Whose Reality Counts?
Local Educators as Researchers on the Quality of Primary Education
This article describes a methodology that local educators can use to conduct structured analytic research on the quality of primary education.The methodology has been developed by four twenty-person teams of local educators who carried out studies in rural regions of Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. In addition to describing the methodology, the article presents short summaries of the researchers' conclusions and recommendations. However, its main purpose is to share the methodology that has evolved. The methodology is qualitative, but a simple quantitative measure of relationship between binary variables (Yule's Q) was used to test the researchers' qualitative findings. It is this tool that provoked the most significant reflection among the researchers in each group.
In general, the results of the four studies corroborate other research on the factors that influence student outcomes in primary schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. More importantly, the studies' results demonstrate that the methodology offers practicing educators a tool that helps them define, collect, and rigorously analyse empirical information to reach shared insights about their schools and then to formulate practical recommendations about what to do to improve student learning.