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					Formative Research
                   to inform education
             policy implementation in Africa

                              presented by

                        Kathryn TOURE,
Education Research Network for West and Central Africa (ERNWACA)

                           4 December 2003

     Seminar of Working Group on Education Sector Analysis (WGESA)
                 ADEA Biennale, Grand Baie, Mauritius
This presentation seeks to describe formative research and its characteristics and illustrate its
advantages as applied to the implementation of education sector programs and reforms. It provides
examples of formative research as applied in Africa, describes how formative research can be
undertaken and what the conditions are for its success.

Formative research is a process-oriented assessment tool and can be adapted for macro-analysis of
complex processes, to support systemic change. It draws on case study approaches and uses
qualitative research methods.

It provides a mechanism for regular and methodical reflection and dialogue throughout implementation,
generates knowledge, builds competencies and confidence, and can improve the results of a systemic
change process.

Formative research has been used extensively in the health sector and is newer to education. General
principles guide the development of formative research; design of a specific project should be context-

With a view to extending sector analysis beyond policy and strategy development to support and
strengthen program implementation, the ADEA Working Group on Education Sector Analysis, building
on recent experience on the continent and in partnership with willing ministries, research institutions
and development partners, could help refine formative research methodology as applied to education
sector analysis.

                                                                    Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 2

   What is formative research?

   How can it support systemic ed. change?

   Why is WGESA interested?

                              Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 3
What is formative research?
Assessment tool
to modify and improve
products or programs
during their
planning, development, implementation.

                        Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 4
Formative research

                            Joël de Rosnay, 1975

                 Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 5
What is formative research?
 Proscriptive rather than descriptive
 Entails asking:
  - What methods worked well?
    - What did not work well?
    - How can implementation be improved?
    - How can the theory informing the policy,
    and the policy itself, be improved?

                                    Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 6
What is formative research?

                 Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 7
 SYSTEMIC approach
 PROCESS-oriented
 designed to support CHANGE
 PRACTICAL – informs decision-makers
 draws on CASE STUDY approach and
  QUALITATIVE research methodologies

                       Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 8

                                 Key Questions / Topics

                      Coordinating research institution

                               research                           MINISTRY
  TEAM                        ADVISORY
                                                                  is executing agency
                              GROUP *

*researchers, administrators
(central/regional/local), teachers, civil society, etc.

                                                          Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 9
Indiana School District Systemic Change Effort
   Formative research process accompanied implementation of
    Guidance System for Transforming Education
   Included studies on:
     – Assessing the district`s readiness for change
     – Core Team concerns: selecting participants,
       creating Team dynamic, providing training in
       systems design
     – Identifying competing change efforts
     – Evolution of mindsets about education
   Process is called ``Journey Toward Excellence``
                                           Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 10
Transforming the South African Higher Education System

South Africa - Norway Tertiary Education
Development Programme (SANTED)
   Program aim: Help institutions translate critical strategies into
   Formative research accompanied implementation of projects to
    improve student access and retention rates, esp. for excluded
     – University of Durban-Westville Upward Bound program
        (pre-university program to help high school students improve
        university entrance & success)
     – University of Western Cape Equitable Access through
        Enrolment Management project (2000-2005)

                                          Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 11
EXAMPLE No. 2                                   (SANTED, con’t.)
   Formative Research aims:
     – Provide research results during project implementation.
     – Provide summative results upon completion.
     – Facilitate sharing of learning experiences between the two institutions.
     – Provide sound base for decision-making on components to be sustained
       and/or modified.
     – Contribute to the success of the projects.
     – Develop comparative insights into the processes of leadership and
       management and organisational learning.
   Actors:
      – South Africa (SA) Ministries of Finance and Education and Norwegian
        agency for development cooperation
      – Center for Education Policy Development, Evaluation and Management
        (CEPD) in SA as formative research coordinator
      – SA institutions of higher learning (two universities), research partner
        (Norwegian university)
      – Appropriate research entities and individuals at above institutions
   Activities included: research proposal, reading lists, training seminars, visit
    to Norwegian University to ``observe`its quality reform process
   For more information:

                                                     Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 12
Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE)
Program, 1995-2005
   Mid-term stocktaking on quality of teaching and learning:
     – Changes since 1996 vis-à-vis achievement of FCUBE strategic
       objectives (beneficiary assessment – schools, communities, newspaper
   – Development of statistical database for assessing achievements,
     weaknesses and constraints of the program and mapping
     strategies for improvement
   – Management for efficiency
 Recommendations included:
   – Continuous Assessment training for teachers
   – Capacity building at district level for management of budget and
     other resources – to counter neglect of regional offices in
   – National contributory Education Fund
   – Mobilizing all stakeholders to improve quality of education for girls
                                                Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 13
   Appropriate for analyzing macro and complex
   Support policy implementation process
   Promotes dialogue tethered to
    implementation and improvement
   Expands research base
   Facilitates appropriation of research results
    for decision-making
   Builds competencies and confidence
   Steers the process of change to improve
                               Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 14
Towards a Learning System
Formative research moves us toward “learning systems”
  described by ADEA as follows:

   Move towards a system of learning institutions
   Focus on learning permeates such a system and
    gives it coherence
   Emphasize continuous improvement and a
    sustained effort over time
   Rely on evidence based strategies grounded in
    lessons from experience
   Create framework for systemic learning from
    national, regional and international experience

                                   Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 15
Criteria for pilot countries
 country desire, commitment
 well-conceived education sector program, at initial stages of
 history of using research in decision-making
 country willingness/ability to “convince” sector funders to
  support process
 network of in-country funders that will fund process (with
  WGESA seed grant)
 good researchers and national research institutions that will
  contribute to success/value of exercise
 fairly good statistical database or monitoring system that brings
  relevant key data

                                         Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 16
ERNWACA / ROCARE countries with sector programs (examples)

 Burkina Faso: Plan décennal de
  l’éducation de base (PDDEB), 2001-2010
 Gambia: National Education Policy, 1988-2003;
  developing new via highly participatory process
 Ghana: Free Compulsory Universal Basic
  Education (FCUBE) Program, 1995-2005
 Mali: Programme Décennal de l’Education
  (PRODEC), 1998-2008
 Niger: Programme Décennal de Développement de
  l’Education (PDDE), 2003-2013
 Nigeria: Universal Basic Education program
 Sénégal: Programme Décennal de l’Éducation et
  de la Formation (PDEF), 2000-2010
                                   Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 17
WGESA involvement – why?

   Knowledgeable about national situations,
   Well-situated among governments,
    funding and technical agencies,
    and research community
   Understands analytical work as a technical
    activity and as political activity
   Can contribute to refining approach and
    promote its use

                              Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 18
WGESA involvement – how?

   Review formative research as applied to
    education and reform processes
   Identify pilot countries
   Provide seed grants, technical expertise and
    mechanism for exchange among pilot
    countries and international partner(s)
   Conduct meta-analysis of formative research
   Promote model of formative research and
    lessons learned on wider scale
                               Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 19
Articulation with WGESA strategies
   Africanization:
    – deeper appropriation of sector analysis
    – national and regional capacity among
      individuals and within institutions
    – more local shaping of issues and
   Renewed SA: beyond planning to

                              Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 20
   ADEA (2003). Le defi de l’apprentissage: ameliorer la qualite de l’education de base en Afrique subsaharienne.
    Document de travail en cours d’elaboration.
   Breier, Mignonne (University of the Western Cape, South Africa) (2002). Some reflections on the South African visit to
    Bergen (Norway) as part of the SANTED formative research project, prepared for SANTED Seminar Proceedings.
   Chevrier, Jacques (1994). La recherche en education comme source de changement. Les Editions LOGIQUE, Montréal
    (Québec), Canada.
   Feldberg, Karen and K.Tornes (2002). Sector Wide Approach Programmes in the Development of the Education Sector:
    From Project to Process and Partnership. Oslo: Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
   Journey Toward Excellence: A systemic change effort in the metropolitan school district of Decatur Township,
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, facilitated by Indiana University,
   Kremmerer, Frances (1994). L’analyse sectorielle de l’education et ses utilisations, UNESCO/IIPE, Paris, France.
   Obanya, Pai and Kathryn Toure (2003). Emerging Trends Emerging Trends in Research on the Quality of Education: A
    synthesis of educational research reviews from 1992-2002 in eleven countries of West and Central Africa. ERNWACA
    for ADEA. Bamako, Mali.
   Reigeluth, Charles M. and Theodore W. Frick (1999). Formative Research: A Methodology for Creating and Improving
    Design Theories. In C.M. Reigeluch (ed.), Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional
    Theory. (Volume II). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
   Savoie-Zajc, Lorraine (1993). Les modeles de changement planifié en education, Les Editions LOGIQUES, Montréal
    (Québec), Canada.
   Tornes, Kristen (2003). A Model for Formative Research, based on experiences from the cooperation between
    Norwegian and Nepalese ministries of education. Report to NORAD, Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, 24p.
   Viens, Daniel and James Lynch. Decade of Reform and Innovation in Higher Education in Madagascar: Institutional
    Capacity-Building in a Development Perspective, World Bank,, 4p.
   Voices of Urban Nigerian Youth: Formative Research and Communicating for Change,

   Also see studies I was unable to access:
   Carr, A.A. (1993). Selecting community participants for systemic educational restructuring: Who should serve? Unpublished
    dissertation, Indiana University Graduate School, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
   Naugle, L. (1996). Formative research of the Reigeluth process model and an effort to initiate school restructuring.
    Unpublished dissertation, Indiana University Graduate School, Bloomington, Indiana, USA.

                                                                               Formative Research, WGESA / December 2003 - 21