Be the first to like this
Jindani, F., & Shallwani, S. (May, 2011). Experiences in assessing early learning achievement in international contexts: adapting an ‘international’ tool or ‘locally’ developing a new one? Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Montreal.
Abstract: In recent decades, countries around the world have aimed to increase primary school enrolment rates (Filmer, Hasan, & Pritchett, 2006). However, school quality varies widely and many children in school are not learning effectively. For example, a learning achievement study in India found that almost half of fifth grade children were unable to read at second grade proficiency levels (Pratham, 2007). If children do not establish basic literacy skills in the first few years of education, they are at a severe disadvantage for the remainder of their schooling and lives. In order to understand and improve the quality of education and students’ learning, it is necessary to have indicators and standards for early learning achievement, literacy in particular, at both local and global levels.
Some researchers and evaluators have aimed to develop and adapt standard international indicators for use in various contexts around the world. However, others, coming from a social-constructivist perspective, have argued that such tools are products of the Western world and inappropriate for diverse contexts of the world. In this paper, we compare and contrast the two perspectives with literature and research evidence, as well as our own experiences in developing indicators of learning achievement in international contexts. We share the experience of adapting an ‘international’ tool (the Early Grades Reading Assessment) for the Cambodian context and the experience of developing a ‘local’ Learning Achievement Tool in Pakistan.
We also deconstruct notions of ‘international’ and ‘local’, and critically reflect on our role precisely as the international researchers in these contexts. We argue that standards must be established both at local and international levels through reflection and explicit discussion about contexts, social positions, values, and purpose (Myers, 2004), and that these standards must then be continuously reflected upon and subject to change over time and place.