NAME Helps Build an Educational Foundation in Brazil
Between 2000 and 2008, Brazil increased its per-student education expenditures by more than 120 percent for young students, according to the OECD—the highest increase among 30 countries with available data. But infrastructural challenges and bureaucratic inefficiencies in Brazil have created obstacles for the country’s growing number of students.
To help raise educational standards in the country’s public schools, Sistema Educacional Brasileiro, a Brazilian education company, was founded in 1963 to provide test preparation services, teaching resources, and educational materials for local school districts. In 2012, Pearson acquired one of the company’s premier sistemas, NAME, which, when translated, stands for Center for Support to Municipalities and States. This sistema, or learning system, provides a full suite of educational and academic resources for public schools in Brazil, with a focus on helping low-income students achieve more and pass the national exam, Prova Brasil, which is administered every other year for grades five and nine. Results from Prova Brazil are combined with information about student promotion to create a Basic Education Development Index, known as IDEB.
Only 40 percent of fifth-grade students were adequately proficient in Portuguese, according to 2013 IDEB data. By ninth grade, this percentage drops to 23 percent. The rates in mathematics are even more concerning to education experts. 35 percent of fifth-grade students are proficient in math—a number that falls to 11 percent for ninth-grade students, according to the same data. This presents an important opportunity for NAME to help support local schools in improving students’ literacy and numeracy, as well as preparing them for the national exam.
"Our municipality has been working for three years with NAME, from the kindergarten to 9th grade, with about 4.200 students...we have seen great advances since the first year. We have access to various materials that help us to focus on student learning, developing a work to improve the quality of learning in the municipality."
Laura Lopes Dos Santos, Secretary of Education for Santa Gertrudes municipality.
Among NAME sistemas schools, Pearson’s efficacy research has found a positive correlation between length of exposure to the NAME sistema resources and performance on IDEB. Pearson will continue to study the relationship between this sistema and external measures through three additional studies to be conducted in 2016 and 2017.
Intended outcome 1
Learners who use the NAME sistema will see increased average performance on IDEB.
Pearson has found a positive correlation between exposure to the NAME sistema resources and that municipality’s average score on the IDEB.
Analyses of IDEB scores from 2005 through 2013 have shown that the longer a school uses the NAME sistema during the two-year testing window, the higher the average IDEB score during that same period. It is not uncommon for municipalities to purchase the NAME sistema right before the IDEB test in an effort to cram for higher scores and then drop NAME after testing is complete. But the same analysis has demonstrated that higher cumulative exposure to Sistemas resources is also associated with higher IDEB scores. Schools who use the Sistema resources through multiple reporting cycles perform better on the IDEB than schools who only use sistema resources for a short time during those cycles.
"Previously very few students had access to good teaching materials. Only students of particular schools had access to certain materials that would benefit their education...the NAME sistema came to show that everyone can have access to a quality education with different resources for the teacher to use in the classroom."
Roseni Christiane Bueno, supervisor for the Brotas municipality in São Paulo.
Intended outcome 2
NAME schools will become increasingly effective, help students pass to the next grade level, and facilitate a positive learning experience.
Due to limitations in the data provided by Brazil’s Ministry of Education, current analyses of achievement data on individual NAME students are limited.
However, Pearson plans to conduct a series of its own studies to measure the relationship between the NAME sistema and student achievement. These studies include an implementation study to determine outcomes of schools who have implemented NAME; a comparison study that will compare NAME schools with non-NAME schools; and a number of parent and learner surveys to determine perceptions of the learning experience.
The Sistemas team has ambitious plans to conduct research that will further demonstrate the relationship the program has with learner outcomes. For an overview of these plans, please see the Impact Evaluation Report below.
In 2013, we announced our efficacy initiative to measure the impact that our products and services have on our learners. We committed to publicly report our findings starting in 2018, and to subject those reports to external audit. We are pleased to release our preliminary reports to share the work we have done so far and what we have planned ahead. The content in these reports reflects the continued refinement of our approach; while our work continues to advance, we are proud to share transparently what we have learned. We anticipate that we will continue to further refine these reports as we approach our 2018 target.