x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Maths and literacy to be tracked

Teachers at a state primary school in Abu Dhabi are being trained to implement an assessment system.

Almost 200 teachers at state primary schools in Abu Dhabi are being trained to implement an assessment system that tests pupils' literacy and maths skills.

The computerised tests - dubbed the Performance Indicators for Primary Schools, or Pips - were developed by Durham University's School of Education and Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).

The assessments were translated into Arabic in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) last year.

They were also adjusted to ensure they were suitable for Emirati children, said Professor Robert Coe, the director of CEM at Durham University.

KG 1 pupils were the first to take the Pips test in November and December. Kindergarten staff were trained last November.

Since then, Adec has assessed more than 25,000 students from 166 public schools across KG 1, KG 2, Grade 1 and Grade 2. The tests showed that Adec's KG2 pupils were performing at the same standard as children of a similar age in Australia.

There was also a steady growth recorded in children's English language and mathematical abilities from KG 2 to Grade 2.

Adec officials said the results give an indication of each pupil's skill level when they enter school and measures their growth in numeracy and literacy as they progress through the system.

Tracking such skill development, Adec said, was a vital factor in improving learning in Cycle 1 schools.

Prof Coe said Pips would help Adec senior management, too.

"It can assist with monitoring of school-wide interventions, help identify areas of teaching and learning to target for improvement, and aid with the allocation of scarce resources," he said.

The aim is to have pupils take the tests once a year - from KG 1 to Grade 5 - to track their general literacy, linguistic awareness and mathematics skills.

The latest round of Pips training began last week in Al Ain and is due to conclude today in Al Gharbia for an additional 186 primary school teachers.

Adec asked schools to nominate one IT teacher and one school coordinator for training on how to conduct the tests and keep records.

With the newly trained staff, schools will be ready to roll out the tests to more grades, Adec said.