Research Reveals SC State University’s Impact on Education in Zanzibar

Monday, May 02, 2011

During the recent American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, themed “Education Research for the Public Good: Inciting the Social Imagination,” three SC State University officials presented compelling research data on the University’s Textbooks and Learning Materials Program (TLMP), an international education development initiative.

Dr. Leonard McIntyre, program director for TLMP, Mr. Lamin Drammeh, TLMP program manager, and Dr. Linda McIntyre, TLMP assistant program manager and associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, presented their research findings on the success of the program, implemented in Zanzibar from 2005-2008. SC State’s TLMP, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is part of an $18.5 million international education program designed to develop, produce, publish and distribute high quality, cost effective, culturally relevant and research-based textbooks and learning materials to secondary school children of the United Republic of Tanzania (Zanzibar and Mainland, Tanzania).

The team’s collective research effort resulted in the presentation of their paper entitled “Building Teacher Efficacy and Influencing Student Achievement: Associated Outcomes of a United States-Africa Self-Sustainable Partnership for Creating Culturally Relevant Textbooks.” The research examined the intended and unintended outcomes of a trilateral international self-sustaining partnership instituted to develop textbooks and learning materials, build teacher efficacy and influence student achievement in the Zanzibar region.

“The results we received were filtered through the participatory action research perspective and based on a plethora of data sources and a wealth of input from all stakeholders,” noted Dr. Linda McIntyre, who led the session. “The success of the TLMP project proved extremely beneficial for SC State University, USAID and particularly Zanzibar and their educational system.”

The findings revealed that after providing textbooks in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics at the secondary level, the ratio of student-to-textbooks and learning materials improved dramatically from a 1:35 to a 1:1. Additionally, students were able to complete homework efficiently while their knowledge and understandings were supported by high quality, culturally relevant, standards based textbooks and learning materials. Instructors also noted a significant improvement in the students’ ability to think critically and problem solve. The findings further demonstrated that student-teacher interaction significantly improved and teachers were better prepared to instruct class, thus enhancing classroom practices and management. Overall, the most significant results revealed that the national test score averages for students in Pemba (55.18 percent) and Unguja (82.12 percent), which make up Zanzibar, collectively increased by more than 30 percent since 2005. This is the first time students in the Zanzibar region topped national examination scores.

“As a result of our international partnership with USAID, the Tanzania Ministry of Education and the coordinated effort of SC State faculty, the University demonstrated its commitment for creating public good through contributions of educational research,” says President George E. Cooper. Dr. Leonard McIntyre shares this sentiment stating, “the research clearly shows that a good textbook in the hands of a well-trained and well- prepared teacher improves and enhances teacher efficiency and student learning.”

In addition to serving as co-presenter, Dr. Linda McIntyre was also instrumental in organizing and coordinating 10 divisional sections, more than 1,000 submissions and approximately 400 symposia, roundtable and poster sessions as program committee chair for the AERA Division K: Teaching and Teacher Education. The Division K sections were led by top scholars from various institutions from across the country to include the University of Southern California, San Francisco University, the College of William and Mary, the University of Hawaii, Ohio State University, Columbia University, Texas Tech University, the University of Massachusetts and Michigan State University.