SABER currently is developing several new diagnostic tools, including
- the SABER Service Delivery survey to analyze the functioning of individual schools,
- a new classroom observation tool called TEACH to better understand teacher practices in the classroom,
- the In-Service Teacher Training Survey Instrument (ITTSI) to analyze teacher development programs, and
- the Education System Snapshot to understand the core drivers of education system performance.
These new tools are already being applied in pilot countries to provide assessments of classroom-level education service delivery, giving policymakers a detailed look at how education services are working in practice.
SABER Service Delivery is an initiative to uncover bottlenecks that inhibit student learning in low- and middle-income countries. A school survey collects strategic information on the school inputs and processes that produce learning outcomes. The survey aims to capture how well polices are being implemented and practiced at the district and school level. As a global initiative, SABER Service Delivery survey provides data for the new global lead indicator on learning, making it easier to monitor the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal of achieving universal primary education. The Service Delivery tool has been piloted over the 2017 fiscal year and the completed tool will be available in the fiscal year 2018.
The Service Delivery tool is aligned to the latest education research on what matters for student learning and how to best measure it. Conceptually, it is an extension of the SABER framework, which aims to reveal the mechanisms through which inputs are transformed into outcomes. The SABER Service Delivery tool builds on the evidence base and captures policy implementation measures from the core SABER domains of Education Management Information Systems, Education Resilience, School Autonomy and Accountability, School Finance, Student Assessment, and Teachers. This information provides a diagnostic that assesses the functionality and state of a given education system and that is informed by recent research on classroom practices, school leadership and management practices, teacher pedagogical content knowledge, and the role of the home environment and parental involvement.
The SABER Service Delivery tool is designed to support operations initiatives geared at improving the quality of education service delivery and ultimately learning outcomes. SABER Service Delivery has informed operations in Pakistan’s Punjab province, Laos, and Afghanistan.
As part of the World Bank’s effort to ensure that every classroom has a competent, supported, and motivated teacher, the SABER-Teachers team has developed TEACH, an open source classroom observation tool to capture what’s happening in classrooms around the world.
Unlike other classroom observation tools, TEACH was created with developing countries in mind and can be applied across a wide range of classrooms – from the poorest parts of Afghanistan and Mozambique to the highest performing districts in Vietnam and Uruguay. Moreover, TEACH has been validated in low and middle-income countries to produce reliable and consistent data that measures the quality of instructional practices and student-teacher interactions across contexts. What further distinguishes TEACH is its emphasis on how teachers develop students’ social and emotional skills in addition to standard pedagogic instructional practices. Because of funding from the SABER-Umbrella Facility, TEACH is free, open-source, and can be easily adopted in a variety of contexts with no intellectual property restraints.
The tool is intended to be used by researchers, as well as principals, pedagogical advisors, coaches, and inspectors. Thus far, a full-scale pilot has been conducted in Punjab, Pakistan the Philippines and will soon be done in Uruguay, Mozambique, and Afghanistan. This pilot in Punjab integrates TEACH’s findings into the government’s professional development program. In addition, a small-scale pilot has been conducted in eight additional countries using videos from the SABER-Teachers international video library. The final product is expected to launch in June 2018 — with the goal of bringing countries one step closer to learning for all.
This content is an excerpt from the working paper “Global Landscape of Teacher Professional Development Programs: The Gap between Evidence and Practice,” by Anna Popova, David K. Evans, Mary E. Breeding, and Violeta Arancibia
With dramatic increases in access to education across the developing world in recent years, policy focus has at least partially shifted towards improving education quality. Aside from student socioeconomic factors, teachers have been argued to be the most important determinant of student learning. Furthermore, in a recent review of the education literature, improving pedagogy so that it is more directed to individual student levels – an action that depends significantly on teachers either carrying out formative assessments or targeting instruction – was among the most recommended interventions for improving student learning.
In-service teacher professional development is important to evaluate even beyond the promising evidence from a collection of evaluations, which show that it can – when designed correctly – improve student learning. Teacher professional development is a kind of training, but that training can take many forms ranging from traditional, government-mandated mass training programs to teacher pedagogical support groups headed by coaches or mentors that provide needs-based, embedded support. Significant government and donor resources are funneled into training programs. Among the 171 World Bank projects with education components between 2000 and 2012, nearly two-thirds included professional development to support teachers. Despite the significant resources spent on in-service teacher training programs, rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of such programs remains limited. Overall, evidence for the small share of programs that have been evaluated is mixed, and it is often reported that most current teacher education programs are outdated and over-theoretical. At the same time, many evaluations fail to provide sufficient details on the actual content or delivery mechanisms of the trainings to inform the design of successful programs.
Nonetheless, there is a sizeable evidence gap when it comes to whether resources spent on in-service teacher professional development are improving learning, partly owing to a lack of instruments designed to measure teacher professional development. Currently, there is no instrument that can capture the step between teacher policy design and teachers’ classroom practice; that is, how teachers are actually trained and which specific components of this training effectively improve teacher behavior and subsequently student learning. A new survey instrument – the In-Service Teacher Training Survey Instrument (ITTSI) – will document the design and implementation details of in-service teacher training programs, providing data that can be used to create new programs or improve existing ones.
The System Snapshot is a tool for rapid education system assessment, which allows for a cost-effective analysis of the policies around the core drivers of the system and its alignment and interactions to deliver education services. The approach includes analysis of the ideologies that intervene in functional areas in education, towards a solutions-orientated new option that realigns components of SABER into cross-cutting themes, in addition to domains. The System Snapshot tool would attempt to cover gaps in existing SABER-policy intent tools, support country strategic engagement through a rapid and flexible overarching tool that can better inform operational dialogue, and guide in-depth applications at the domain level. In applying systems theory to the education system, the success of a system depends on the effectiveness of interactions within that system. Against this backdrop, six cross-cutting themes and drivers have been identified - derived from SABER’s domains, taking into consideration the critical value of interactions that ultimately determine the success or failure of a system, including: Governance and leadership; Standards and norms; Resources and expertise; Information, Evidence and feedback; Delivery of services and instructions and management relationships; and Accountability and quality assurance. Each theme integrates policy levers from across SABER domains, enabling full-system analysis and coherent interventions. The themes specifically assess essential system dynamics and interactions, providing an opportunity to operationalize a more cost-effective, systems-level, actionable approach for country decision-makers.
To date, SABER has completed the tool construct and the approach in the education system assessment utilizing meta-analysis and the SABER domains frameworks. The tool is currently being piloted and is expected to be finalized in the next coming months.