Transformative impact: Learning Circles for Formative Assessment support teacher leadership and student learning across Ghana

published 1 March 2024 updated 2 May 2024

Thirty-six primary school teachers across Ghana’s Central, Ashanti and Upper East region have taken part in the Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) Project to identify promising formative assessment practices that address issues that are unique to the country’s context.

In Ghana, many teachers are confronted with large class sizes which means that pedagogical practice needs to be adapted to overcome the challenge. One teacher found that a way to surmount the issue of not being able to give feedback directly to each student was to get learners to assess each other's work by comparing their answers with those of their peers as well as the answer presented on the whiteboard. Through this practice, the teacher promoted community learning, student ownership in learning and learner agency.

As a result of the T3LFA leadership projects developed by teachers in Ghana, learning in schools where the teachers participated in the project has improved. There are reports from project teachers in all three regions of the country that student's ability in numeracy and literacy has improved from the introduction of new assessment for learning strategies in large classroom contexts. These include read aloud, group reading and phonics drills.

The learnings of the teacher’s leadership projects in Ghana has not remained contained to classrooms. Facilitators and teachers have stated that professional learning communities in schools that have teachers involved in learning circles have become stronger through exchanges on promising formative assessment practice.

Since the outcomes of teachers’ formative assessment-based leadership projects on students, schools, and communities in Ghana have been so overwhelmingly positive, there is an ongoing engagement with the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the government on the possibility of scaling up the Professional Learning and Development (PLD) opportunity.

As the outlook for national uptake remains uncertain, work must take place to provide all teachers with the opportunity to take part in the transformative PLD programme. Efforts need to be made to capitalise on the fact that project has taken place at a critical moment in Ghana’s educational trajectory. This is as the learning circle approach fits into the concept of ‘Community of Practice’ that has recently been enshrined in Ghana’s new curriculum as part of teacher’s continuous professional development activities. Whilst T3LFA national researcher, Dr Christopher Yaw Kwaah, has already engaged with the National Teaching Council (NTC), it must only be the start for fight for GNAT and union led PLD in Ghana.

The struggle for empowering forms of PLD, such as T3LFA, must continue beyond the project’s final networking event in February 2024, so that every learner has a professionally trained, qualified, and well-supported teacher and can flourish in a transformed education system.

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