inside peeks

Keeping Our Schools Safe & Secure for Students

Mali Rising Foundation is committed to maintaining a good learning environment for all students attending our schools. Sometimes this commitment translates into hard and dirty maintenance work, in partnership with villages. Our older schools were built with mud bricks, and these structures can develop cracks. We’ve also found bats love to make their home between ceilings of the classrooms and the roof. What to do?…

Photo Update from 2018 Teacher Training

Last week, more than 40 Mali Rising teachers came together for 5 days of training and sharing ideas. This is all thanks to our generous supporters, who understand that a school is only as good as its teachers. Thanks to our donors, each Mali Rising school now has two teachers with more skills to share with their students!

Help Us Welcome New Board Member, Chris Mason

Please help us welcome Chris Mason to Mali Rising’s board of directors! Chris actually joined us early in 2018, but we’ve been remiss in sharing the news. “I was inspired to join Mali Rising when I learned that I could help promote education opportunities for children in Mali,” says Chris. “Education has profoundly shaped my career, so the idea that I could help an organization open education paths for children in an economically depressed region was exciting.”

Outtakes From Travels in Mali

Our trips to Mali are packed full of beautiful, excited students. So our photos tend to feature those great kids. Great kids, and loving shots of the Mali Rising school buildings. But we know so of the most interesting things are the little peeks at life in Mali. So, we’re sharing a few of our favorite non-kid, non-school (mostly) photos from the trip here…

The Mindful Bunch Middle School Celebration Launches Learning!

There is really nothing as joyful as celebrating something like a new school with the partners — now friends — who worked together to achieve the goal. The sense of camaraderie, achievement, and hope for the future simply cannot be beat. So we were very glad to celebrate the opening of Kafara’s new Mali Rising school — The Mindful Bunch Middle School — with the leaders, parents, and children of the village…

0 to 98%: The Mystery of the DEF Scores Continues

Looking at this year's DEF results we see something we've seen in previous years -- an incredibly wide variation in pass rates among our schools. Two schools did incredibly well with 98% of their students passing; two schools did incredibly poorly with 0% of their students passing. Nine of our 19 middle schools beat the average national pass rate this year (70%), while 10 did not.  Why this incredible variation in results?

The Mystery of the Fluctuating DEF Scores

The DEF exam in Mali tests 9th grade students as they graduate from middle school. If students pass the test, they are eligible to continue on to higher education. If they fail, they must repeat 9th grade until they succeed. This reality combined with the fact that the DEF test results are the only quantitative measure we have of how much our students are learning means that it’s incredibly important to us to have strong pass rates. Frustratingly, DEF pass rates fluctuate greatly from year to year. Why?

Diving Beneath the Data

I love working with the data because it shows us where we’re at, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. It’s exciting to track our progress over multiple years, to dig into whether we’re improving or not and why. But as much as data is able to tell us, there is a lot that it can’t tell us, and a lot that is misleading with careful review.