Measures of quality through classroom observation for the Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons from low-and-middle-income countries

Background paper prepared for the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable futures for all With the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global education agencies are grappling with how quality can and should be measured for global reporting purposes. Several factors at the education system, school, and classroom levels shape education quality, including the limited information available at the global level about what is happening in the classroom. Such information can only come through observation-based measures that record teacher practices, either through routine monitoring conducted by system actors or through surveys. Classroom observation is used extensively in not only teacher education and professional development, but also in evaluation studies. However, there are fewer cases where classroom observations are used for system monitoring purposes—particularly in low- and middle- income countries. This paper reviews what has been learned from observation instruments in low- and middle-income countries and what opportunities (i.e., scope) there are to systematize these countries to that they can monitor quality at both the school and system levels.

CIES 2017 Presentation: Measurement of early reading under the SDGs

Measurement of learning is central to the Sustainable Development Goals for education, both in early primary (grade 2/3) and in early childhood (under the age of 5) (IAEG 2016). Of particular concern is the ability of global measurement approaches to reflect the social and linguistic differences of a diverse range of societies, including traditionally marginalized groups. This presentation relies on literacy assessment data to answer the following question: can results from non-equated national assessments be used to report against global goals?

What Have We Learned? Improving Development Policy through Impact Evaluation (Presentation)

From the CGD Website on the event: "Please join the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) to take stock of the evidence and impact evaluation movement and its promise for improving social policy in developing countries. In 2006, CGD released a working group report titled “When Will We Ever Learn? Improving Lives Through Impact Evaluation.” It described an evaluation gap and proposed an international effort to systematically build evidence on “what works” in development with the aim of improving the effectiveness of social programs. Ten years later, we will reflect on progress toward these goals. Despite a host of challenges, hundreds of millions of people across the world have benefited from programs that have been rigorously evaluated and scaled up. Impact evaluation has generated knowledge about poverty and public policy leading to better programs. At the event, policymakers and evaluators will discuss examples of how evaluation has helped enhance effectiveness, and a panel of evaluation funders will reflect on lessons learned and the way forward. In a time of political transition, we seek to re-energize the movement for increased evidence and value for money in public and aid spending. Among others, the event will feature: Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Amanda Glassman (CGD), Rachel Glennerster (J-PAL), Markus Goldstein (World Bank), Amber Gove (RTI International), Rema Hanna (Harvard), Emannuel Jimenez (3ie), Michael Kremer (Harvard), Darius Mogaka (Government of Kenya), Santhosh Mathew (Government of India), William Savedoff (CGD), and Bambang Widianto (Government of Indonesia)." Download the presentation slides from the Kenya case study using the "Download" link, or click on the external website link for more information on the event.

Measurement of Early Childhood Development and Learning under the Sustainable Development Goals

Article published in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities Volume 17, 2016 - Issue 4: Investing in Early Childhood Development. Published abstract: "Children’s early development serves as the foundation for later health, learning and well-being. The inclusion of early childhood development (ECD) in the Sustainable Development Goals implies that countries must report on the percentage of children under 5 years of age who are “developmentally on track.” This note briefly reflects on the history of global ECD goals and their measurement and outlines the challenge ahead: creating a workable strategy for ECD measurement that balances the need for national relevance with globally comparable data. The global variation in the timing and nature of early childhood skills acquisition presents an important opportunity as countries set their own standards for what it means to be developmentally on track. Country-driven measurement and standard setting, derived from measurement approaches that meet international expectations for quality, can have an important influence on policy and practice. Countries can measure the development of their youngest citizens in a way that is most relevant and useful to them, so that they may use those data to ensure that all children have the opportunity to fulfill their potential."

Classroom-up policy change: Early reading and math assessments at work

This article reviews the development of the EGRA and EGMA, which are locally tailored, timely assessments designed to directly inform policy and instruction for learning improvement, particularly for countries on the lower end of the income spectrum. The history of the design and implementation of the tools as well as case studies of their use in Egypt and Kenya, are a useful counterbalance to the experience of the more traditional international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) documented in this special issue—in particular for understanding the needs of countries struggling to transform ‘education for all’ into ‘learning for all’.

The early grade reading assessment (EGRA): Its theoretical foundation, purpose, and limitations

Article published in the International Journal of Educational Development. Volume 40, January 2015, Pages 315–322. Published abstract: The rise and widespread adoption of the early grade reading assessment (EGRA) has produced an ample supply of critics and converts. This paper seeks to clarify the purpose of EGRA and its limitations. EGRA was created to inform education systems and programmes and alone, is not an intervention. Designed to measure some of the foundational literacy skills that readers need for beginning reading, EGRA is a collection of subtasks, each with a specific purpose. This paper includes a description and rationale for each subtask, as well as the conceptual framework that underpins the assessment. Key results from multiple surveys provide informative, grounded examples of how the assessment results are being used to inform both classroom practice and system-level policy. We conclude with a brief discussion on the potential uses of EGRA and similar oral assessments of early learning for informing the monitoring of the post-2015 education indicators.

Early Reading: Igniting Education for All. A report by the Early Grade Learning Community of Practice

Learning to read is a fundamental part of the first few years of primary education for early and sustained success in school. Yet, in many developing countries, a distressing number of students are not learning to read at all during these critical first years of schooling. On September 8, International Literacy Day, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings and the International Reading Association hosted a discussion on how ensuring literacy in the early grades can help to fulfill the promise of quality education for all. Amber Gove of RTI International presented the findings from the attached report “Early Reading: Igniting Education for All,” which represents the work of a community of practice that has been developing and refining assessment tools, piloting interventions, and sharing practices for scaling up these proven methods of improving literacy. Following the presentation, USAID Director of Education David Barth and International Reading Association President Patricia Edwards and Jamaica Teachers Association General Secretary Adolph Cameron joined a panel discussion on the paper’s findings. This revised version, with additional data and evidence from early reading interventions, was released in May 2011.

Assessment for Results: Early Grade Reading Assessments for Learning Improvement

In classrooms, teachers use a variety of assessments. Formative and summative assessments provide them information on the effectiveness of the instruction they are providing during and after a lesson. Assessments also differ in the type of information they provide. Criterion-referenced assessments measure what students know against a set of skills or knowledge. Results from norm-referenced assessments indicate how well a student did in relation to a group of similar students. Each type of assessment has a function and provides unique information to the system.

Actionable Data for a More Literate World: Using large-scale assessment to improve results

This presentation, delivered at the MENA region All Children Reading workshop in Rabat, provides an overview of results to date in the region and introduces the early grade reading barometer.

Early Grade(s) Reading Assessments: Evolution and Implementation to date

Evolution, coverage, Results, Challenges and opportunities of early grade reading assessments (EGRA).