Concept of Mindspark Centres

GirlsMindspark Centres are technology-based remedial centres which help underprivileged students of classes 1-8 learn Hindi language and Mathematics. (English is also taught for 30 minutes a week.) 5 Mindspark Centres are running in slum / lower class areas of South Delhi (Govindpuri, Chhatarpur, Tekhand, Tughlaqabad and Sangam Vihar.) Each centre has 20 or 30 computers and students come daily for 90 minutes each in designated slots between 8am and 8pm. They do 45 minutes of Hindi / Maths on the computer and 45 minutes of small group instruction or Homework or Exam Support. Each centre can provide up to 480 students from poor families an opportunity to learn using an established adaptive learning program, Mindspark, whose English version is being used in over 100 elite private schools in India. The centres have run successfully for about 18 months[1] and learning gains observed in Hindi and Mathematics have both been very high as detailed below. This proposal seeks extended support to these 5 centres plus the establishment of 3 to 8 additional centres providing detailed high quality learning support to about 5,000 students annually.

GirlsWe see the Mindspark Centres as investment in an initial effort which, if proven successful, would provide quality learning at extremely affordable costs to students across the country. The model is highly scalable as it uses technology and large scale research into how students learn and even its current results are not based on skilled teachers (which is non-replicable at scale.) It builds on parents interest to give their children 'computer' education and send them for 'tuitions' while strengthening basic language and Maths learning and students' critical thinking abilities. Over 5 years we are envisioning a cluster of 36-50centres in Delhi which would be a replicable model in other urban areas of India, whereas a similar in-school programme is also being piloted (not as a part of the current proposal) for rural areas.

Analysis of Learning Gains Obtained in Mindspark Centres

Mindspark Centres have followed a rigorous evaluation pattern since inception where every child is tested every 3 months. Improvements in Mindspark Centres are measured by calculating effect size which helps in quantifying the effectiveness of a particular intervention. It is considered a more sophisticated approach by placing the emphasis on the size of the effect rather than its statistical significance (which conflates effect size and sample size)[2]. An effect size of 1.0 means shifting the learning curve of the group as a whole to the right by one standard deviation.

Learning outcomes data has been tracked for the past 18 months and the results from Mindspark Centres show very significant learning improvements when compared to international benchmarks.

Tests comparison # of students Average of post-test Average of pre-test Pooled Standard Deviation Effect size Subject Time duration
T6 vs T5 154 59% 50% 0.16 0.57 Maths 3 months
T6 vs T4 37 64% 50% 0.14 1.04 Maths 6 months
T6 vs T5 174 77% 63% 0.12 1.19 Hindi 3 months
T6 vs T4 35 79% 63% 0.13 1.23 Hindi 6 months
Effect size = (change in post-test vs pre-test scores)/(pooled standard deviation).

An effect size of 0.4 in a 12 month time frame is considered 'above average'[3]. An effect size of greater than 0.7 in 12 months is considered a 'very high'[4] level of intervention.

  1. The centres were run so far with support from Central Square Foundation (started by Mr Ashish Dhawan)
  2. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002182.htm
  3. http://www.teacherstoolbox.co.uk/T_effect_sizes.html
  4. http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Technical_Appendices_(July_2012).pdf
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