discussion focuses on how far the six aims were met and on how the research adds to understanding of CPDL and school improvement in a low-income country. The impossibility of randomisation in sample selection prevents any strong causal claims for the CPDL’s impact. The possibility of a larger scale roll-out is considered, subject to changes in the programme suggested by the process evaluation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:School improvement; Sierra Leone; West Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Education; CPD;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Nov 2019 12:21

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