Towards a more holistic assessment and monitoring unesco efa wg
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Towards a more holistic assessment and monitoring unesco efa wg



My presentation for the 11th meeting of the Working Group on Education for All at UNESCO, 2 February 2011

My presentation for the 11th meeting of the Working Group on Education for All at UNESCO, 2 February 2011



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Towards a more holistic assessment and monitoring unesco efa wg Towards a more holistic assessment and monitoring unesco efa wg Presentation Transcript

  • Towards a more holistic assessment and monitoring of quality education and effective learning Dr. Dirk Van Damme OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation
  • Monitoring and assessment are critically important!
    • Education and learning indicators can help
      • To inform policy
      • To monitor standards and creating new ones
      • To identify correlates of learning (gender, SES, language, regions, …)
      • To promote accountability
      • To increase public awareness
      • To inform political debate
    • The way we assess education determines the way we improve education!
  • Knowledge management is critical for effective change
    • Education is often compared with the health sector in terms of
      • Capacity for change and innovation
      • Capacity for policy mobilisation
      • Capacity to raise resources
    • Effective assessment and monitoring tools and, more generally, a more effective knowledge management system, with strong R&D base, might explain the difference
  • Educational research and development
  • Changing educational indicators
    • First generation of education indicators:
      • input-oriented
      • rather simple, with lot of proxies and noise
      • still difficult to achieve in many countries
        • For example reliable data on school attendance (as opposed to formal enrolment)
    • Second generation focusing on outputs
      • Educational attainment data
      • Comparable definitions and methodological agreement are crucial
        • For example development of ISCED
  • Changing educational indicators
    • Third phase: international, comparative assessments of learning outcomes
      • Examples: IALS, TIMSS, PIRLS, PISA, PIAAC etc
      • Real-life competences lending itself easier to comparative assessment than curriculum-based tests which have limited validity
      • Conceptually and methodologically robust, despite many criticisms
  • Changing educational indicators
    • Comparative assessments of learning outcomes have become very powerful:
      • International measures of ‘human capital’ known to influence investment strategies
      • But also make educational inequity visible and tangible: PISA is a powerful driver for equity policies
    • New developments:
      • ‘ Skills for innovation’: creative thinking, problem-solving, ‘soft skills’, etc.
  • Learning assessment in developing countries
    • Large-scale learning assessments are also progressing in developing countries
      • Often with support from intern’l or regional agencies
      • For example: PISA 2009 administered with success in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, some states in India, some provinces in China, almost all LAC countries
      • With some political will more progress is possible
    • Reliable, state-of-the-art assessments of learning outcomes have proven to generate huge political energy and reform capacities
      • PISA has evidenced huge progress in e.g. Peru
  • 1998 PISA countries in 2000 2001 2003 2006 2009 77% 81% 83% 85% 86% Coverage of world economy 87%
  • Learning assessment in developing countries
    • But there are serious challenges in terms of
      • Resourcing
      • Coping with language and population diversity
      • Research and technical implementation capacity
      • Further work needed on differentiating between various lower skill levels
    • Call for “smaller, quicker, cheaper” (SQC) assessment methods
  • Assessment of adult skills
    • Little progress in realistic assessment of real-life skills in adult population
      • Literacy assessments still based on proxies
    • Lifelong learning: people acquire skills also outside formal education systems
      • Assessments can detect skill levels in adult population formally considered to be un-educated
      • Recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes is crucial for economic growth and social progress
  • Non-cognitive skills also matters for crime… Level of skills Cognitive skills Non-cognitive skills Ever been in jail by age 30, by skills (men, USA)
  • Moving beyond cognitive skills
    • Interaction between cognitive and non-cognitive skills seem to determine a lot of behaviour
    • Identifying and assessing non-cognitive skills is an important challenge but can significantly widen our view on quality education
      • Opening up to ‘seeing’ and acknowledging the importance of everyday survival skills
      • For example, informal learning of entrepreneurial skills may help to understand real micro-level development
      • Cf OECD/CERI project on Education and Social Progress
  • Thank you ! [email_address]