Six questions to consider before you enter the education market in Pakistan

Posted on 31 January 2018

This practice paper is primarily aimed at businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups and not for profits interested in designing and taking to market education innovations that aim to reach poor and marginalised children in Pakistan.

Although the response is based on Ilm Ideas 2’s experience in Pakistan, it can be applied anywhere in the world where individuals and organisations supporting education solutions aim to become financially sustainable businesses.

It is not intended to be definitive advice but rather to serve as a prompt to find out more.

The Calculus Project: Creating a New Path to Success

Posted on 30 January 2018


The Calculus Project began at Brookline High, in Massachusetts, a very high-performing district with a troubling achievement gap – over 50% of white students scored in the advanced level in math, compared to 16% of African-American students and 31% of Latino students. Few African-American, Latino, and low-income students enrolled in high-level math classes, and those who did enroll soon dropped down to lower levels.


Research shows the power of high school calculus in propelling students toward completing college, and increasing the number of students who study STEM disciplines. The goal of The Calculus Project was to enable African American, Latino, and low-income students to enroll and succeed in the study of calculus in their senior year. To accomplish that, all seventh grade students in these sub-groups were invited to engage in a series of focused innovations that continued through their senior year in high school. These include:

  1. Pre-teaching in the summer, and re-teaching/tutoring during the school year the full sequence of mathematics courses from grade 8 through grade 12.
  2. Intentionally populating high-level math classes with a critical mass of students of color and low-income students, creating a more comfortable and productive academic setting for these students.
  3. Developing after-school study groups with support from teachers, (the after-school supervised study groups often become student-created “beyond school” study groups, rarely seen with these historically underperforming students).
  4. The Pride Curriculum teaches students about the historical accomplishments of STEM professionals of color, and includes interactions between the students and successful STEM professionals of color.
  5. Paid “peer teaching” opportunities in the summer program for high achieving Calculus Project students during the 11th and 12th grades..
  6. Transition-to-college planning, and follow-up academic and personal support for students at college


Almost every student in Cohort I enrolled and succeeded in Calculus Honors and AP Calculus in their senior year of high school. In June 2014, students in Cohort I graduated from Brookline High School and now attend some of the most

competitive colleges and universities in the country, such as MIT, NYU, Duke, Emory, and Centre College. Some have already declared STEM majors. Five more cohorts behind them are demonstrating similar success. In an increasingly technological world in which the STEM disciplines and careers offer tremendous intellectual and economic growth opportunities, The Calculus Project can open doors to this world to students for whom these doors have been historically closed.

Owning the Data: Improving Education at Bassette Elementary School

Posted on 29 January 2018

Owning the Data encompasses the very heart of the work done at Bassette Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia. Through an objective school quality review and a scope of work directed toward school improvement, the work was started to ensure that student learning and teacher accountability increased. Through this work double digit gains were seen in three areas and the climate and the morale of the school greatly improved.


Bassette Elementary is a Title 1 school located in Hampton, Virginia. Bassette is the only school in Hampton, Virginia that is currently on priority status. Bassette has been supported as they work through the steps to reach full accreditation by having direct support from central office as well as school assigned math and reading support. The superintendent has promised to give Bassette the support they need to not only come off of priority but to be fully accredited.


We planned and implemented a series of steps that resulted in double digit gains in math, language arts, and science. Our team conducted a School Quality Review that pointed at things done well and a place for improvement.


As a result from input from division and school leaders, Cambridge Education was able to tailor its work to meet the needs of Hampton City Schools. Quarterly data meetings with school leadership and observers from Virginia Department of Education staff allowed for monitoring of school improvements. The Cambridge staff clearly supported Bassette with instructional coaching, professional development and the implementation of appropriate systems that support student growth and learning.

Through a series of changes in staffing, finding more intervention time in the master schedule, monitoring staff through frequent observations and professional feedback, supporting staff with needed professional development, unpacking and supporting the teaching of appropriate standards, and focusing on student discipline and staff absenteeism Bassette has shown remarkable improvement that has been recognized as outstanding at the state level.