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School the World's Accelerated Learning Recovery Program

School the World Tackling Learning Poverty with Playful Small Group Tutoring in Central America

Learning loss after the pandemic was extensive. Accelerated Learning Recovery is a small group tutoring program adapted to extremely poor rural and indigenous communities in Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. School the World works with students according to their learning level to build numerical and reading-writing skills with the goal of reaching functional literacy after two years of programming.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

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Target group
Students basic
April 2024
Our 1st objective is to keep children from getting frustrated because of the lack of foundational skills, get them learning, and prevent a large number of dropouts. Our 2nd objective is to train teachers in the TARL methodology. Our long-term objective is to make sure children achieve the functional literacy and numeracy that will allow them to complete primary school and continue learning.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

UNICEF is predicting an 80% learning poverty rate for Latin America. The most disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the school closures during the pandemic and, indeed, School the World’s Spring 2022 diagnostic testing of thousands of children in rural Guatemala suggested a 93-94% learning poverty rate for Latin America’s most disadvantaged 5th grade students.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

We adapted Pratham's TARL model to our local contexts and incorporated playful learning techniques to create the Accelerated Learning Recovery program. We hire and train tutors in the methodology and send enough tutors to each school in the cohort to provide each student with five hours of small group tutoring per week over six months. Students are then evaluated and divided into small groups according to their learning level. Tutors use play as one of the main methods to strengthen student's literacy and numeracy skills.

Students who participated in Accelerated Learning Recovery in 2022 & 2023 showed statistically significant gains in both reading and math.

For example:
-The percentage of 4th grade students who can do Math at “functional” level rose 36% in Guatemala, 30% in the North of Honduras, 36% in the South of Honduras and 22% in Panama.

These are just some examples. We have extensive data available for both reading and math for each grade participating in the program.

How has it been spreading?

In 2022, School the World hired and trained 47 tutors to work with 2,557 students from Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

Given the learning levels revealed through testing and the significant gains achieved after six months of the tutoring (see above), the Tinker Foundation awarded us funding to continue the program with the first cohort for two more years.

With other funders, we added new cohorts in 2023. By 2023, we had hired and trained 79 tutors working with 6,333 students.

In 2024 we have trained 78 tutors and reached a total of 7,893 students.

We have the goal of growing our tutoring coverage by 100% or more in 2025, funding dependent.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Identify the total population to be addressed with the program, and a leadership team to undertake it’s execution as a first step.
Once you have the general information of the target group, contact Bianca Argueta, our Monitoring & Evaluation Regional Director to evaluate together if our methodology is adequate to your needs and context. See also the Implementation section below.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

"The Accelerated Learning Recovery Program's impact is proven through statistically significant student gains in both reading and math as a powerful way to tackle COVID learning loss in communities across Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.

The scale of this program is huge as we have underserved children in developing countries improving in literacy and numeracy and only an accelerated learning can enable them catch-up with the rest of the world and compete favorably in education.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Analize previous year's data & experience
We conduct an analysis of the student's previous year's results in learning, lessons learned on how the methodolgy and instruments were applied by the tutors, our communication with the community, success stories, and the tutor's experiences so we can adjust and improve the following year's intervention. *(step added in 2024)
Prepare & update materials
Prepare the diagnostic tool, curriculum and learning materials adapted to the local language and context, considering previous year's data and lessons learned.
Communications plan
Execute the communications plan for all stakeholders and obtain approval and support of the local Ministry of Education office.
Create a supervisory team
Create your own supervisory team to oversee the execution of the program in the field. This team will be trained in the methodology and will, in turn, provide ongoing training and support for the tutors working with the students.
Meet with Stakeholders
Organize meetings with parents, and with school directors and teachers to obtain buy-in and support.
Tutor training
Prepare training materials. Lead a group training in the methodology for all of the tutors. We recommend at least three full days of training. We have included, additional to the three full days of training, two in-person group trainings and monthly one-to-one coaching sessions throughout the monitoring monthly visit made by our supervisory team.
Diagnostic Evaluation
Conduct a diagnostic evaluation to get the baseline and learning needs and levels of each student. Organize the children into groups based on learning levels. The supervisor will evaluate and coach the tutor on the correct grouping of the students according to their learning levels.
Start the tutoring!
Begin tutoring by using the adapted TARL methodology with infused playful techniques. Ensure supervisors provide significant support for at least the first 40 tutoring sessions.
Teacher Coaching
After the first 20 sessions, the supervisory team and the tutors begin coaching teachers in the methodology. The goal is for teachers to understand the “teaching at the right level” methodology and begin using it in the classroom post-intervention. We used to do this after the first 40 sessions but have learned it is necessary to start earlier to have better results with the teachers.
Conduct Formative testing
Every 2 weeks tutors conduct what we call “formative” testing which consists of evaluating the student’s progress after every 10 sessions. The results will show the progress and needs of the students and with these results they are regrouped according to learning levels.
Conduct Mid-term evaluation
Once they reach the 60th session, organize a meeting of the tutors and the supervisory team to review results and lessons learned, identify remaining challenges, and make changes important to the success of the students and the program. We communicate these results to school teachers, principals, and parents.
Final Evaluations
The last 10 sessions are focused on reading and students will work on creating their own story. Final evaluations will be conducted.
Communicate Results of Final Evaluation
In the 120th session, results of the final evaluations are delivered to the local educational community (school directors, teachers, parents, and local coordinators from the Ministry of Education) by grade-level and by school.

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