Empowering teachers: Learning Circles strengthen confidence in formative assessment in Côte d'Ivoire

published 3 January 2024 updated 4 June 2024

Throughout the last eleven months, thirty primary school teachers in Côte d'Ivoire used the reflective space provided by the Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project's structure to experiment with different formative assessment practices that meet student’s learning variability.

In Côte d'Ivoire, the T3LFA project was unique in providing teachers with dedicated reflective time to develop promising formative assessment practice as opportunities for institutionalised Professional Learning and Development (PLD) in the country are scarce.

As part of the project, teachers strengthened their existing formative assessment practices, developed and adopted new formative assessment practices, and exercised teacher leadership. By engaging in journaling the processes, teachers also reflected on the impact of formative assessment practices, like group work, not only on their teaching, but also on learners learning.

For one teacher working in Greater Abidjan, the impact of the project was clear. Using group work as a form of formative assessment not only facilitated the development of their own skills and promoted their professional autonomy, but also allowed them to support their students in a way that made them more interested and engaged during lessons. The formative assessment practice facilitated students learning by encouraging and respecting their voice, their ideas and a safe space for self-expression.

The effect of the project on teachers, students, schools and communities in Côte d'Ivoire has not gone unnoticed. The project was closely followed by the Ministry of Education and Literacy who alongside SNEPPCI witnessed the positive impact of the Professional Learning and Development (PLD) opportunity on the teachers. Education International also had the opportunity to meet with Mariatou Koné, the Minister of Education and Literacy, Anastasie Kacou Sepou, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Education and Literacy, as well as Coulibaly Adama, General Coordinator of General Inspection at the Ministry of Education and Literacy to promote system-wide uptake of the PLD programme during a Learning Event held in September 2023.

In a context where there is a virtual absence of training opportunities for teachers, the Ministry’s attentiveness was significant. Dr Claude Koutou, the project’s national researcher, has suggested that this shows the current administration's desire to strengthen the capacities of teachers to provide inclusive quality public education for all students regardless of their background.

Despite the first project cycle having reached a successful end in Côte d'Ivoire, there is still much work to be done. There are requests to cascade the learnings from the project to teachers in all parts of the country. The union, SNEPPCI, must continue leading advocacy with the Ministry of Education and relevant departments to work towards integrating and strengthening formative assessment in basic teacher training and to provide system-wide access to this empowering form of PLD.

The next phase of the T3LFA project is to share the promising formative assessment practices identified by project participants in all its seven countries within and across education trade unions at the final closing conference which is scheduled to take place from 8 to 10 November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Want to see photos from and read more about the project in Côte d'Ivoire or keep up to date with the project’s next phase? Visit the T3LFA project page on the EI website.