How Civil Society Can Supply Rigorous Data for the SDGs: The Citizen-Led Assessment Approach

By Hannah-May Wilson, Senior Technical Consultant, PAL Network

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were drafted in 2015, there was broad agreement that the new global goals needed to evolve from measuring increased access, investment in infrastructure and reporting average learning gains, to measuring learning with a focus on the most disadvantaged children. The focus on ensuring that no child is left behind is crucial. Evidence from many low-income countries shows that learning inequalities are visible before children even start school, primarily driven by disparities in wealth. When wealth disparities interact with other forms of disadvantage such as gender, geographic location, disability, and ethnic and linguistic minority status, they reinforce and exacerbate disadvantage, with the consequence that disadvantaged children have little chance of ever catching up.

Failure to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education in many low-income countries, coupled with the uncomfortable fact that millions of children who are in school are not learning the basics, have resulted in a ‘global learning crisis’ affecting more than one-half of all children and adolescents, according to estimates from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The new data have set alarm bells ringing and are the central focus of the 2018 World Bank Development Report. The eye-watering fact is that today, of the 617 million children and adolescents worldwide not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics, two-thirds are in school. Continue reading

Educational Prosperity: Looking Beyond Equality to Equity

By J. Douglas Willms, President of The Learning Bar Inc

The educational prosperity framework that I introduced in a recent blog provides an essential structure for understanding the holistic and cumulative ways that children develop, learn and thrive. The benefits of the framework are hardly theoretical: they provide an important and practical guide for ways that monitoring data can—and should—be used to create smarter and more effective policies to help young people thrive.  Continue reading

The Educational Prosperity Framework: Helping Countries Provide Foundational Learning for All

By J. Douglas Willms, President of The Learning Bar Inc

To honour World Teachers Day, this blog presents an assessment framework, called Education Prosperity, that can be used to track the success of teachers, families, communities and public institutions in developing children’s cognitive skills and their social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Continue reading

Helping Countries Make the Most of their Education Investments with the Global Content Framework of Reference for Reading

By Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)
This blog was also published by Norrag

On Saturday, the world celebrated International Literacy Day. And indeed there was much to celebrate, with literacy rates continuing to rise from one generation to the next, remarkable progress on literacy among youth, in particular, and a steady narrowing of gender gaps. Half a century ago, almost one quarter of youth worldwide lacked the most basic literacy skills, falling to less than 10% in 2016.

But we also need to take a step back and look at just how far we still have to go. Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that 750 million adults – two-thirds of them women – still lack basic reading and writing skills. What’s more, 102 million of those who cannot read or write worldwide are aged 15 to 24. This tells us that something is not working when it comes to equipping youth with these basic skills. Continue reading

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