Mejorando el Impacto al Desempeño Estudiantil de Honduras (MIDEH-Honduras)
In 2002, the Honduran Ministry of Education (MOE) launched a new curriculum for grades K-9: the Diseño Curricular Nacional Básico, or DCNB. To support the implementation of the new curriculum in the classroom throughout the country, the AIR project, Mejorando el Impacto al Desempeño Estudiantil de Honduras (MIDEH), has developed a national testing system based on content standards in Math and Spanish. MIDEH-developed materials include:
- pacing guides that define and organize the standards to be taught and mastered month-by-month;
- monthly formative tests with a manual describing how to administer and score the tests and interpret the results; and
- a software package that allows teachers and school directors to keep a record of monthly scores.
These materials are all aligned to the new curriculum and the new official Ministry textbooks for Math and Spanish. MIDEH/AIR has also developed end-of-grade summative tests, which were administered to a national sample of approximately 400 schools in 2007, grades 1-6. In 2008, the end-of-grade tests were administered to a national sample of 1,300 schools, to a total of 180,000 students in grades 1-9, as well as to a sample of students enrolled in alternative education programs. The MOE has earmarked $1.5 million for end-of-grade summative testing at the end of the 2009 school year.
The formative testing system is designed to provide teachers with a clear and simple way to determine whether their students are attaining defined goals (the standards), and to use such information to make changes, if necessary, in the way they teach and support students. After the application of each monthly formative test, teachers enter their students' results into the record-keeping software which automatically provides them with a graph of their progress from one test to the next. Teachers are then able to see at a glance how many students are performing at the various levels (i.e., below standard, needs improvement, satisfactory, and advanced). In addition, teachers and directors can see immediately what specific standards are challenging to the students. The software tracks the progress of each class from one test to the next and provides progress charts and graphs, giving teachers a platform from which to discuss how changes could be implemented to improve learning and raise test results.
Analysis of the results from the end-of-grade summative tests has been used by the MOE senior authorities to guide policy adjustments and fine-tune teacher-training initiatives in response to weaknesses identified by test results.
The materials developed by MIDEH/AIR have been so readily accepted and implemented by teachers and authorities throughout the country that the MOE has requested MIDEH/AIR to also define standards and develop pacing guides and formative monthly tests for grades 1-9 in the natural and social sciences. To support efforts at the school level to implement this new curriculum and align materials appropriately, MIDEH/AIR has developed an interactive training program which is being reproduced and distributed to all schools in the country at the start of the 2009 school year.
As a result of MIDEH's efforts in Honduras, there is a newly emerging climate and culture based on instructionally supportive testing and collaborative discussion by teachers aimed at resolving instructional needs informed by test data, rather than by subjective impression. Continued long-term efforts in this direction will inevitably lead to significantly improved achievement results in Honduras with eventual impact on the broader social welfare of the country.