What are other alternatives to measure learning?

There are circumstances when the data collection system does not yield results equivalent to a national assessment. In these cases, countries can choose to use existing school- or community-based assessments of reading and mathematics that align with the GPF or develop assessments that align with the GPF and apply the Policy Linking method to interpret results. Alternatively, countries can administer AMPL as a stand-alone national assessment or integrate portions of the AMPL into the assessments being built. Policy Linking can then be used to map the data from the AMPL to indicator 4.1.1.

Some population-based assessments are being explored as a source of learning outcomes data, such as UNICEF’s Foundational Learning Module, PAL or citizen-led assessments, and EGRA/EGMA. Such population-based assessments can be used to target populations that may or may not be enrolled in or attend school, capturing therefore skills regardless of enrolment. They include any household surveys that have an assessment component in their data collection (e.g. UNICEF’s MICS). A particular case are citizen-led assessments which originate in non-governmental organizations or think tanks and differ in the way they gather the data. (Pal Network). The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) is a test students take that can measure their skill at both pre-reading and reading subtasks and the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) is an orally administered assessment of the core mathematical competencies taught in primary grades. Usually, EGRAs are given to students in kindergarten through primary school and test children’s skill at different subtasks they need to learn to be able to read fluently. The test is typically administered by a teacher one-on-one with a student, out loud. With USAID support, EGRA and, to a lesser extent, EGMA have been used to inform program design and continuous improvement in dozens of countries, but they face the challenges of comparability, quality assurance, validity, reliability, proper sampling and assessment of the technical quality.

Both population-based surveys and school-based assessments collect background information that add context to data on learning outcomes. By including children and young people in and out of school, population-based surveys provide information on families and enabling environments. School-based assessments provide system-level information on classroom and school environments and sometimes gather information about the home environment either via a parent or via child recall. Together, they help to provide a snapshot of how children and youth around the world are learning. However, the results from these different types of assessments cannot, for now, be legitimately compared internationally or internally within a country.