With the massive disruptions to schooling worldwide caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the consequences on children’s learning have been a major cause for concern in the international education community. The pandemic has exacerbated a learning crisis that predated it, with 53% of all children in school in low- and middle-income countries unable to read and understand a simple story by age 10.
We know that we cannot tackle this crisis if we do not have a full understanding of its depth and breath. For this reason, countries have increasingly emphasized the need to monitor and track whether and how much children are learning. This has led some countries to establish new programs of national assessment or to renew or revise existing programs.
In the case of others, they have chosen to engage (some for the first time) in cross-national measurements of learning, such as PASEC or SEA-PLM. Countries are also critically examining the way that they administer exams and the way teachers assess learning every day in the classroom.
But these efforts cannot succeed if quality learning assessment systems (LAS) are not available. Such systems are situated in a broader enabling context, are consistent with other elements of the education system, have assessment programs of good quality and are regularly reviewed and constantly improved.
A year ago, GPE launched a tool for supporting countries in undertaking comprehensive diagnostics of their LAS: the Analysis of National Learning Assessment Systems (ANLAS).
Developed in partnership with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), ANLAS is a toolkit for countries to systematically gather and analyze information about their LAS, with the aim to inform improvement strategies as part of the wider education sector planning process. ANLAS is a core component of GPE’s Assessment for Learning (A4L) initiative, due to conclude at the end of this year.