Teacher quality

Preliminary data

A couple of years back, while we were not really focusing on education quality but rather trying to create a functioning administrative unit to take charge of our 29 schools, we did a test with most of our teachers in order to get a first understanding of their skill levels.

The test is not standardised, not excellent, but gives a first detail of people’s qualifications.

We presented teachers with a test that required solving questions aligned with the National Liberian Curriculum, grades 1 to 8. The test started with simple items and gradually got more difficult. It was entirely paper-based, later checked with a sample solution, then entered by hand by one of my colleagues.

Fig. 1: Normalised math and English scores across highest teacher degrees

We chose Math and English up to 8th grade, because we believe this to be a basic requirement for successful teaching, and gave this test to all of our teachers, regardless of their qualification level or subjects they were teaching. Not everyone turned up, though – we had about 50% of tests returned.

Teacher qualifications comprise of:

  • High school: Teachers that never received any formal teacher training, but only completed high school
  • C (-certificate): Teachers that received typically 1 year of formal training, normally at a teacher training institute or through a mobile teacher training
  • B (-certificate): Teachers that received 2 years of formal training, often in the form of resident programs
  • AA (-degree/certificate): sometimes called Associate of Arts degree in teaching; initially issued after 3 years of formal training at a residential program; very rare after the civil war
  • B.Sc/B.A.-degree: Bachelor (of Science/ of Arts) degree from an accredited university or other accredited higher learning institution in Liberia or other countries
  • M.A./M.Sc.-degree: Master (of Science/ of Arts) degree from an accredited university or other accredited higher learning institution in Liberia or other countries

In 2016, we did not have much time to look into this – it was more of a quick idea than a real project, but it still awaits a more thorough look. For the moment, let’s understand that our teachers are motivated, yet that alone is not everything.

More will follow.

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