Today, we started to assess the students who started with the project last year. These students are in standard 2 (grade 2) now and are making tremendous progress, in general. We did our first round of assessment of the students in grade one in June 2013. I used this data to determine who needed Tier 3 services and Tier 2 services based on a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. The NGO provided Tier 3 services to a group of students based on their needs exhibited in the general education classroom and on their assessment scores. The classroom teacher offered after-school and vacation time tutoring to students who needed Tier 2 services. The Toa Nafasi students were retested after six months of Tier 3 services and one year of services. These services included small group and individual tutoring in various subjects and group games to promote executive functioning and social skills.
For more information on the RTI model see: http://www.rtinetwork.org/essential/tieredinstruction
Or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkK1bT8ls0M from AtlasInitative.org
The missing link in the Tanzanian system is that it does not offer evidence-based practice or any level of differentiation for Tier 1 students in the general education classroom. The teachers we are working with are aware of the issues and would like to do more, but have trouble with so many children in the classroom and limited pedagogical options with this situation. The teacher shortage in Tanzania is a real issue.
We will finish all the assessments for the third time on our first cohort and see what type of progress they have made since the first and second assessments. As with any project, a few students have moved and a few students have already been sent to a special school because of their needs. We tested 21 the first time, 18 the second time, and are testing16 this time.