Perceptions and practice: the impact of academic learning in Panama’s public schools

A variety of problems impede research and action oriented toward better education quality in Panama. One of these is the lack of standardized test data that provides baseline data for impact evaluations. Additionally, there is little information available on the perceptions of teachers and school directors with regard to education excellence and how it may be achieved. Finally, the allocation of resources and effort, public and private, should be based on priorities defined in accordance with reliable research data, which is often not the case. This project aims to contribute to all of these.

The research incorporates a qualitative analysis based on the codification of questionnaires presented to schools participating in the national Education Excellence competition, a quantitative analysis of the results obtained by the students on the Education Excellence tests and correlation of these with the qualitative analysis, and an identification of those programs that appear to positively impact student learning at the school level. With the results achieved in this study and the presentation of concrete data, the hope is to influence national decision-making, the organization of priorities, and the design and implementation of education interventions and communications.

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