The remedial teaching programme, SuccessMaker, is to be introduced into another set of primary schools to help improve numeracy and literacy levels.
Building on the successes of SuccessMaker when it was introduced into the Information Communication Technology (ICT) laboratories of 70 primary schools across the country, the Ministry of Education is now moving to introduce the digital mathematic and reading programme into another 18 schools.
Innovative and Communication Technology (ICT) Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Marcia Thomas said that the software will tested in Meter-Meer-Zorg Primary, Region Three; Mon-Repos, Enterprise and Grove Primary Schools, Region Four; Cumberland, Rose Hall Town, Corriverton, Crabwood Creek, Number 68 Village and Cotton Tree Primary Schools, Region Six and; West Ruimveldt, Graham’s Hall, Regma, St Margaret’s, Ketley, St Pius, St. Stephens and East La Penitence Primary Schools in Georgetown. The schools’ ICT labs were prepared to support the programme.
“What were are going to do with these 18 schools is (to) make them pilot the software just to ensure that what we say it can do, is happening,” Thomas explained.
The SuccessMaker software was originally rolled out in 70 schools during the period 2009 to 2012. It targeted students from Grades One to Three. Thomas said that based on results, it is clear that the programme raises the numeracy and literacy levels among underperforming students and this is what the ministry is hoping to replicate.
Thomas recalled that in the earlier roll-out, slow learners were targeted in a very systematic approach. “Every day they went to the labs. They spent 30 minutes in the labs and they did the success maker; numeracy and literacy,” she explained.
According to the coordinator, the ministry tracked the children’s learning over a period of five years from Grade One to Grade Six and have seen them transitioning from slow learners to Queens College students. “I can tell you that the children that we tracked and the schools that worked the system perfectly, we saw schools like Kawall Primary in West Bank Demerara receiving their first Queen College under that project…we also saw that happen in Linden, in Wismar….” Thomas said.
A number of challenges were identified during the initial programme and the lessons learnt would help guide the roll out of this next phase.
Thomas said that the software will be introduced into the 18 new schools in a controlled way.
She said that that this time, the Ministry will be seeking to have full buy-in of the school’s management for the implementation of the project.
“We have schools like Comenius (Moravian Primary) that’s still working, schools like Vryheid lust…Once the school management buys into the programme, the programme works, but you have to get buy in,” Thomas said. She recalled that there were some schools in the original project that, “never even opened their labs because the teachers were not comfortable with the use of the software.”
Another earlier challenge with the SuccessMaker was the maintenance of equipment. Thomas explained that in this phase, the Ministry will target the training of resource personnel to manage and work along with teachers so that the programme can be incorporated in to the schools timetable.
Two teachers from each school will also be trained in Introduction to SuccessMaker Software. They will also receive basic ICT training as well as participate in discussions of the goals, objectives, benefits and expectations of the SuccessMaker project as well as understanding the implementation schedule.
Meanwhile, for those schools involved in the earlier phase that have not been using the programme because the teachers have not been thoroughly trained in the use the software as an intervention for low performing students, Thomas explained that the plan is to go back and retrain the teachers and to retool the schools.
The SuccessMaker programme uses student’s answers to identify their needs and assign material that addresses those needs.
It allows for children in the same grade or classroom to work at different difficulty levels depending on their understanding of the material.