Just the beginning: The first cycle of Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment in Côte d’Ivoire comes to an end

published 27 September 2023 updated 17 October 2023

Following the completion of seven workshops, three tutorials and two networking events, on the 26th and 27th of September 2023, Education International in partnership with SNEPPCI brought together all individuals involved in the Teacher-led Learning Circle for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project in Côte d’Ivoire to exchange on, as well as celebrate, their year-long learning circle experience.

Côte d’Ivoire is one of the seven T3LFA project countries. The project, with the support of the Jacobs Foundation, aims to provide teachers with tools and support to identify and establish effective teacher-led formative assessment practices that can be disseminated within and across education unions.

The first day of the learning event in Grand Bassam began with an opening ceremony, where the Secretary General of SNEPPCI, Andjou Andjou, highlighted the importance of teacher-led learning circles for formative assessment, recognising that they provide teachers with a means of reinforcing their learning whilst simultaneously improving the quality of education. This theme was reiterated by Andre Deloh, the Director of the Ministry of Education and Literacy's Programme Monitoring Department who, having worked closely with SNEPPCI to follow the project in Côte d’Ivoire since its inception, stated that providing this form of continuous professional learning and development to teachers was crucial to enabling student learning.

Deloh also stated that the Programme Monitoring Department were considering the ways in which the project could be rolled out across all of Côte d’Ivoire, emphasising the importance of union-led initiatives that provide solutions to the country’s current educational challenges. Education International’s Coordinator of the Office of the General Secretary, Undarmaa Batsukh, emphasised that Côte d’Ivoire could not have succeeded in being the first project country to complete the T3LFA programme without SNEPPCI’s strong engagement. Batsukh highlighted that this should be seen as just the beginning, as continuing the open dialogue that has been established between SNEPPCI and the Ministry is the only way to ensure the project cascades beyond the classrooms of the thirty teachers originally involved.

Following the official opening and welcome, the project’s national researcher in Côte d’Ivoire, Professor Claude Koutou, took up his role as moderator, asking participants to introduce themselves and explain what they had learnt as part of the project. Once everyone had the chance to speak, the learning event moved to a presentation by Dr Cristopher Yaw Kwaah, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cape Coast and the project’s national researcher for Ghana. The day then turned again to centering the experiences of project participants in Côte d’Ivoire, with Education International’s Regional Coordinator for Africa, Pedi Anawi moderating a panel discussion where project teachers, alongside Sy Savane Ami Toure, the Director of the Pedagogical Education and Training Centre of Grand Bassam, spoke to the challenges involved in introducing formative assessment in the classroom. The first day concluded with David Frost, the Co-Director of HertsCam, speaking of how learning circles give teachers the opportunity to lead a development project by allowing them to try, fail, and try once again.

Invigorated by the first day’s activities, and the commitment expressed by the Ministry of Education and Literacy to consider expanding the project in Côte d’Ivoire, on the second day of the event, teachers went straight into group work. During an hour and a half long session, teachers sat in new circles containing those from regions other than their own and outlined: the promising formative assessment practices they had developed, the change that they had witnessed in student learning, and the ways they could share their promising formative assessment practices with others.

After teachers outlined their strategies for communicating on how the introduction of promising assessment practices such as think, pair, share had changed their student's confidence with other educators, they engaged in the final activity of the day: a gallery walk exhibiting their project portfolios. Once everyone had the opportunity to appreciate the hard work and dedication that they had all put into the project, the two-day learning event ended with a graduation ceremony. At the ceremony, teachers were handed their certificates and both the Secretary General of SNEPPCI, Andjou Andjou, and the Director of the Ministry of Education and Literacy's Programme Monitoring Department, Andre Deloh, reiterated their commitment to working together to introduce learning circles for formative assessment across Côte d’Ivoire.

Martin Henry, Research, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at Education International closed the ceremony and the event by a similar sentiment: “this is just the beginning” said Henry “the seeds of educational change have been sown, it is now up to SNEPPCI and the Ministry of Education and Literacy to tend to the promising formative assessment practices that are sprouting from teacher-led learning circles in all four corners of the country.”

Take a look at photos from the two-day event here! Want to find out more about our learning event in Côte d’Ivoire or even learn about the work that is taking place across our six other project countries? Take a look at the Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment page!