• 1. MPL and GPF
    • Minimum Proficiency Levels (MPLs)
    • Global Proficiency Framework (GPF)
  • 2. National Assessment Methodologies
    • Statistical Linking
    • Non-Statistical Linking
    • Additional Assessment Methodology Resources
  • 3. Partner Resources
    • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
    • World Bank
    • GAML
    • TCG
    • Learning Data Compact
    • USAID
    • UNICEF
    • Global Partnership for Education
    • United Nations Secretary-General


1. MPL and GPF

Minimum Proficiency Levels (MPLs)

The Minimum Proficiency Level (MPL) is the benchmark of basic knowledge in a domain (mathematics, reading, etc.) measured through learning assessments.

Key Resources

Minimum Proficiency Levels used to report for indicator 4.1.1 UNESCO-UIS

Global Proficiency Framework (GPF)

The Global Proficiency Framework, or GPF, describes the specific knowledge and skills that students in grades one to nine should be able to demonstrate in reading and mathematics at their respective grade levels. It differs from the MPLs in that it assigns student mastery a performance level.

Key Resources

Global Proficiency Framework for Reading & Math Toolkit USAID, Aug 2019

2. National Assessment Methodologies

Statistical Linking

These are methods that can help countries map existing assessment data to regional and international assessment data so that it can be used to report to the 4.1.1 indicator. Examples include:

  • Rosetta Stone Study: The Rosetta Stone is a pilot program designed to establish a relationship between existing national and regional assessment data and international assessment scores so that the existing data is relevant to the indicator 4.1.1.
  • AMPL: AMPL has 3 modules (AMPL-a, -b, -c), with each measuring 4.1.1 indicators at the following three levels of education (a: Grade 2/3, b: end of primary, c: end of lower secondary). AMPL modules can be administered as standalone assessments or as sections integrated into existing assessments.

Key Resources:

Rosetta Stone Study, UNESCO-UIS

Learn more about AMPL

MILO: Monitoring Impacts on Learning Outcomes, UNESCO-UIS, 2022

Assessments for MPLs – MILO, UNESCO-UIS


Non-Statistical Linking

This methodology draws educators, curriculum and subject matter experts together to determine the relationships between existing data and indicator 4.1.1 proficiency levels. Examples of this method are Policy Linking and Pairwise Comparison.

  • Policy Linking: This entails training in-country reading and mathematics experts (mainly teachers) to use an internationally approved judgment method to set the minimum score students must achieve to meet the global definition of MPLs.

Key Resources

Policy Linking for Measuring Global Learning Outcomes Toolkit, USAID, March 2021

Draft Criteria for Policy Linking Validity, UNESCO-UIS, January 2020

  • Pairwise Comparison: This consists of a group of reading and mathematics experts (mainly teachers) and psychometricians evaluating the difficulty of assessment items but in an independent way.

Key Resources

Reporting learning outcomes in basic education: Country’s options for indicator 4.1.1


Additional Assessment Methodology Resources


TIMSS and PIRLS are international assessments that monitor trends in student achievement in mathematics, science, and reading.


PISA is the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.


Programme for the Analysis of Education Systems (PASEC) is intended for francophone countries in West Africa and measures reading and mathematics at grades 2 and 6. The grade 6 data can be used to report to indicator 4.1.1b.


EQAP administers the Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA), the Pacific’s largest regional assessment of literacy and numeracy.


The Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) is a regional learning assessment and capacity building programme designed by and for Southeast Asian countries to improve relevant and equitable learning outcomes for students in basic education.


The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) measures reading and mathematics skills at grade 6 and the data can be used to report to indicator 4.1.1b.

3. Partner Resources

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UIS has been clearly recognised as the “the official source of cross-nationally comparable data on education.”

Sustainable Development Goal 4 | UNESCO UIS

World Bank

The World Bank is introducing the concept of Learning Poverty, drawing on new data developed in coordination with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

What is Learning Poverty?

Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning

Guide for Learning Recovery and Acceleration

The State of Learning Poverty Report: 2022 Update

70% of 10-Year-Olds now in Learning Poverty, Unable to Read and Understand a Simple Text


Led by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), GAML brings together UN member states, international technical expertise, and a full range of implementation partners to improve learning assessment globally.

Global Alliance to Monitor Learning Home Page


The Technical Cooperation Group provides a platform to discuss and develop the indicators used to monitor the Education 2030 Agenda in an open, inclusive, and transparent manner.

Technical Cooperation Group on the Indicators for SDG 4

Learning Data Compact

UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank have joined forces to close the learning data gaps that still exist and that preclude many countries from monitoring the quality of their education systems and assess if their students are learning. The three organizations have agreed to a Learning Data Compact, a commitment to ensure that all countries, especially low-income countries, have at least one quality measure of learning by 2025, supporting coordinated efforts to strengthen national assessment systems.

Learning Data Compact – UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank Unite to End the Learning Data Crisis


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked closely with UIS and other partners over the past four years to develop the Global Proficiency Framework (GPF) and the Policy Linking Toolkit. An overview of these resources, information (including short videos) summarizing their purposes, the resources themselves, and other related content are available at the links below.

Global Proficiency Framework: Reading and Mathematics | Education Links

Policy Linking for Measuring Global Learning Outcomes | Education Links


UNICEF focuses on equity and inclusion to provide all children – no matter who they are, where they live or how much money their family has – with quality learning opportunities and skills development programmes, from early childhood through adolescence.

UNICEF and the Sustainable Development Goals

MICS-EAGLE (Education Analysis for Global Learning and Equity)

Global Partnership for Education

GPE focuses on providing quality education to children in lower-income countries.

Global Partnership for Education Home Page

United Nations Secretary-General

The Transforming Education Summit was convened in response to a global crisis in education – one of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance.

Transforming Education Summit (TES)