“Inputs alone, while important, are not sufficient,” said John Floretta, associate director of policy for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). That was a major thrust of an August 12 webinar titled “Moving Beyond Inputs: Lessons from Models to Improve Early Grade Reading Outcomes in Developing Countries.” The webinar was hosted by the Global Reading Network.
Drawing on a large body of randomized evaluations around student learning in a number of countries, Floretta and colleagues Meagan Neal and Luke Strathmann noted that the findings have led them to believe in a model with these elements: initial skills assessment, divide classrooms by ability rather than grade level, and focus on basic skills rather than rigid curriculum.
The presenters discussed two models that are ready for scaling after years of small-scale implementation. One involves learning camps and village volunteers. The other is a teacher-led model with government teachers. The presenters concluded that when you use inputs in a smarter, more targeted way, they can be effective in increasing student learning levels.