Measuring Functional Literacy and Numeracy for Lifelong Learning

By Luis Crouch, Chief Technical Officer of the International Development Group (RTI), and Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

As the Fourth Meeting of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) gets underway in Madrid, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) explores how best to measure functional literacy and numeracy.

750 million adults – including 102 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 – cannot even read or write a simple sentence, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This is one of our most widely cited figures, reported in just about every report and index related to sustainable development. Yet what do the data really tell us? The truth is these serve simple measures serve as a barometer – alerting us of the problem but offering little in the way of guidance to help governments and non-governmental organizations address an issue key to people’s survival and success in an increasingly digital worldContinue reading

How to Harmonize Regional and International Learning Assessments

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), Mmantsetsa Marope, Director of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) and Renato Opertti, Senior Programme Specialist of the IBE-UNESCO.

 This blog was also published by the IBE.

As education stakeholders, including governments, assessment initiatives and donors gather in Madrid for the Fourth Meeting of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the International Bureau of Education set out strategies to help resolve the technical and political challenges of measurement.

 Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) – an inclusive and quality education for all – is a crucial benchmark for global well-being. Its broad ambitions have been given tangible force by SDG 4, Target 1: by 2030, all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. And the measure of success? Indicator 4.1.1.: the percentage of children and youth achieving a minimal level of competency in literacy and numeracy in three points in time and by sex: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary.

A new paper from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) examines the technical and political challenges in producing cross-nationally comparable assessment data for indicator 4.1.1 as well as a set of criteria and strategies to overcome them. Continue reading

News from Hamburg: Big Steps Forward towards Reliable Metrics to Harmonise Learning Assessment Data Globally

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Dirk Hastedt, Executive Director of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA)

This blog was also published by Norrag.

On the day that the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released new global numbers of children and adolescents not learning, representatives from regional and international learning assessments gathered in Hamburg, Germany. They had answered the UIS’ call to come together to help tackle measurement issues around the coverage and comparability of data for SDGs Indicator 4.1.1: the proportion of children and young people in Grade 2 or 3; at the end of primary education; and at the end of lower secondary education, achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics. Continue reading

New Data Reveal a Learning Crisis that Threatens Development Around the World

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), and Karen Mundy, Chief Technical Officer at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

New data released today by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. This signals a learning crisis that could threaten progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Continue reading

Learning Progression Explorer: Tell Us What You Think


By Ray Adams, Director of ACER’s Centre for Global Education Monitoring and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The push for globally-comparable measures of learning is truly underway, with work well advanced through the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) to develop common metrics to benchmark student performance in reading and mathematics. The development of common metrics is fundamental to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4): ensure inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. Common metrics are crucial if we are to obtain a comprehensive and comparable picture of how well children are learning what they need to learn – the ‘quality’ part of the SDG 4 equation. Continue reading

A Pragmatic and Unified Approach to Measure Learning Globally

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

This blog was also published by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Last month saw a major leap forward on the global reporting of learning outcomes – on which children are learning, which children are not learning, and why.

At a meeting convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in Washington D.C. on June 26, partners representing regional and international learning assessments, as well as development partners, pledged to move forward together to tackle the pressing need for comparable data on learning outcomes at the global level. Continue reading

Monitoring Reading and Writing to Help Children Climb the Ladder of Education

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)

This piece was also published by the Global Reading Network.

In his short story “Instructions to climb a ladder,” Julio Cortazar uses more than 380 words to explain an action that, you would think, requires no explanation at all. He writes, for example: “The first steps are always the most difficult, just to acquire the coordination needed.” He also notes the coincidence of the raising of “the foot” and “the foot” of the ladder.

Continue reading