PRIMR seeks to improve reading and math abilities in Standards 1 and 2. The program is implemented by RTI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST), CFBT, World-Reader and SIL.
PRIMR is currently implemented in 1300 schools across 7 counties in Kenya, the schools represent low-cost private schools and government schools in slum areas, urban areas and rural areas covering both low-income and middle-income households.
The program is organized to help teachers change their instructional activities, and supports them throughout the change process. As such, the program focuses on three key strands:
· Reading and Math lesson sequencing and instructional materials
· Teacher training
PRIMR undertook research to develop a sequence of high quality reading lessons (in both Kiswahili and English) and Math lessons. Lessons follow the national syllabus with emphasis on child-centered learning. PRIMR provide instructional materials to teachers including, lesson plans and scripts, pupil workbooks and textbooks. In Kisumu region instructional materials were piloted using e-readers.
PRIMR places great emphasis on training the teachers. Coaches and tutors model best practices, observe lessons, and provide feedback to teachers. This process was also piloted using tablets, which were shown to be more effective. As part of teacher professional development, monthly cluster meetings provide teachers a space where they can receive feedback and discuss any issues they face in reaching the ultimate goal of improving their practice. The per pupil costs of PRIMR are low but the effect on teachers change is high.
The third approach of PRIMR is a strong focus on assessing both teachers and pupils. Through standardized assessment and continuous observation, PRIMR seek to provide evidence of what works and enhance education policies. Monitoring and Evaluation is a critical element of PRIMR as the implementers recognize it as an iterative process to constantly review what works and thus provide evidence which takes into account cost and thus options for policy.
RTI and the MOEST are looking to scale up the program in 2014 and implement it nationally.
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CEI approaches in actionSchool supportTeacher trainingTeaching materials (teaching guides, lesson plans, etc.)Teacher evaluationStudent assessment and progressPolicy & AnalysisMath/numeracyEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue language
Model details2011Not-for-profitLiteracyMath/numeracyEnglish languageLocal language/Mother tongue languageLong-term projectSIL 50%50%
Target counties were chosen to include areas representing low-income households. However specific zones and schools within the counties were randomly selected, thus represent a variety of income levels.
TechnologyTablet or e-readerOtherAssessment and observation materials for tracking teacher and student performance
Currently implementing PRIMR in 1300 schools across 7 counties in KenyaJanuary, 2014
The program has been designed to increase in size and learn from the expansion process. The 2012 year started with 126 schools in 10 zones and clusters, the numbers have dramatically increased since then.
The program was launched in August 2011 with funding from USAID. Funding from DFID came in January 2013. The program has been designed to increase in size while simultaneously learning from the expansion process.
No replication thus far, though programs focused on improving literacy results in lower primary at scale exist in many countries, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Liberia and Zambia.
USAID/Kenya and DFID/Kenya have plans to scale up the PRIMR program to a national level during the 2014 academic year. The scale-up will cover 22,000 public schools across Kenya, as well as 1000 low cost private schools in the informal settlements in urban areas.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
A baseline study was completed in both Math and Reading. The EGRA and EGMA instruments are adapted for Kenya and equated with previous versions to assess standardized pupil attainment. Results from January 2012 showed that less than 5% of pupils could read at the expected level. In many counties, more than 40% of pupils in Class 2 were unable to read a word of Class 1 text.
PRIMR monitor implementation of the program with regular classroom observations conducted by PRIMR mentors. Qualitative and qualitative data is collected on enrollment, attendance and retention as well as pupil engagement and behaviour. PRIMR have a pupil questionnaire to assess poverty levels of pupils.
The 2012 assessment of PRIMR focused on cost-effectiveness of the program. It examined the per pupil costs in PRIMR and the current system. Similarly, the ICT pilot program implemented in Kisumu county compared the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three ICT options with random selection and random assignment of schools. Initial analyses showed that all three ICT programs were statistically significantly better than the controlTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentYes
Standardized Assessment Performance - Literacy | EGRA (several tasks in four languages, letter sound fluency, syllable fluency, non-word decoding fluency, oral reading fluency of connected text, reading comprehension, Maze comprehension, listening comprehension, phonemic awareness segmenting and vocabulary)
Standardized Assessment Performance - Numeracy | EGMA (number identification fluency, addition fluency, subtraction fluency, missing number identification, quantity discrimination, word problems, addition with carrying, subtraction with borrowing.
Internal Assessment Performance - Literacy | Simplified version of the EGRA
Internal Assessment Performance - Numeracy | Simplified version of the EGRA
A pupil questionnaire given at each assessment. Currently a survey of pupils in urban areas is taking place, regarding their decisions to use low-cost private schools (or not).
The 2012 assessment of PRIMR examined the per pupil costs in PRIMR and the current system. The results showed that the PRIMR books cost about 20%-30% of the books currently available on the market, though the books are printed at the same printers and are longer in length. As a result, even including the training and support costs to PRIMR, the per pupil expenditures are lower in PRIMR than they are in the existing system.