Pupils taught with Mwabu achieve better learning outcomes than their peers
Mwabu has been subject to rigorous impact evaluation, comparing improvements in numeracy and literacy between Mwabu schools and similar schools selected for control purposes. These evaluations have taken place in rural and urban Zambia, and been conducted by UNICEF and the Impact Network, as well as by the iSchool Zambia team. They have used the EGRA and EGMA standardised tests for early grade assessments, translated as necessary into local languages.
The results consistently show significantly higher improvements in learning outcomes for pupils learning with Mwabu.
In Lukulu, in the remote Western Province of Zambia, UNICEF research showed a significant improvement in literacy in Mwabu schools over the period of just one year, between grades 1 and 2.
UNICEF presents the maths results from the same study differently, but they also indicate a positive “difference in difference” between Mwabu and control schools in all but one of the elements of the EGMA test. The graph shows the difference-in-difference after one year, i.e. the percentage points by which Mwabu pupils’ performance exceeded the performance of the control group pupils on the EGMA test after one year of intervention.
Mwabu’s own studies tracked performance of somewhat older pupils in five community schools in high- density areas in Lusaka. Results showed significantly higher learning amongst pupils using Mwabu compared to those who do not, in both literacy (p=<0.05) and numeracy (p=<0.01).
Further baselines have been created in Western and Northern provinces, for Mwabu’s work with the Peter Cundill Foundation, and in partnership with World Vision International. Note that although results to date have found effects on a year-on-year basis, it is not necessarily the case that EGMA and EGRA will in future be followed up on a year-on-year basis.
Girls and boys learn equally well with Mwabu, closing the gender gap
UNICEF research from Lukulu suggests that girls learning with Mwabu keep up with or get ahead of their male peers in the early grades, while those in control schools tended to fall behind. This pattern was suggested in both literacy and numeracy, although it was not analysed in terms of statistical significance.