UNICEF Zimbabwe is inviting proposals from individual national or international consultants for the provision of Technical support for the Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment

Harare

This consultancy will provide technical support to the MoPSE and ZimSEC to ensure quality assurance of aspects of the 2017 ZELA, support multivariate analysis and provide additional capacity building to ZIMSEC and MoPSE officials.

 

Background

 The Zimbabwean government, through its Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, instituted the Zimbabwe Early Learning Assessment (ZELA) programme in 2012, first as a baseline and later as an annual assessment of learner performance in English, Mathematics and an indigenous language (Shona/Ndebele) post Grade 2. The ZELA came as part of the Education Transition Fund (ETF) which was introduced by the government with the support of funding partners as a part of a recovery package following the socio-economic challenges Zimbabwe experienced in 2004 to 2009. Among other interventions, the ETF programme provided textbooks for core subjects to all schools. As one of its major aims, the ZELA sought to establish the impact of textbook provision to schools on learner outcomes.

 The ZELA programme is run by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC), a body that is charged with the responsibility of running national examinations for the school system in Zimbabwe. However, noting the gap in technical skills within ZIMSEC to conduct such an assessment, technical support was put in place through ETF. The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) was chosen to provide that support for the period 2012 to 2015. Apart from ZELA test administration, data analysis and report writing, part of ACER mandate was to build capacity within ZIMSEC through training to enable ZIMSEC to carry on with ZELA beyond the period of technical support. Since the departure of ACER, 2017 was the first year for ZIMSEC to carry out ZELA, together with MoPSE, without technical support from ACER. While ZIMSEC is comfortable with data collection, it still requires technical support with data analysis and report writing in order to come up with a quality report. In addition, ZIMSEC requires further strengthening in skills capacity in the area of data handling, hence the need for this consultancy.

   

Introduction

ZELA is a curriculum-based assessment that is administered to a nationwide, random stratified sample of students in the first term of Grade 3. It measures students' learning outcomes through the end of Grade 2. The specific objective of ZELA is to answer the following questions:

  1. How do Zimbabwean pupils perform in Mathematics and the languages tests, and is there a noticeable pattern of change over time?
  2. What are the relationships of certain pupil, teaching and school variables with performance on tests of Mathematics and languages at the beginning of Grade 3 in Zimbabwe?
  3. To what extent can improvement in test performance be attributed to the Education Transition/Development Fund?

  

The ZELA programme is in its 6th year running, having started with a baseline in 2012. The reports over the years have shown significant progress in learner performance in Mathematics and English. The data has proved to be invaluable information to the MoPSE and other stakeholders for monitoring and planning purposes.  For example, the newly crafted Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) relied in part on data from ZELA. As a result of this impact, MoPSE decided to carry on with ZELA as an annual assessment, even beyond EDF, with the Ministry taking a leading role but with the support of ZIMSEC.

 

ZELA tests are administered annually to a national representative sample of Grade 3 pupils in randomly selected 500 schools. Four cognitive instruments and two questionnaire instruments are developed annually for the ZELA study. The cognitive instruments include: Grade 2 Mathematics test (ZELA Mathematics) and Grade 2 English test (ZELA

   

English); also, a Grade 2 Shona and Grade 2 Ndebele test are developed by ZIMSEC as part of the study. There is also a Student questionnaire and a School Head questionnaire. Responses to the questionnaires provide information about students, teachers and schools, while responses to the tests provide information about student achievement in English and Mathematics.

 Following the administration of tests, data is collected, cleaned and analysed, followed by report writing. While test administration has been completed for ZELA 2017, data capture, data cleaning, analysis and report writing are yet to be done. While training has been provided to ZIMSEC in the last five years in ZELA administration, there is still need for further technical support in the specific areas of data analysis and report writing. The inclusion of MoPSE in a leadership role starting 2016 further amplifies the need for additional capacity building.  ZIMSEC and MoPSE seek the technical assistance of a consultant for the remaining tasks in 2017 and going forward. 

 

Objective

 This consultancy will provide technical support to the MoPSE and ZimSEC to ensure quality assurance of aspects of the 2017 ZELA, support multivariate analysis and provide additional capacity building to ZIMSEC and MoPSE officials.

 Scope of Work

The consultant will be responsible for the providing support in the following areas:

Quality assurance

  • Data cleaning: Support ZimSEC in cleaning the dataset
  • Data formatting: Review and provide feedback to data formatting
  • Data analysis: Review and provide feedback to descriptive analyses done by ZimSEC
  • Creation of plausible values: Assist ZimSEC researchers in developing plausible values
  • Reviewing overall report to ensure technical quality and effective communication of the contents

     

    Data analysis

  • Data analysis – Design and lead the multiple regression analysis component of the study building on models of the previous years.

     

    Capacity Building

  • Adopt approaches to ensure transfer of skills in data cleaning and multivariate analysis.  This should be done as part of the process as well as through targeted training activities.

     Methodology

     The consultant will be based at ZIMSEC from where day to day tasks will be carried out. The approach to the overall consultancy should be aligned with the previous approaches used in ZELA and all efforts should be made to ensure consistency and comparability with the previous years.  The technical note on ZELA of previous years should guide in this regard.

     The consultant will review the current data set and provide feedback to the MoPSE and ZimSEC. Using a capacity building approach, the consultant will facilitate the required changes while allowing for as much knowledge transfer as possible.  A similar approach will be taken to supporting report writing.

     However, the multivariate analyses, sampling and template creation will require the consultant to develop drafts for sharing and discussion with the team.  As with other tasks, the approach should include capacity building of the relevant technical personnel.

    The consultant, who will lead a technical team comprising ZIMSEC and MoPSE officials will be responsible for the process leading to the completion of the draft and final ZELA reports. The ZIMSEC, together with MoPSE officials in the team will provide the necessary technical support, but taking a leading role in report writing. In addition, the consultant shall also provide training to ZIMSEC and MoPSE officials on data cleaning, data formatting, creation of plausible values, statistical sampling and data analysis.

     

Major Tasks and Deliverables

The consultant will be expected to successfully complete the following key tasks:

 

Task: Develop a detailed work plan for completion of the deliverables

Deliverable: Consultancy work plan for ZELA 2017

 

Task: Support ZimSEC in cleaning ZELA 2017 dataset

Deliverable: ZELA 2017 Cleaned data set

 

Task: Review ZELA 2017 data formatted by ZIMSEC and provide feedback

Deliverable: ZELA 2017 Formatted data 

 

Task: Assist ZimSEC researchers in developing plausible values

Deliverable: ZELA 2017 Plausible values created

 

Task: Review descriptive analysis of ZELA 2017 data done by ZimSEC and provide feedback

Deliverable: ZELA 2017 Data analysis

 

Task: Review draft ZELA 2017 report drafted by ZIMSEC and provide feedback

Deliverable:  ZELA 2017 Draft Report

 

Task: Review final ZELA 2017 report produced by ZIMSEC and provide quality check

Deliverable: ZELA 2017 Final Report

 

 

All deliverables should meet the expected quality as assessed by the Supervisor of the consultancy assignment.  The Consultant will be expected to utilize UNICEF vehicles for official duty.

  

 Timeframe

The consultancy will begin upon the signing of the contract, which is scheduled to be on or before 01 August 2017 and end on January 31, 2018.

 Consultancy Requirements

The consultant  will have the following qualification and experience:

  • A Master’s degree in research, statistics or the Social Sciences
  • Expertise in the use of SPSS, and Microsoft Access
  • Functional knowledge of ConQuest data analysis software
  • Expertise in statistical sampling techniques
  • Proven experience with quantitative research
  • Knowledge of student assessment
  • Minimum of 10 years professional experience in research and data analysis
  • Previous experience of research, documentation and evaluation of education projects
  • Excellent analytical and report writing skills
  • Familiarity with MoPSE and ZIMSEC’s mission and mandate an asset, and

  •  Fluency in spoken and written English.

     

  

Application Procedure

 If interested and available, please submit your application letter, CV, Technical proposal and an all-inclusive financial proposal detailing monthly professional fees, in country travel costs and needed support expenses for all phases of work by 23 July 2017.

 

Only shortlisted consultants will be contacted. UNICEF does not charge a fee during the recruitment process

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
Apply
  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Harare
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
  • Closing Date: 2017-07-23

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