This week marks the end of the first term of the 2013 academic year at Ratu Meli Memorial School. In a few months time we will have been at the school for two years and, as such, we have started to reflect on the achievements that we have made.
In the short term, we have used the first term to assess the effectiveness of our one-on-one program. In the early weeks of the term, we wrote a test for the one-on-one students based on what learning aims the teachers were expecting them to have met by the end of the first term. Volunteers sat with the students as they took the test and the results and comments on areas for improvement were logged. In week 13 we repeated the tests with the students to see what progress had been made.
The results were very encouraging. Every student on the program made an improvement. The only exception was for some of the advanced students who our volunteers unfortunately did not have enough time to see during the term. However, the students who were struggling the most have shown clear improvements. For some, these improvements have been fundamental areas. For example, students in class one who could not recognize letters of the alphabet can now do so and students in class two who could not do addition and subtraction now can.
These results have served several purposes. They have shown us that our program is effective and it has justified our decision to take students out of regular lessons to work with volunteers. It has also allowed us to make the decision as to whether some students should stay on the program next term or whether they have made enough of an improvement to leave the program. Finally, by testing the students in English and Mathematics, it has allowed us to see exactly what the students struggle with and what they have now learnt. Looking ahead to the new term, we will repeat these tests and evaluate if any students need to join the program and who can leave. It’s been great for both volunteers and staff to see hard evidence of the success and the impact that they have made in terms of these children’s education.
Aside from these tests, it has been another successful term at the school. Volunteers have continued the good work carried out by their predecessors and our relationship with the school is as strong as ever. Considering the damage caused by Cyclone Evan, to see the school up and running and with attendance high, big congratulations should go out to the community, teachers and GVI for working together to repair and replenish the school so that the children of Nacula Island could receive the quality education that they deserve.