A new tool to assess literacy and numeracy skills in developing countries
The Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LaNA) brings together internationally comparable data demonstrating strengths and weaknesses in literacy and numeracy achievement, revealing the characteristics of successful students and schools.
December 16, 2015 by Dirk Hastedt, International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
7 minutes read
Grade 2 students write their answers to questions on their personal chalkboards in rural Cambodia (c) GPE/Deepa Srikantaiah, 2012

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) has developed a new tool to assess children in primary grades. The Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LaNA) brings together, in a unique framework, internationally comparable data demonstrating strengths and weaknesses in literacy and numeracy achievement, and reveals the characteristics of successful students and schools.

A stepping stone before participating in international studies

As a short basic assessment at the end of primary school, LaNA is intended for countries where the IEA’s Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (TIMSS and PIRLS) may be too difficult to implement. For developing countries, participating in LaNA can serve as a stepping stone for participation in future TIMSS and PIRLS cycles.

In establishing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, the international community has committed to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all”. Policymakers at both the global and national levels recognize that pledges to improve the quality of educational outcomes should be supported by robust data.

Data on learning to measure results and inform policies

LANA logo

Countries need more than bald statistics surrounding teacher numbers and school enrollment rates; they want to know whether they have achieved their desired learning outcomes, and to compare their progress globally.

However, many countries do not yet have the capacity or expertise to join established existing studies. With this in mind, the IEA has designed LaNA for developing countries, in collaboration with the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

Linking to existing international assessments

TIMMS 2015/PIRLS 2016

A great advantage is that the numeracy achievement will be linked to the TIMSS and TIMSS Numeracy assessments conducted in 2015, while the literacy achievement will be linked to the PIRLS and PIRLS Literacy assessments conducted in 2016. The participating countries will thus obtain international comparisons of their numeracy and literacy achievement with countries from all over the world.

Supporting developing countries to use LaNA

The IEA will support participants throughout every phase of the assessment, from advice on developing the financial framework and building a national quality assurance program, to publication of the national report. Country representatives will receive the necessary manuals and be invited to participate in international meetings to learn about LaNA procedures. International training seminars at the IEA Data Processing and Research Center in Hamburg, Germany, will provide guidance on frameworks and assessment materials, translation and translation verification protocols, how to secure school participation, sampling design, and data collection and management.​

Reporting the findings

In 2018, the IEA will publish a report of the assessment results, showing literacy and numeracy achievement results for each country. The primary goal is to identify the characteristics of successful students and schools within each country, in terms of students’ numeracy and literacy proficiency and the percentage of children reaching international benchmarks; such background characteristics may be analyzed to identify potential curricula improvements. Further comparison to other LaNA countries is possible. The results will be projected onto TIMSS and PIRLS International Achievement scales to allow for wider international comparison.

Moreover, to promote the aims of SDG4, the IEA will provide assistance and training seminars for participating countries in analyzing and reporting on their results, thereby also building capacities for these countries to develop their own data-driven policies. LaNA can therefore also be seen as project to enhance participating countries’ abilities in all aspects of large-scale assessments. IEA projects are designed and conducted in a way that emphasizes developing future expertise within countries rather than bringing in external experts.

Policy relevant background information

LaNA will include valuable information about school and home supports for teaching and learning with two brief background questionnaires, one for schools and one for students. Schools can provide information about resources and the environment for learning, while students can provide information about the home and school experiences in learning mathematics and reading. Participating countries will thus benefit from the relationships between background characteristics and achievement compared to other countries.

About IEA

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) is an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and governmental research agencies. It conducts large-scale comparative studies of educational achievement and other aspects of education, with the aim of gaining in-depth understanding of the effects of policies and practices within and across systems of education. Since its founding in 1958, IEA has conducted more than 30 research studies of cross-national achievement. IEA’s network extends far beyond its immediate membership, with the work of the organization influencing the provision of education in more than 100 countries.

Please review IEA’s website to learn more about the project: http://www.iea.nl/fileadmin/user_upload/General_Assembly/56th_GA/Study_presentations/Literacy_and_Numeracy_Assessment.pdf

For further information, please contact the IEA Secretariat at: http://www.iea.nl/

Post a comment or

Latest blogs

November 17, 2022 by Rasha Alsabbagh
Syria: A promising future for Ameer
To help children with disabilities access education in Syria, GPE and UNICEF supported non-formal education programs that helped reach hundreds of them. Ameer, who was born blind, shares his journey to...


would like to avail the LaNA material

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • Global and entity tokens are replaced with their values. Browse available tokens.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.