A NORRAG joint event with the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings, in association with PASEC on 23 June 2016, Geneva:
In response to both the achievements and disappointments related to the MDGs, and to the new aspirations under the SDGs, there is an increasing emphasis globally on identifying the appropriate indicators for learning achievements. In that vein, international and regional assessments are playing an important role in education policy-making and reform. At the same time, national efforts designed to measure aspects of learning and education quality have in some cases been developed as supplements or alternatives to international assessment regimes. Whether they operate at the national, regional, or international level, assessments are based on the assumption that data can strengthen accountability and guide policy to make education more efficient and equitable. The current reality, however, is that assessment data are frequently not used or misused, and do not positively influence policy-making or student learning. Can the measurement of learning outcomes lead to quality education for all? If so, how?
To discuss about these issues, a roundtable convened approximately 30 to 40 specialists on assessments and education policy-making. A major focus was to reflect critically on the lessons learned from different international learning assessment tools, specifically CONFEMEN’s PASEC, and OECD’s PISA for Development, and to discuss to what extent initiatives like Brookings’ Learning Metrics Task Force can help shed light on country needs to improve quality education for all. The event aimed to foster improved interaction among these institutions and relevant national and international stakeholders, to better inform education policymaking, its delivery, and its outcomes.
This event was an outcome of collaboration among NORRAG, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings and PASEC.
NORRAG’s Global Governance of Education and Training (GGET) programme of work aims to reflect critically on key issues of governance in the fields of education and training. International learning assessments are an increasingly important feature of that landscape. While they are becoming more common, their spread globally has not happened evenly. Moreover, international learning assessments are not a single tool that is used uniformly but rather they are a set of diverse instruments. This raises additional questions about different and sometimes competing methods and priorities, as well as the relationship between assessments and policy making and delivery.
This event is an outcome of collaboration among NORRAG, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings and PASEC, which will critically tackle the following questions:
- Do assessment regimes actually capture the information that they intend to?
- How has the reliance on quantifying learning outcomes influenced – both positively and negatively – policy-making and policy delivery at the national level?
- What are the experiences across national contexts, both in terms of positive outcomes and unintended consequences?
- How do different large scale assessments, such as PASEC and PISA for Development, relate to one another and to the national context in terms of content and capacity?
- How do initiatives such as the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) – convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings – shed light on country needs and perspectives in this context?
The event will allow targeted stakeholders to engage in discussion of the development and implementation of learning assessments, including comparisons of methods, rationales, and lessons learned. It will also include a consultation on a new effort to measure the breadth of learning opportunities an education system provides, led by CUE and Education International. By convening key partners from developing countries and engaging with international experts, the event aims for a balanced overview of the politics and policies of learning assessments.
The event will be held at the premises of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
Event follow-up and related content: