MathSTAR students in the village of Iguru
Our third year has come to a close and on a high note. In the last month all our 104 Centres celebrated Annual Days where the children proudly showcased their learning and talents. These events were well supported by the community and became village events where not just our parents but the entire community attended. Our Parent Teacher sessions at the end of the month too were a success. Parents expressed happiness at their children’s learning and the interest and confidence in learning they have gained. They expressed great support for the preschool program.
Another highlight has been the success of the after school programs. We had shared with you in our January report about the launch of the after-school English and Math program for children in grades 1 to 7. Much has been written and reported on the crisis with primary level math learning in India. For the past few years, the team at Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) has been innovating solutions to help primary level children in rural India bridge the enormous learning gaps they face in Math. The aim is to build accuracy, speed and a sense of confidence in children so that they can be successful at Math as they move to higher grades.
As mentioned in our last report, in late July 2013, HLC launched MathSTAR in the Davangere and Mandya districts of Karnataka with the goal to bridge a 2-year learning gap in less than 1 year. The program was initially offered in 7 villages, to children in Classes 1-6 who were enrolled in full-time government or private schools in their villages. These are villages where we already have Centres that run the Kindergarten programs during the day, enabling us to save on separate centre set up costs by using the same space for the after school programs. These are also villages where the Hippocampus name is already synonymous with good learning.
After the students completed their personalized workbooks in 15 weeks, we tested them using the same test they took at the start of the program. Every single one of the 204 students showed great improvement.
An example is Shrinidhi, a Class 5 student in a school in the village of Iguru. A few years ago, Shrinidhi fell behind in her Math class at school. As she advanced into higher grades, she found that her troubles with Math didn’t go away- instead, they became bigger and bigger until finally she reached Class 5 and was terrified of Math.
Encouraged by her parents, Shrinidhi enrolled in Hippocampus’ MathSTAR program that had just launched in the village. On entrance into the program, Shrinidhi was tested for concepts she should have known in Class 3. She scored a 28% on the test. Shrinidhi then completed 1 term of the MathSTAR program. In 15 weeks, she re-took the same test and scored a 73%.
Today Shrinidhi has re-enrolled in the MathSTAR program for a second term. Her fear of Math is going and the time she spends at the Hippocampus Learning Centre is the bright spot in her day as she tackles newer concepts with excitement.
Assessments done at end of term 1 across all 7 villages show that students across Classes 1 to 6 showed an improvement in the range of 27% to 44%. No student showed a decreased performance. The sharpest increase was seen in Class 1 and 2 students, who showed a 43% and 44% improvement respectively.
Across all classes, students who scored between 0-40% on the entrance test showed the most improvement at the mid-term test, proving that the program most effectively helps children who have large learning gaps.
Encouraged by the success of this program, in December 2013 we increased the reach of the MathSTAR program to a total of 24 villages where we currently have 478 children enrolled.
In the coming months, we are looking forward to spreading the reach of this program to 50 plus villages, helping more than 1000 students build confidence in Math and then on to offering it in every village where we run the Kindergarten programs.
Thank you as always for your belief in our work and your support which makes our work possible.
MathSTAR teacher Ashwini in Thurchgatta Centre