Expanding educational opportunities in Ghana: bilingualism and biliteracy for young learners
Standards and Milestones
To establish a basis for enhancing pupils’ ability to read and write, CAL staff worked with leaders at the Ghana Education Service to draft the Literacy Standards and Milestones for primary school—what pupils should know and be able to do as a result of instruction. The development process involved drafting standards and milestones in committee; review by other high level staff of the Ghana Education Service, teacher training institutions, and universities, and by EQUALL staff; refining the documents; and holding stakeholder meetings to validate the standards. Developers drew on policy documents, including Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan, which calls for ensuring literacy and numeracy in English and Ghanaian Languages, and primary school syllabi for English and Ghanaian language. They also considered standards documents from international organizations as a background for their work, which are in turn based on recent reading and writing research.
CAL staff and consultants drafted the Standards and Milestones for Listening and Speaking, which represent the stages in development of oral language skills in both Ghanaian language(s) and English. The document was vetted with colleagues from the Ghana Education Service, teacher training institutions, and District Education Office personnel. These standards indirectly support Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan for ensuring literacy and numeracy in English and Ghanaian Languages because well-developed oral language skills provide an essential basis for reading. The Standards and Milestones for Listening and Speaking are based in current research on first language development and second language acquisition.
For implementation of the Literacy Standards and Milestones, CAL staff and consultants worked with colleagues at the Ghana Education Service to develop an instructional assessment tool and related instructional and assessment processes for use in schools and the Colleges of Education. A series of workshops on these materials and the Literacy Standards and Milestones introduced teachers, head teachers, district trainers, and circuit supervisors to the standards and their implications for practice. Primary school teachers in the Mfantseman District began building lessons on the standards and milestones, with support from the district trainers and CAL consultants.
The two standards documents provided a backbone of the National Literacy Acceleration Programme (NALAP)—Ghana’s bilingual and biliteracy program for early primary school. They helped to anchor the scope and sequence documents that underlie the Teacher Guides and the pupil reading materials.