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Abstract

The leadership of Qatar is greatly invested in its K–12 education reform, Education for a New Era, because it views education as the key to the nation's economic and social progress. This study, one of a number of RAND studies that trace and document the reform process in Qatar, was designed to assess progress made in the first years of the K–12 reform's implementation in Qatar's schools. The study team relied on two complementary approaches — a case study analysis of classroom- and school-level observational and interview data from 16 schools (four traditional, Ministry of Education schools; 12 new, Independent schools), and an analysis of national survey and student performance data — to assess the school-level implementation of key reform components and a key interim reform output: the academic performance of students in Independent schools compared with that of students in Ministry schools. The study's findings, based on data collected from 2004 to 2007, indicate that in the early years: (1) The reform was working, but more progress was needed. The new, Independent schools were more student focused than were Ministry schools and differed from Ministry schools in many expected ways; principals, teachers, parents, and students, for the most part, recognized and appreciated the differences. (2) Few changes had occurred in the Ministry schools. (3) Although reform institutions and components were in place, a substantial number of policy changes precipitated by implementation concerns during these early years resulted in uncertainty and concern among stakeholders, potentially limiting the reform's future power. (4) Independent school students outperformed their Ministry peers on new national assessments in Arabic and English. Independent school students assessed in Arabic also outperformed Ministry students in mathematics and science. However, most students were not yet meeting the reform's new, higher standards.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Methods

  • Chapter Three

    Recruiting, Retaining, and Developing Staff in Qatar's Independent Schools

  • Chapter Four

    Developing Curriculum and Instructional Materials

  • Chapter Five

    Evaluating Classroom Practice and Pedagogy

  • Chapter Six

    Improving Student Performance Through Motivation Strategies and Parent Engagement

  • Chapter Seven

    Measuring Student Performance

  • Chapter Eight

    Summary of Findings and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Summary of Classroom Observations

  • Appendix B

    Student Achievement Model

The research described in this report was prepared for the Supreme Education Council and conducted within RAND Education and the RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, programs of the RAND Corporation.

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