Groundbreaking Partnership Between The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning And The Gambia Yields Powerful Early Results

27 Jan, 2016, 09:05 ET from The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning

TRENTON, N.J., Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) today released a report by Hanover Research documenting early results from a groundbreaking partnership between CTL and The Gambia Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE). The aim of this partnership, funded by the World Bank, was to see if the dramatic gains in math and science student achievement seen from CTL's programs in New Jersey and other U.S. states could be replicated in West Africa.

The report shows that participating students made considerable gains on the international exam used in West Africa: the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). For example, a gain of 600% was achieved in the percent of students receiving a top score of '1' in physics (1% in 2012 to 6% in 2015), while a gain of 300% was seen in Further Mathematics (4% in 2012 to 12% in 2015). [The full report is available at: http://njc.tl/19o].

The partnership began in August 2012 through a close collaboration between the organizations.  Together they began training an initial cohort of 24 Gambian teachers in a new approach to teaching: the Progressive Science Initiative® (PSI®) and the Progressive Mathematics Initiative® (PMI®) -- programs that have demonstrated strong success in effective classroom learning and teacher training in the United States.

PSI and PMI engage both teachers and students through the integration of pedagogy, curriculum and assessment through the use of modern classroom technology. Interactive white boards and student polling devices facilitate the use of CTL's free open source curriculum materials to create highly collaborative classrooms.

The results are so promising that plans are in the works to expand the program to grades 7-12 throughout The Gambia.  Further building upon the program's success, CTL has also recently entered a contract with MoBSE to provide fast track digital content development of English Language Arts (ELA).

Baboucarr Bouy, Permanent Secretary of MoBSE said, "The program has proven to be very effective in improving students' interest in mathematics and science. This positive outcome could be explained by the socio-constructivist approach to pedagogy employed in the program. This approach brings to bear a perfect balance of the instrumental and experiential aspects of teaching and learning that keep the learners active, engaged and aware of their progress as it avails them the opportunity to assess themselves as individuals or as a group. It also provides them with the ego and stamina to work either independently or as a group for a longer period of time without getting bored."

Dr. Robert Goodman, CTL Executive Director said, "We could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in The Gambia.  It is inspiring to see how teachers across the country are making the science and mathematics pedagogy their own -- and engaging their students to reach new levels of understanding and achievement.  We hope that this new approach will prove helpful for many more countries throughout Africa and the world."

Ryoko Tomita, World Bank Task Team Leader of The Gambia Education and Economist, says "PSI-PMI is an innovative approach and the pilot program has been working well in The Gambia -- the students participating in the courses are enthusiastic about math and science now.  We are excited about the development of ELA, which is expected to improve learning outcomes of English in grades 7-12." 

About MoBSE
MoBSE's objective is to provide access, quality and relevant education to children living in The Gambia regardless of their creed, religion or race. It is this drive to achieve quality education that prompted MoBSE to partner with CTL and embrace its PSI-PMI pedagogy in order to improve the quality of mathematics and science education in The Gambia.

About the World Bank
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It is not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development.  Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington D.C. and comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.

About CTL:
The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to empower teachers to lead change so that all children have access to a high quality education.

CTL believes the best way to improve education is to invest in teachers by creating changes that make their work less isolated, simpler, more effective, and less stressful. This belief has propelled CTL to an unparalleled track record in rapidly increasing the supply of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers and advancing student STEM attainment. The New Jersey Education Association created the organization in 2007; and its support and participation continues today.

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SOURCE The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning