How Much do Children Learn in Primary School: A Study of Waynad District

By N.V.Varghese, K.S Sajeev and M.V. Bijulal, NIEPA, New Delhi, India, 1998

To analyse the status and functioning of primary schools in different blocks, highlighting the teaching-learning conditions in schools and analysis of variation levels of learner achievement among different blocks and schools were the main objectives of the study. The empirical analysis in the study is based on information collected from 36 schools, 164 teachers, 740 grade II students and 983 Grade IV students.

The study showed that the learner achivement in Grade II both in Mathematics and Malayalam are reasonably high whereas achievement of students in both the subject areas in Grade IV in general is poor. The percentage of student scoring more than 80% in Grade IV examination is 5.9% in Malayalam and only 0.2% in Mathematics. The study clearly indicates inter-school variations in levels of learner achievement. For example, the highest scoring school in Malayalam Grade II has secured 85.6% whereas the lowest scoring school has only the mean score of 39.7%. However, in Grade IV the difference between high scoring and low scoring schools is less primarily due to the poor scores in general in Grade IV.

There is a sharp decline in mean scores when student transit from Grade II to IV. The management type does not seem to have any major influence on the levels of achievement of students. There are good performing schools among the private and government management schools. Similarly, there are poor performing schools among the Government and private schools. An analysis of factors contributing to poor learner achievement shows that school level factors are important. Schools which are well managed and where the head-teacher are in a posititon to provide academic leadership perform better than those schools which are poorly managed. In other words, the internall management of the school to a large extend influences the efficiency of operation and the level of learner achievement attained by the school.

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