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Some $118.5 million has been set aside in the 2012/2013 Estimates of Expenditure to increase reading fluency and foundation mathematics skills in Grades One to Three at selected schools, as well as improve school performance and strengthen public/private partnership.

During the fiscal year, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Jamaica Basic Education project, being implemented by the Ministry of Education, will train teachers of trainers (ToTs) in reading module four (effective strategies for teaching reading: comprehension part 2), and co-ordinate workshops to train resource teachers islandwide; and develop checklist for administrators to monitor the use of reading standards, and continue plans for the reading conference.

It will also revise reading passages and field test comprehension questions for Early Reading Assessment Instrument (ERAI) and reformat Early Reading assessment Checklist (ERAC); and complete the development of technology modules 4 and 5, and complete the revision of technology modules one to three, and upload to project websites.

Cluster workshops will also be conducted and ToTs in technology modules three to five visit schools to support technology resource teachers in conducting workshops on technology integration.

Under the increased acquisition of foundation math skills component (Grades One to Three), an administration manual will be developed for the Early Mathematics Assessment Checklist (EMAC); a pilot test of the EMAC will be conducted and a first draft of Module Five completed. ToTs will also be trained in the delivery of this module. Items for the 2012 administration of Grades One and Two EMAI pilot will be written and tested, along with test booklets.

As it relates to improved student performance, training workshops will be conducted to build the leadership capacity of principals and teachers and principal forums continued. The website will be monitored and principals encouraged to use this medium to collaborate and strengthen each other. Project stakeholders will meet with key Ministry officials to ensure agreement on strategies to support management effectiveness; and trainers of principals identified for each region.

Up to January, sensitisation workshops were conducted in six regions; an online forum was developed, as well as reading standards for Grades One to Three; workshops conducted for ToTs in reading standards; training workshops held in reading and integrating reading and mathematics with technology; and training modules developed for Grades One to Three.

Other achievements included: the strengthening of public-private partnership through the contracting of a tax consultant to identify mechanisms to clear tax barriers for donations from various sectors to the National Education Trust.

Under the foundation mathematics skills component, project sensitisation sessions were held across all education regions; math standards were developed for Grades One to Three; administration of EMAI was organised and conducted, and the EMAI piloted in 25 schools; proficiency levels were established for Grades One, Two, and Three, and mastery levels for Grades One and Two; while training workshops were conducted in math and integrating math with technology.

 

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter