The agenda around the Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG 4) to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030, has reinforced a focus on quality in education systems worldwide.
To establish, monitor and improve education quality, data on learning outcomes are crucial. At the global level, learning data allow us to investigate trends and uncover issues of global relevance.
For a few years now, the international community has signaled the existence of a far-reaching “learning crisis”, underpinned by figures from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) released in 2017, showing that more than 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are unable to read a simple sentence or perform a basic math calculation. The data also show that this alarming situation exists in spite of the fact that more than two-thirds of these children and adolescents are actually in school.
This has focused increasing attention on the need to assess learning at the global, regional, national and local levels, in order to gain relevant data on the extent to which students are learning. This will allow us to use this data to inform evidence-based decision making in education policy and to improve teaching and learning practice.
What constitutes an assessment system?
Learning assessments in various forms and scope have become an important tool for policymakers and practitioners to gain information on student learning.