Improving Educational Outcomes among Rural Secondary School Students in Nicaragua

Arlington, VA, United States of America
over 2 years
Project Location: 
Project Goals: 

With a previous grant from the Tinker Foundation, Fabretto Children’s Foundation undertook a rigorous third-party evaluation of its SAT program in Nicaragua. The Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT) was developed in Colombia in the 1970s and was brought to Nicaragua in 2007 by Fabretto to provide high quality secondary education to rural populations with little or no access to traditional secondary schools. Education faculty from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a qualitative and quantitative evaluation and produced a report with several substantive recommendations. While various strengths were noted, the report highlighted the need to contextualize the curriculum and strongly urged greater customization of the training provided to tutors. This two year grant from the Tinker Foundation will support Fabretto to implement those recommendations.

Fabretto will also address several identified gaps in the SAT curriculum, particularly those related to Nicaraguan history and culture, and add some topics to better harmonize with the national curricula of the Ministry of Education. Though SAT textbooks are applicable in many contexts and used throughout Latin America Fabretto will adjust the content to make it more understandable and relevant to Nicaraguan students. Adjustments include changes to reflect local idioms, terminology (particularly with regard to agriculture and the environment), customs, and the sequencing and timing of lessons. Relying on each tutor to make the adjustments is challenging and burdensome to tutors who teach multiple subjects and do not have access to reference materials, and also leads to undesired variability in student learning across groups.

By further improving and standardizing the program, Fabretto's work over the following two years is aimed at securing official recognition of and funding for SAT from Nicaragua’s Ministry of Education and thereby encouraging the ministry and other relevant NGOs to adopt and replicate the SAT program for rural youth across the country.

Project Director: 
Helen Edwards