Nepal: Assessing Early Grade Reading Outcomes the Cost-effective Way [CIES 2022 Presentation]

Policy linking is a standard-setting methodology, long used in many countries, to set benchmarks (or cut scores) on learning assessments that allow those countries to determine what percentage of students in their country are meeting minimum proficiency requirements for key skills such as reading and math. While it is an old standard-setting methodology, its use has been extended to help countries set benchmarks that will allow reporting against global standards. Policy linking allows countries to use their existing national and/or regional assessments to report against Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.1.1: “Proportion of children and young people in Grade 2 or 3 (4.1.1a), at the end of primary education (4.1.1b), and at the end of lower secondary education (4.1.1c) who achieve at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics.” It works by linking assessments to the Global Proficiency Framework (GPF), a framework developed by global reading and math content experts based on current national content and assessment frameworks across more than 25 countries. The GPF provides performance expectations/ standards for learners in Grades 1-9 in reading and mathematics. By linking existing national and regional assessments to the GPF, countries and donors are able to compare learning outcomes across language groups in countries as well as across countries and over time, assuming all new assessments are subsequently linked to the GPF. In this roundtable, we will share learning from policy linking work that has taken place this past year. Following a brief introduction to Policy Linking for Measuring Global Learning Outcomes by Dr. Saima Malik, from USAID in Washington DC, Dr. Asumpta Matei from the Kenya National Examinations Council and Dr. Enos Radeny of USAID Kenya will present the model of a Policy Linking workshop that was designed and implemented in order to build ministry capacity as well as set benchmarks for grades 2 and 3 in English and Kiswahili in Kenya, Dr. Abdullah Ferdous and Dr. Jeff Davis of AIR (co-developers of the policy linking approach) will discuss the importance of feedback in establishing defensible global benchmarks during the policy linking process and Dr. Jodie Fonseca from RTI will share practical example from Nepal where policy linking was used to align the national assessment to the Global Proficiency Framework and proved to be a more cost-effective way to measure early grade reading outcomes than an EGRA. Melissa Chiappetta of Sage Perspectives will serve as discussant of the panel.