An update from Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA)

The Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA) (Independent Assessment of Learning) Project is part of the PAL Network, conducting citizen-led assessments in Mexico. Since 2014, MIA has been making assessments of basic reading and math learning levels in homes for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 16 years. Currently, assessments have been implemented in six States of the Mexican Republic: Veracruz (2014 and 2016), Puebla (2015), Quintana Roo (2015), Yucatán (2016), Campeche (2016) and Tabasco (2016).

These assessments were made in order to increase the participation of society in education through collaborative research and the creation of knowledge among the academia, civil organizations, educational communities and community volunteers, to improve learning.

This seeks to create learning environments to influence the process of building of knowledge on basic education through the development of educational interventions based on didactic-pedagogical models, using technological and teaching resources.

MIA designed and developed models of educational interventions that were applied in the summer of 2016 in three municipalities of the State of Veracruz: San Andrés Tuxtla, Xalapa and Naolinco. One of the objectives proposed in the MIA interventions was to foster the involvement of parents in their children’s learning and to apply the strategies planned to improve the levels of children’s reading, writing and mathematics.

The MIA interventions included a pre and a post assessment of the participants in order to identify the level of learning they had before starting the interventions and  be able to compare them to the levels they reached at the end, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of the interventions. These interventions were carried out in the Area of Los Tuxtlas by the Committee for the Education and Integral Development of Women (CEDIM A.C.); in Xalapa by the MIA team, having managed the area of the San Rafael Guízar and Valencia Parish, located in the Xalapa 2000 Housing Unit within the city; and in Naolinco by the coordinator of the MIA interventions, with support from the Naolinco City Council and senior staff from the office for Integral Development of the Family (DIF), involving people from the civil society that were trained to serve as facilitators. The activities lasted up to four weeks, during which different strategies for reading, writing and mathematics were used in the work with the children.

The systematization of these courses provided a model to replicate the sessions in school and outside school spaces in more municipalities and localities in the State of Veracruz. In the case of school interventions, members of the MIA team participated in the diagnostic assessment in each school (pre-evaluation) and the grade and groups to initiate the school interventions were defined in conjunction with the educational authorities, on the basis of the results obtained. In the municipalities of Naolinco, Tonayán, Jilotepec and Chiconquiaco a total of 12 schools were involved: 2 preschools, 9 primary schools, 1 secondary school and 1 high school, while in the area of ​​Los Tuxtlas the interventions took place in 2 primary schools.

The team of facilitators for these interventions comprised previously selected and trained young people who accepted to be volunteers and contribute with their work and commitment to this educational task. The intervention in the schools was designed to take place in 20 sessions of 90 minutes each, which included reading, writing and maths activities. In order to respect the time and work program of the teaching group, it was decided to have only two sessions per week. The proposal and results of the assessment were presented in the (school) assembly to the parents, with the prior agreement of the authorities of each school. The mothers showed their concern for the level of their children and they committed themselves to supporting in the homes the activities of the project, in particular those related to reading improvement.

The extracurricular activities were carried out only in the area of ​​Los Tuxtlas, in the communities of Sihuapan, Santa Rosa Cintepec, La Candelaria, El Popotal and Santiago Tuxtla. They also focused on the improvement of reading, writing and mathematics, but research sessions and recreational activities were also added so that the children might develop expository and coexistence skills, collaborative work and responsibility, as well as to stimulate their creativity.

Both the results of the MIA assessments in homes and those obtained in the whole process of the interventions showed the urgency of working on the issue of mathematics, reading and writing with various social actors through the management of spaces and materials, as well as on the integration of the parents, volunteers and educational authorities to improve the learning levels of the children.

Based on the above, by 2018, the MIA project will begin the escalation phase of educational interventions in various out-of-school spaces, as well as the implementation of workshops with parents within the schools through the School Councils for Social Participation (CEPS), to present strategies to encourage reading at home, which they can carry out with their children to reinforce the work of the teachers and the MIA team.