Tanzania secondary school students are required to take government-specified exams every two years. The purpose of these national exams is to provide an objective measure of student performance. They are the Form 2, Form 4, and Form 6 exams and these three exams matter significantly to a student’s path through school. All schools are ranked by levels based on their students’ performance.
A few months ago, in November 2018, the first cohort ever of Quest Forward Learning students in Tanzania took the Form 2 national exams. Provided to secondary schools throughout Tanzania from the Opportunity Education Foundation Tanzania, Quest Forward Learning empowers students with skills-forward academic materials, teachers with effective methods and tools for mentoring, and secondary schools with the most innovative digital learning capabilities available today.
The first Quest Forward students who took the exam attend Mtakuja Secondary School in Moshi. The results from the recent Form 2 national exams are nothing short of impressive.
A few highlights:
- Compared against 94 district schools, the school ranked 7th, up from 48th in the prior year. This is an almost shocking outcome, in that Mtakuja Secondary School outperformed many historically leading schools in the district.
- The excellent exam performance was driven by 35 of 48 (or 73%) students scoring in Division I, which is considered an outstanding performance. Last year only 15% of Form 2 students at Mtakuja scored well enough to reach Division I.
The full comparison to last year’s Mtakuja Form 2 students (who were not part of Quest Forward Learning at the school) looks as follows:
| ||2017 Form 2||2018 Form 2||Change (%)|
|Division I – Outstanding Performance||10||35||+ 57.4%|
|Division II – Excellent Performance||7||10||+ 10%|
|Division III – Good Performance||15||0||– 23.4%|
| Division IV – Low Performance||29||3||– 39%|
|Division 0 – Unsatisfactory Performance||3||0||– 5%|
We believe that several factors are driving this dramatic improvement in exam performance:
- The students speak, read, and write much better English than their peers, because as Quest Forward students, they practice English all day, every day.
- The students are more engaged, ask more questions, and learn their materials more deeply.
- Curiosity drives students toward knowledge.
- The teachers generally support students much more individually with their learning, which we expect to drive better learning outcomes.
- Quest Forward students master subject content and develop critical-thinking skills.
Quest Forward Learning meets the National Curriculum standards of Tanzania, uses contemporary materials, emphasizes skills growth, and enables students to work independently or in small groups. At the same time, this curriculum enables teachers to work more closely with students, engaging them in small groups, and mentoring them much more closely than most secondary school teachers ever will. Moreover, these materials were designed by Tanzanian teachers, who understand their students and schools well, and who offer subject-matter expertise.
Now in 19 schools, on both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, Quest Forward Learning serves the needs of students, parents, teachers, and school leaders—all who share the goal of providing a better learning experience.
The Opportunity Education Tanzania team, the Mtakuja Secondary School, and its mentors and students are extremely proud of the Form 2 results. We believe that this is tangible evidence that Quest Forward Learning is enabling the students to succeed in new and amazing ways.