Curriculum and Assessment
Education systems need regular and reliable learning data, not only to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, but to understand when and why children stop learning. Students fall behind when the curriculum moves faster than their progress in learning, and if children don’t master foundational skills early, it is difficult for them to catch up. The mismatch between curricular pace and students’ skill levels is a crucial factor contributing to the learning crisis.
This panel discusses the importance of assessments and curricular expectations to achieve learning for all.
Adedeji Adeniran from the RISE Nigeria team will discuss a new education quality indicator that is constructed by matching early grade literacy and numeracy levels with the curriculum, and will show that the learning crisis in Nigeria is more pervasive than reported in earlier assessments.
Two panelists will present new findings from India. Doug Johnson will present results from a comparative study that assesses three nationally representative surveys on learning outcomes and finds mixed results on accuracy, reliability and comparability, demonstrating the need for improved data quality. And Diva Dhar will share results from an evaluation of a blended remedial intervention in Grade 9, concluding that while the program brought about large increase in foundational skills, it had no effect on Grade 10 exam results, with gains in foundational learning coming too late to meaningfully address academic deficiencies at the post-primary stage.
Underscoring the importance of curricular design for foundational learning, Isaac Mbiti from the RISE Tanzania team will summarize an evaluation of a recent curriculum reform that brought about significant improvements in early grade literacy and numeracy by allocating 80% of instructional time to foundational skills and streamlining the curriculum to focus on fewer subjects.
Finally, incorporating the political perspective of policy reform, Wayne Sandholtz will discuss whether voters reward service delivery. Drawing on a recent randomized school reform in Liberia, he will argue that politicians can face electoral trade-offs: the Liberian reform elicited support from voters but also opposition from powerful groups and stakeholders whose patronage networks had been disrupted.