What Do We Know About Instructional Time Use in Mali? Assessing the Suitability of the Classroom Observation Snapshot Instrument for Use in Developing Countries
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This paper summarizes what has been learned about instructional time and its measurement during the Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP) grant. It also provides an analysis of the capabilities and limitations of the Classroom Observation Snapshot instrument, which was used to conduct time-use surveys in Mali and Benin in the second phase of the BNPP grant. Finally, the study offers pragmatic suggestions for planning and implementing instructional time measurements for task team leaders and researchers who intend to implement a time-use study. The underlying question of the paper is: How can the amount of time spent on learning in the classroom be measured in ways that are simple, easy to administer, valid, reliable, comparable across countries, and that can be monitored across time? The surveys conducted during the first phase of the BNPP-funded Economics of Education project in 2004 and 2005 revealed gaps between the time allocated for instruction and the time spent on instructional tasks. These instructional time surveys (conducted in Ghana, Morocco, the state of Pernambuco in Brazil, and Tunisia) revealed significant losses in instructional time, ranging from 27.9 percent in Pernambuco to 13.3 percent in Tunisia. Similar findings were reported in studies executed in Cameroon, Eritrea, and India (see chapter 3 of this report). The second phase of the BNPP program recalibrated research activities to focus on the measurement of instructional time in the classroom. Instructional time surveys in Mali and Benin were then implemented in October–December 2007, together with an early-grade reading assessment.