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?
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.
Every June ninth graders all around Mali face their biggest academic challenge yet -- the national graduation exam, known as the DEF. Our students survived the exam this year and exceeded the national pass rate!