Classroom Teaching Programs Have a Positive Impact!

May 2013
In Spring 2011, Stepping Stones started a class-teaching program in grades 3, 4, and 5 at a Migrant Primary School in Minhang District (the School). Stepping Stones surveyed the same students prior to the start of the class-teaching program in Spring 2011 and one year after the start of their participation, at the end of Spring 2012, to measure the impact of the program on the interest and confidence of the student, with respect to English.
Key findings from the report include:
1. The percentage of students who answered that English was their favorite subject increased by 43.6% from 32.72% to 47%. Similarly, the percentage of students who listed English as their least favorite subject decreased by 87.1% from 26.73% to 14.29%, showing an overall improvement in the students’ interest in English.
2. The percentage of students who liked learning English increased from 57.3% to 69.8%, increasing by 21.8%.
For questions pertaining to confidence in English and perception of English difficulty, Stepping Stones conducted an alternative analysis, where the responses of the students at the start of Spring 2011 and at the end of Spring 2012 from the same grade levels were the ones compared, even if the students being compared are not the same. This is because of the common phenomenon that students’ sense of confidence decreases as they grow older and the reality that the difficulty of academic subjects, including English, become more difficult from one grade level to the next. Key findings from this alternative analysis include:
1. The percentage of students that are confident to complete their English homework correctly increased from 65.9% in Spring 2011 to 77% in Spring 2012, posting a 16.8% increase.
2. From 68.4% of students finding English difficult or a little difficult at the start of Spring 2011, the percentage went down to 62% at the end of Spring 2012.
These results, however, need to be validated by establishing the similarity and comparability of the factors affecting the English learning of the students, such as their ages and their assigned local English teachers. At the same time, while the results are encouraging, the positive gains noted cannot necessarily be attributed to the Stepping Stones interventions, in the absence of bona fide control and experimental groups, where the only difference is exposure to Stepping Stones programs. As such for this term (spring 2013), the impact evaluation study will be done by comparing the interest and confidence of students with and without Stepping Stones volunteers. Nevertheless, the principal of the School acknowledges the major contribution of the Stepping Stones program in achieving these positive results.
Stepping Stones will continue to build the data from the program at the School as well as explore ways to further improve data collection and analysis.
Click here for the full impact evaluation report.

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