Student learning assessments

Learning assessments allow decision-makers to measure, monitor and evaluate what students know and how they mobilise that knowledge. Through the establishment of assessment systems, governments around the world can systematically use the information produced by learning assessments to inform policies and practices. Decision-making processes grounded on evidence-based data can lead to a significant improvement of teaching and learning’s quality. 

References
Barber, M.; Mourshed, M. 2007. How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top. New York: McKinsey and Company. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/how-the-worlds-best-performing-school-systems-come-out-on-top

Clarke, M. 2011. Framework for Building an Effective Student Assessment System. Washington DC: The World Bank Group. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED553178.pdf

Ramírez, M.J. 2018. Quick Guide No. 2 Making the Case for a Learning Assessment. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/quick-guide2-making-case-learning-assessments-2018-en_2.pdf

Raudonyte, I. 2019. Use of learning assessment data in education policy-making. IIEP-UNESCO Working Papers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367608?posInSet=2&queryId=ee579ff3-44e7-459d-bfaa-d258fb2a7970

Wagner, D.A. 2011. Smaller, Quicker, Cheaper: Improving Learning Assessments for Developing Countries. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000213663

Promising policy options

Ways to assess student learning

Learning assessments can be classified under three main categories –although these categories are neither exclusive nor independent from each other– (SABER framework): large-scale assessments; examinations; and classroom-based assessments.

Large-scale assessments are run internationally, regionally and nationally. They aim to produce evidence-based information on the education systems’ performance and are based on a specific set of standards or learning goals previously defined. International and regional assessments usually focus on cross-national comparability (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). This type of assessment can be administered either to all of the students in the target grade (census-based assessments) or to a representative proportion of them (sample-based assessments) (Muskin, 2017). They require all test takers to answer the same set of questions (standardized tests) (Muskin, 2017).

Examinations, also known as ‘public’ examinations, are standardized tests conducted nationally and administered to the entire student population (census-based assessments). They commonly occur at official transition points, and they are considered ‘high-stakes’ assessments as they determine the student’s future in the education system (Amua-Sekyi, 2016; Clarke, 2012). They area summative in nature (‘assessment of learning’), and in some systems, teachers and schools are held accountable for the results. This presents a risk since it can lead teachers to ‘teach to the test’.

Decision-makers can have a positive effect on learning by ensuring that examinations test essential skills and knowledge (Clarke, 2011) (a potential risk is to leave essential aspects of learning behind because of the challenges they pose on being included in tests, such as 21st century skills and competencies (Amua-Sekyi, 2016).)

Classroom-based, continuous assessments are the ‘most powerful form of assessment, when done correctly’ as it is ‘carried out by teachers and students in the course of their daily classroom activities’ (Clarke, 2012: 18). These assessments provide rich, comprehensive, ‘real-time’ information about student learning.

They can be standardized, structured, planned and administered at regular intervals to generate grades (summative, ‘assessment of learning’). They can also be performed spontaneously by teachers in order to recognize student’s comprehension of what is being taught; to make adjustments on the teaching process; and to provide students descriptive and timely feedback to strengthen their learning process (formative, ‘assessment for learning’) (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b; Clarke, 2012; Looney, 2011; Marope, Griffin and Gallagher, n.d.; Muskin, 2017; Province of Monitoba, 2006). They are also meant to involve students and encourage them to reflect on their learning (‘assessment as learning’) (Province of Monitoba, 2006).

For example, in Denmark, the educative legislation requires schools to guide their students and modify their teaching methods based on students’ assessments. In Italy, teachers must use a ‘valuation form’ to track students’ learning and the development of competences (Looney, 2011) (see Annex 1).

Hybrid assessments are assessments that combine multiple purposes or categories of assessments. For example, early literacy monitoring systems known as Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA) are both continuous classroom-based assessments and large-scale assessments. These tools can be used by teachers inside the classrooms to test early reading and mathematics, identify students’ comprehension of foundational skills, and identify the areas of improvement (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018). At the same time, they are used to collect system-level data on student performance, which allows decision-makers to identify the needs for improving early instruction and modify the policies accordingly. This type of assessment is referred to as ‘smaller, quicker and cheaper’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 8-9; Wagner, 2011). They are focused on local contexts and, as argued by proponents, compared to large-scale assessments, they are known to have an increased validity (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).

(For more information about hybrid assessments consult Wagner, 2011).

Annex 1

Assessment Tool Kit

There is a wide range of methods that teachers can use to assess student learning. However, the essential aspect is that teachers first clarify the purpose of the assessment and then choose the appropriate method.

Source: Province of Manitoba. 2006. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Winnipeg: Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth, School Programs Division. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/full_doc.pdf

References
Amua-Sekyi, E.T. 2016. ‘Assessment, Student Learning and Classroom Practice: A Review’. In: Journal of Education and Practice, 7(21), 1-6 (online). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1109385.pdf

Clarke, M. 2011. Framework for Building an Effective Student Assessment System. Washington DC: The World Bank Group. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED553178.pdf

Clarke, M. 2012. What matters most for student assessment systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17471/682350WP00PUBL0WP10READ0web04019012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 5: Formative assessment in the classroom and school. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019a. Learning Assessments. Accessed 30 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019b. Using data to improve the quality of education. Accessed 23 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/using-data-to-improve-the-quality-of-education

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the bottom of the pyramid. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Looney, J. W. 2011. Integrating formative and summative assessment: Progress toward a seamless system? OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Education Working Papers, No. 58. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=edu/wkp(2011)4&doclanguage=en

Marope, M.; Griffin, P.; Gallagher, C. n.d. Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Assessment: A Global Paradigm Change. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://www.ibe.unesco.org/sites/default/files/resources/03_transforming_teaching_learning_and_assessment_31oct.pdf

Muskin, J.A. 2017. Continuous Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning: A Critical Review to Inform Policy and Practice. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002555/255511e.pdf

Province of Manitoba. 2006. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Winnipeg: Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth, School Programs Division. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/full_doc.pdf

Ramírez, M.J. 2017. Quick Guide No. 3 Implementing a National Learning Assessment. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/quick-guide-3-implementing-national-learning-assessment.pdf

Ramírez, M.J. 2018. Quick Guide No. 2 Making the Case for a Learning Assessment. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/quick-guide2-making-case-learning-assessments-2018-en_2.pdf

Wagner, D.A. 2011. Smaller, Quicker, Cheaper: Improving Learning Assessments for Developing Countries. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000213663

Framing an enabling context

At the national level, develop a legislative and/or policy framework that supports learning assessments (Clarke, 2012). Define the purpose and expected uses of the assessments and results. As well as the targeted subject areas and grades, the language of the assessment, and the frequency in which it will be administered. To do so, ensure consultation and ownership of the process by key stakeholders (Amy et al., 2016).

Define the authorities in charge of designing, administering and analysing the assessments (e.g. specific unit within the Ministry of Education, an autonomous or semi-autonomous examination office, a University, etc.)). Involve policy-makers in the process and/or create links between the responsible authorities and educational planners to enhance the use of the produced data (Raudonyte, 2019). Concerning the data analysis, authorities in charge should ‘translate’ complex statistical data into clear, concise policy messages as well as provide feasible, context-based recommendations (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019c). In addition, it is essential to publish the results in a timely manner so as to ensure the use of findings by policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders (Raudonyte, 2019).

Concerning the dissemination of results, it is essential to provide sufficient budget for communication purposes (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b). Promote communications in ‘a contextualized manner and in a format appropriate to the needs of different audiences’ (Tawil and Prince, 2019). Mitigate negative, simplistic, fatalistic and misleading media coverage concerning results (Ramírez, 2018; Tawil and Prince, 2019). For instance, it is important to illustrate the ways in which assessments’ data will support the development of new policies meant to improve learning outcomes. Although the communication of results is essential, decision-makers and planners should keep in mind that promoting a regular communication with stakeholders throughout the learning assessment process is key, not just when results are available (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b; De Chaisemartin and Schwanter, 2017).

Capacity-building aspects for learning assessments should also be considered.  For large-scale assessments, it is key to develop technical capacity-building programmes on their design, sampling, data collection, analysis and reporting (Looney, 2011; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018; Raudonyte, 2019; Tobin et al., 2015). For continuous assessments invest in teachers’ pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes to help them build and gain more practical knowledge about learning assessment (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). If possible, provide an external ‘moderation system’ to monitor, support and enforce the assessments’ quality inside the classrooms (Muskin, 2017).

At the school level, it is important to support school principals and teachers, so that they can comprehend the importance of learning assessment and the problems that ‘teach to the test’ practices cause (Looney, 2011; Ramirez, 2018). Assessment results must be used to support teachers, not to stigmatize them, and an effort should be made to help teachers find practical ways of using assessment results to improve their practice (Ramírez, 2018).

At the same time, support should be provided to students and parents. Students must understand that the primary goal of assessments is to help them learn and parents must understand the concepts and methods used to teach their children. It is advisable to develop workshops to explain what the assessments are, establishing timely communication with the parents and encouraging them –as well as students– to get actively involved in deciding future actions to enhance student learning (Amua-Sekyi, 2016; Province of Manitoba, 2006).

References
Amy Mulcahy-Dunn, A.; Dick, A.; Crouch, L.; Newton, E. 2016. Education Data for Decision Making (EdData II). Research Triangle Park: RTI International. Retrieved from: https://globalreadingnetwork.net/sites/default/files/eddata/Core%20Final%20Report_16Dec2016_0.pdf

Clarke, M. 2012. What matters most for student assessment systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17471/682350WP00PUBL0WP10READ0web04019012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

De Chaisemartin, T.; Schwanter, U. 2017. Ensuring learning data matters. IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Accessed 29 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/ensuring-learning-data-matters

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 5: Formative assessment in the classroom and school. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019b. Using data to improve the quality of education. Accessed 23 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/using-data-to-improve-the-quality-of-education

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019c. Webinar – The use of learning assessment data: what have we learnt so far? Accessed 29 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/forum/webinar-the-use-of-learning-assessment-data-what-have-we-learnt-so-far

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the bottom of the pyramid. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Looney, J. W. 2011. Integrating formative and summative assessment: Progress toward a seamless system? OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Education Working Papers, No. 58. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=edu/wkp(2011)4&doclanguage=en

Muskin, J.A. 2017. Continuous Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning: A Critical Review to Inform Policy and Practice. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002555/255511e.pdf

Ramírez, M.J. 2018. Quick Guide No. 2 Making the Case for a Learning Assessment. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). Retrieved from: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/quick-guide2-making-case-learning-assessments-2018-en_2.pdf

Raudonyte, I. 2019. Use of learning assessment data in education policy-making. IIEP-UNESCO Working Papers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367608?posInSet=2&queryId=ee579ff3-44e7-459d-bfaa-d258fb2a7970

Tawil, S.; Prince, M. 2019. Lessons for education planners: enabling effective use of learning assessment data. IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. Accessed 20 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/lessons-for-education-planners-enabling-effective-use-of-learning-assessment-data

Tobin, M.; Lietz, P.; Nugroho, D.; Vivekanandan, R.; Nyamkhuu, T. 2015. Using large-scale assessments of students’ learning to inform education policy: Insights from the Asia-Pacific region. Melbourne and Bangkok: ACER and UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000235469

Developing and implementing high-quality assessments

Design, implement, analyse, interpret, report and use valid and reliable assessments. Be aware of technical and professional standards. 

Concerning large-scale assessments, ‘validity pertains to whether the test scores represent what they are supposed to represent and whether they can be used in the intended ways’ (Clarke, M. 2011. p. 18). As explained by Maddox, ‘the primary assessment task is to provide inclusive and robust practices that enable the person’s skills and abilities to be properly assessed and recognized’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 142). Since most large-scale assessments have been developed in Europe and North America, it is essential to analyse their applicability and relevance in other contexts (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Thus, the local or cultural relevance of this type of assessment is an important aspect to consider.

It is also necessary to reflect on whether the assessments guarantee a ‘full comparability in learning outcomes, with all individuals and all groups on the same scale’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 8). For example, children for whom instruction language, home language and/or assessment language are not the same may be disadvantaged. Thus, it is key to analyse ‘how assessments have handled questions of equivalencies across language, the degree to which there is agreement across these assessments about the language in which literacy is being assessed, and protocols for dealing with minority languages’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 74).

Moreover, to ensure reliable data, the information produced must be accurate (Clarke, 2012). This will allow to monitor trends over time. In addition, estimation models used to analyse results as well as population coverage of samples (to ensure its representativeness) are key issues that may impact the validity and reliability of large-scale assessments (Freitas et al., 2016, cited by Raudonyte, 2019; Rutwoski, 2016, cited by IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).

Concerning the validity of classroom-based continuous assessments, teachers need to make sure that the methods used gather the appropriate data on student learning (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018Muskin, 2017; Looney, 2011). Moreover, their reliability can be enhanced by using multiple methods and approaches to assess student learning (Looney, 2011; Waterloo Region District School Board, 2013). Students must be allowed to show their comprehension in a way that suits the best their personal strengths, with teachers using practices and procedures that support all students, including those who have special needs (IBE-UNESCO, 2017b; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018).

References
Clarke, M. 2011. Framework for Building an Effective Student Assessment System. Washington DC: The World Bank Group. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED553178.pdf

Clarke, M. 2012. What matters most for student assessment systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17471/682350WP00PUBL0WP10READ0web04019012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

IBE (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2017b. Training Tools for Curriculum Development: Inclusive Student Assessment. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002500/250054e.pdf.

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018b. Brief 2: Learning Assessments. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018f. Brief 5: Formative assessment in the classroom and school. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the bottom of the pyramid. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Looney, J. W. 2011. Integrating formative and summative assessment: Progress toward a seamless system? OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Education Working Papers, No. 58. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=edu/wkp(2011)4&doclanguage=en

Muskin, J.A. 2017. Continuous Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning: A Critical Review to Inform Policy and Practice. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002555/255511e.pdf

Waterloo Region District School Board. 2013. Assessment, evaluation and reporting handbook grades 9 to 12. Kitchener: Waterloo Region District School Board. Retrieved from: http://www.wrdsb.ca/wp-content/uploads/AER-HandBook-9-12-May-2013.pdf

Using the data produced by learning assessments

Learning assessment data can provide important information to Ministries of Education, district and provincial level actors, teacher training institutions, schools and teachers, students, as well as parents and guardians.

Ministries of Education should mobilise learning assessments’ data –complemented with background information– to inform the decision-making process, policy and practice, across the education system (Raudonyte, 2019; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b; Clarke, 2011).

  • Large-scale assessments data should be used to inform the policy-cycle and address specific shortcomings encountered throughout the teaching and learning processes (Raudonyte, 2019; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b). Yet, this is not a straightforward process. For this to happen, countries must have the required capacity for analysis as well as a willingness to use the information gathered (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).
  • Examinations, or standardized assessments, can also be used to guide instruction as well as inform policy design (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Various aspects should be taken into consideration, such as defining content standards on which the national assessments are based, as well as gaining support from educational stakeholders, particularly from teachers (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). For example, the MIDEH14 project in Honduras relies on a national assessment based on national standards aligned with the curriculum (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Implemented for more than 10 years, it has guided educational improvement in schools and districts. Supported by teachers, it has allowed them to understand their students’ achievements and enhance their learning process. Thanks to this approach, the country has seen gains on math and literacy since 2008 (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).   
  • Continuous, classroom-based assessments, allow decision-makers and planners to identify achievements of all students and understand prevailing learning gaps (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). This type of assessment has the potential to increase learning gains, including those of vulnerable and marginalized students (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Yet, challenges remain on how to scale up such programmes and on the large amounts of investment required for their implementation (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Efforts around the world have done to scale-up this type of assessments. This is the case, for example, of the project conducted by Pratham in various states in India (for more information consult Chapter 6 IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). This initiative has provided three key lessons: ‘first, localized assessments can inform and become part of national systems. Second, small pilot assessments can evolve into more ambitious measurements at scale. Third, as localized assessments move to scale, adaptations are possible to incrementally embrace the realities of government schools and the challenges of local languages’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 140).

Ministries of Education should also strive to create synergies between the different types of assessments. On the one hand, research has found that classroom-based continuous assessments can help give meaning to large-scale assessments (Muskin, 2017). Even more, high-quality classroom continuous assessments can help improve students’ performance on large-scale standardized tests (Clarke, 2011; Looney, 2011). On the other hand, data from large-scale assessments can highlight the learning needs of all learners (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). They can provide ‘relevant information that helps teachers, school leaders and education officials identify and set specific targets that focus on improving learning (and teaching) in schools and communities’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 88). The information can be then used to develop relevant interventions which support specific learning needs of all students, and particularly for those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Yet, it is essential to focus the use of learning assessment data towards ‘promote[ing] a culture of improving learning for all as opposed to improving performance’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).

In addition, Ministries of Education can incorporate assessment data into a monitoring framework to improve learning. For this purpose, learning management information systems (LMIS) can be developed at the school and district level to maintain individual student learning profiles (UNICEF, 2009a). Warning systems can be created to perceive when students are in risk of falling behind. These systems can facilitate the decision-making process at a local-level, as well as the implementation of actions to improve children learning. For example, LMIS in Thailand is accompanied by a school management information system (SMIS) to track progress in children’s learning process and associated factors (UNICEF, 2009a).

Overall, the mobilisation of learning assessment data throughout the whole policy cycle is known to provide multiple opportunities and potential benefits. Yet, policy-makers must be also aware of the risks posed by data misuse (for more information consult Raudonyte, 2019). These risks include:

  • methodological issues due to flaws in assessment data and interpretation, simplification of results, and inaccuracy of background information;
  • solely relying on a single measure (a comprehensive, in-depth analysis calls upon cross-checking multiple quantitative and qualitative data provided by different sources) (Raudonyte, 2019);
  • ‘mobilisation of data to justify pre-defined agendas’ (Raudonyte, 2019: 27). 

Learning assessment data should also be used to provide feedback to the different actors involved in the education system.

  • Feedback for district and provincial level actors: local authorities should be provided with locally relevant data in a timely manner to enhance their policy-making process (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019b; Amy et al., 2016).
  • Feedback for teacher training institutions: use assessment results to align pre- and in-service teacher training opportunities (Clarke, 2011; Clarke, 2012; Ramírez, 2018).
  • Feedback for schools and teachers: align assessments’ results with the establishment of support systems for schools and teachers. For teachers, assessment results can be mobilised to: improve and adjust teaching practice; provide practical ways to address learning gaps and support students falling behind; improve teacher’s understanding of the content, skills, and competencies that students must learn; help them recognize professional development opportunities to strengthen their content and pedagogical knowledge as well as their skills. For schools, the information produced by learning assessments should allow headteachers and school administrators to identify the strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning, provide support to teachers who need it the most, set learning objectives and design school improvements plans.
  • Feedback for students: provide clear, precise, constructive, motivating, timely oral and written feedback to students after learning assessments (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018; IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). It is essential to ensure that all students understand learning intentions and success criteria (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Moreover, it is key to actively engage students in the assessment process to help them understand their learning shortcomings and strengths (Clarke, 2012; Muskin, 201). Work with them to find suitable strategies to improve their learning, and most importantly ‘empower learners to take responsibility for their own learning’ (Wiliam, 2010 cited by IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). For example, within the Activity Based Learning approach in India, teachers provide students with regular individual feedback on their learning. The programme is designed in a way in which students advance once required knowledge has been acquired (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).  
  • Feedback for parents and guardians: parents and guardians must be informed on learning assessment’s results and their child’s progress. This will reassure students as they will know they are not alone in overcoming their learning challenges. For example, research done in rural Pakistan highlighted how providing information on learning to parents lead to significant improvements children’s test scores (Andrabi, Das, Khwaja, 2016 cited by IIEP-UNESCO, 2018). Moreover, in Sri Lanka and Nepal checked answer sheets concerning classroom-based, continuous assessments are given to parents/guardians to let them know about their children’s progress (Sujatha, 2011).
References
Amua-Sekyi, E.T. 2016. ‘Assessment, Student Learning and Classroom Practice: A Review’. In: Journal of Education and Practice, 7(21), 1-6 (online). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1109385.pdf

Amy Mulcahy-Dunn, A.; Dick, A.; Crouch, L.; Newton, E. 2016. Education Data for Decision Making (EdData II). Research Triangle Park: RTI International. Retrieved from: https://globalreadingnetwork.net/sites/default/files/eddata/Core%20Final%20Report_16Dec2016_0.pdf

Barber, M.; Mourshed, M. 2007. How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top. New York: McKinsey and Company. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/how-the-worlds-best-performing-school-systems-come-out-on-top

Clarke, M. 2011. Framework for Building an Effective Student Assessment System. Washington DC: The World Bank Group. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED553178.pdf

Clarke, M. 2012. What matters most for student assessment systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17471/682350WP00PUBL0WP10READ0web04019012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018b. Brief 2: Learning Assessments. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019b. Using data to improve the quality of education. Accessed 23 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/using-data-to-improve-the-quality-of-education

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the bottom of the pyramid. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Looney, J. W. 2011. Integrating formative and summative assessment: Progress toward a seamless system? OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Education Working Papers, No. 58. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=edu/wkp(2011)4&doclanguage=en

Muskin, J.A. 2017. Continuous Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning: A Critical Review to Inform Policy and Practice. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002555/255511e.pdf

Province of Manitoba. 2006. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Winnipeg: Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth, School Programs Division. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/full_doc.pdf

Raudonyte, I. 2019. Use of learning assessment data in education policy-making. IIEP-UNESCO Working Papers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367608?posInSet=2&queryId=ee579ff3-44e7-459d-bfaa-d258fb2a7970

Sujatha, K. 2011b. ‘Section IV: Management Devices’. In: Improving school management from successful schools (pp. 48-50). ANTRIEP (Asian Network of Training and Research Institutions in Educational Planning), NUEPA (National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002205/220543E.pdf

UIS-UNESCO. 2018. SDG 4 data digest: Data to nurture learning. Montreal: UIS-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366287

UNESCO Bangkok. 2017. Large-scale assessment data and learning outcomes: Linking assessments to evidence-based policy making and improved learning. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000247413?posInSet=7&queryId=31255ad8-80ba-48ea-a9a9-dd5a4f4e38c7

UNESCO. 2019. The promise of large-scale learning assessments: Acknowledging limits to unlock opportunities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000369697.locale=fr

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009a. ‘8.4. The Learner as the Focus of Monitoring and Evaluation’. In: Child Friendly Schools (pp. 207–221). New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Child_Friendly_Schools_Manual_EN_040809.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Disaggregate learning assessment data by sex, understand learning gaps due to gender and mobilise the information to change the teaching practice

Producing gender statistics on educational achievement will allow policy-makers to monitor the extent to which gender-responsive policies and practices impact student’s learning process. An initial and key aspect is to disaggregate learning assessment data by sex and ensure it reflects gender issues (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019a; UNSD, 2015).

Learning assessment results still reveal gender gaps in learning outcomes around the globe. Cross-national assessments in Latin America, Europe, North America, the Pacific, Northern Africa, and Western Asia show that, in general, boys underperform girls in reading skills (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018). Diversely, the initial underperformance of girls in mathematics and sciences has been addressed and learning outcomes on those areas are moving towards gender parity at a global level (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018). Particular assessments, such as the 2013 TERCE, show that the learning gap between girls and boys gets more visible at later stages (TERCE results showed that girls’ learning gap in mathematics was more visible in sixth grade than in third grade (UNESCO and OREALC, 2016).) Therefore, special attention should be paid to the advancements made towards parity in learning assessment results at a macro-level, as well as the extent to which micro-level actions are contributing effectively to closing gender-based learning gaps (for more information consult Policy pages Classroom practice; Classroom practice control and Language of instruction).

References
IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2019. Quality and learning indicators. Accessed 22 May 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/quality-and-learning-indicators

UNESCO and OREALC (Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean). 2016.  Gender inequality in learning achievement in primary education: What can TERCE tell us? Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244349

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2018. Achieving gender equality in education: don’t forget the boys, Policy Paper 35. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000262714

UNSD (United Nations Statistics Division). 2015. ‘What are Gender Statistics’. In: Gender Statistics Manual. Retrieved from: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/genderstatmanual/What-are-gender-stats.ashx

Guarantee existing learning assessments are free from gender-bias or –if possible– design new gender-responsive learning assessments

Ministries of Education, school leaders, and teachers must ensure that existing learning assessments, such as examinations and classroom-based continuous assessments, are free from gender bias. It is recommendable to thoroughly review their content to make it gender-responsive (Thompson, Johnstone and Thurlow, 2002). If new learning assessments are being designed, they should be based on the principles and understanding of gender equity.

Concerning the implementation of classroom-based continuous assessments specifically, it is necessary to make sure that teachers are using a gender-responsive approach. Teachers’ feedback is key in formative assessments and it must, therefore, be gender-sensitive. Through on-going professional support, teachers’ internal biases must be addressed and a stronger knowledge on gender-responsive practices must be developed to guarantee that teaching and formative assessments implemented are inclusive enough (Mendick, 2013). Attention must be given to classroom practices and language employed, for specific information consult Policy pages Teaching skills; Classroom practice; and Language of instruction).

Additionally, some studies reveal that certain types of assessments favour boys and others favour girls (e.g. multiple-choice questions tend to benefit boys, while writing answers tend to benefit girls (UNESCO, 2015)). Although more research is needed in that area, it is essential to include a wide variety of methods to assess students’ learning throughout learning assessments (Thompson, Johnstone and Thurlow, 2002).

References
Medick, H. 2013. Assessment. GEA- Gender and Education Association. Accessed 20 May 2019: http://www.genderandeducation.com/resources-2/pedagogies/assessment/

Thompson, S.J.; Johnstone, C.J.; Thurlow, M.L. 2002. Universal Design Applied to Large Scale Assessments. Minnesota: NCEO (National Center on Educational Outcomes). https://nceo.umn.edu/docs/OnlinePubs/Synth44.pdf

UNESCO. 2015. A Guide for Gender Equality in Teacher Education Policy and Practices. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000231646/

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Inclusive assessments

Inclusive assessments aim to support and promote the learning of all students, and to enhance their inclusion and active participation within the education system (Howgego, Miles and Myers, 2014; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019c). In order to build inclusive learning assessments, the following principles should be kept in mind:

  • ‘assessment procedures should promote learning for all students’;
  • all students should be entitled to be part of all assessment procedures;
  • the needs of students with disabilities should be considered within all general assessment policies as well as within policies on disability-specific assessment;
  • the assessment procedures should complement each other;
  • the assessment procedures should aim to promote diversity by identifying and valuing the progress and achievement of each student; and
  • inclusive assessment procedures should explicitly aim to prevent segregation by avoiding –as far as possible– forms of labelling. Instead, assessment should focus on learning and teaching practices that lead to more inclusion in a mainstream setting’ (WHO, 2011: 244).

The following assessments should be taken into account in an inclusive education system:

  • Initial assessments: allow teachers to identify the student’s special education needs as well as the specific resources and support they require (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007). Initial assessments can be used as the basis for a targeted setting approach or an Individual Education Plan (IEP) (WHO, 2011) and should be developed by a multi-disciplinary team, including specialists, mainstream teachers, parents and students (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007). They should not be used as an excuse to segregate students with disabilities from mainstream settings or lead to their labelling (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007; Ghana, 2015; Rwanda, 2018; WHO, 2011).
  • Classroom-based, continuous assessments: ‘the most useful forms of assessments take place in the classroom’ (UNESCO, 2017a). Formative classroom-based assessments are used to inform teaching and learning (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007) and they help teachers to better understand their students’ learning process and to modify their teaching practice accordingly, so as to ensure that it responds to the student’s needs (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007). They should be continuous and flexible, allowing all students to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways (Ghana, 2015; UNESCO, 2015; Kaplan and Lewis, 2013). Teachers can mobilise a wide variety of methods such as observation, portfolios, reflection sheets, peer- and self-assessments, among others (UNESCO, 2015). Summative classroom-based assessments aim to ‘describe learning achieved at specific times in a pupil’s educational experience’ (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007: 24). Synergies between summative assessment requirements and student’s IEP should be developed (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).
  • Examinations: students with special needs must be entitled to participate in national examinations.
References
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. 2007. Assessment in inclusive settings: key issues for policy and practice. Odense: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Retrieved from: https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/assessment-in-inclusive-settings-key-issues-for-policy-and-practice_Assessment-EN.pdf

Fiji. n.d. Ministry of Education, Heritage & Arts. Special and Inclusive Education. Suva: Ministry of Education, Heritage & Arts. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/fiji_-_special_and_inclusive_education_policy_implementation_plan_-_2016.pdf

Ghana. 2015. Ministry of Education. Inclusive Education Policy. Accra: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/ghana_final_education_policy_cd.pdf

Howgego, C.; Miles, S.; Myers, J. 2014. Inclusive Learning: Children with disabilities and difficulties in learning. Oxford: HEART (Health & Education Advice & Resource Team). Retrieved from: http://www.heart-resources.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Inclusive-Learning-Topic-Guide.pdf?9d29f8=.  

IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2016.Training Tools for Curriculum Development – Reaching Out to All Learners: a Resource Pack for Supporting Inclusive Education. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000243279?posInSet=26&queryId=583170d7-cb0d-430f-bc8e-c0ced5165649

IIEPUNESCO Learning Portal. 2019. Brief 3: Disability inclusive education and learning. Accessed 4 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/learners-and-support-structures/disability-inclusive-education-and

Kaplan, I.; Lewis, I. 2013. Promoting Inclusive Teacher Education Methodology. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000221037?posInSet=22&queryId=0700f7f3-6882-4c53-9643-c821fb952ace

Piper, B.; Bulat, J.; Kwayumba, D.; Oketch, J.; Gangla, L. 2019. ‘Measuring literacy outcomes for the blind and for the deaf: Nationally representative results from Kenya’.  In: International Journal of Educational Development, 69 (September), pp. 1-8. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738059318309635?via%3Dihub

Rwanda. 2018. Ministry of Education. Revised Special Needs and Inclusive Education Policy. Kigali: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/rwanda_sne_policy_2018.pdf

Sæbønes, A.-M.; Berman Bieler, R.; Baboo, N.; Banham, L.; Singal, N.; Howgego, C.; Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapo, C.; Riis-Hansen, T. C.; Dansie, G. A. 2015. ‘Towards a disability inclusive education’. Background paper for the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, 6-7 July 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/Oslo_Ed_Summit_DisabilityInclusive_Ed.pdf

Seychelles. 2015. Ministry of Education. Inclusive Education Policy. Mahé Seychelles: Ministry of Education.  Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/seychelles_inclusive_education_policy.pdf

Thompson, S.J.; Johnstone, C.J.; Thurlow, M.L. 2002. Universal Design Applied to Large Scale Assessments. Minnesota: NCEO (National Center on Educational Outcomes). https://nceo.umn.edu/docs/OnlinePubs/Synth44.pdf

UNESCO. 2015a. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001829/182975e.pd

UNESCO. 2017. A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.

Framing an enabling context for inclusive assessments

Governments must provide vision, leadership, and policies that are both clear and stable, in order to create an enabling context for inclusive learning assessments (political commitment is of utmost importance) and the right for all students to participate in learning assessments should be recognized (WHO, 2011).

Concerning national examinations, develop a legislative and/or policy framework that supports the development of assessments based on the principles of Universal design and/or ensures accommodations of existent ones to make them as accessible as possible. For example, Denmark and the Czech Republic have adapted their assessments to make them accessible for all (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).

Concerning classroom-based continuous assessments, promote the use of this type of assessment in mainstream settings and guarantee pupils’ entitlement to them. For instance, Estonia’s 2005 legislation states that all students in mainstream schools have the right to on-going assessments. In Lithuania, there are no separate assessment procedures for students with disabilities within mainstream settings (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).

Research and develop a wide variety of assessment methods, guidelines, and recording tools (IBE-UNESCO, 2017b). These findings should be made available for teachers and schools.  

Support the availability of specialists at mainstream settings. Although mainstream teachers should keep the main responsibility of learning assessments of children with disabilities, they can be supported and guided throughout the process by multi-disciplinary teams. For example, in Iceland, Greece and Portugal teachers can request help from specialist centres. In Cyprus, Hungary, Italy and Poland assessments are carried out through a collaborative process between mainstream teachers and specialists (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).

In order to implement inclusive learning assessments effectively, teachers in mainstream settings must be given the appropriate training, support, and resources, building teachers’ skills in conducting inclusive assessments through pre- and in-service teacher training (UNESCO, 2017a; European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007: 51). Foster positive attitudes towards inclusive assessments.

Encourage teachers to dedicate time to assessments (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007), encouraging them to work together and share their experiences (UNESCO, 2015). Support teachers in involving students and parents through the on-going assessments (UNESCO, 2017a).

Support school-level leadership to develop and implement a school plan for inclusive assessments (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007), fostering an organizational culture geared towards inclusion in general and inclusive assessments in particular, as it not only contributes to students’ learning process but also to school’s general improvement.

References
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. 2007. Assessment in inclusive settings: key issues for policy and practice. Odense: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Retrieved from: https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/assessment-in-inclusive-settings-key-issues-for-policy-and-practice_Assessment-EN.pdf

IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2016.Training Tools for Curriculum Development – Reaching Out to All Learners: a Resource Pack for Supporting Inclusive Education. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000243279?posInSet=26&queryId=583170d7-cb0d-430f-bc8e-c0ced5165649

UNESCO. 2015a. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001829/182975e.pdf

UNESCO. 2017. A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.

Developing and implementing high-quality inclusive assessments

The quality standards of validity and reliability must be respected when developing inclusive assessments. Indeed, students must be allowed to show their comprehension in a way that best suits their personal strengths, with teachers using methods and procedures that support all students (IBE-UNESCO, 2017b; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018).

References
IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2017. Training Tools for Curriculum Development: Inclusive Student Assessment. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002500/250054e.pdf.

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 5: Formative assessment in the classroom and school. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

Using the data produced by inclusive learning assessments

An inclusive assessment system ‘not only allows students to maximize access to learning opportunities, but also cater for learners’ individual differences and contribute to improving the quality of education at the macro, meso and micro levels of a system’ (IBE-UNESCO, 2017b: 20).

MoE should disaggregate assessment data in order to track the learning progress of children with disabilities (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2019c), with educational planners mobilising the data generated by learning assessments to inform policy-making process (Clarke, 2011; Raudonyte, 2019). The MoE should also clearly link inclusive assessment policies with broader policies regarding children with disabilities and inclusion (e.g. assessments data can be used to inform curriculum planning and provision, teacher training, etc.). Mobilise inclusive assessment data to evaluate and identify the best practices, methods, tools and assessment procedures, and guide policy development.

Provide schools with information and guidance on how to use assessment information to improve teaching and learning for all students. Inform them about the best practices, methods, and tools, and incorporate and disaggregate assessment data regarding education of children with disabilities into a monitoring framework such as the LMIS (UNICEF, 2009a).

Assessment results can be used to improve and adjust teaching, in order to cater to the needs of all students. Learning assessment data may also help teachers recognize pertinent professional development opportunities.

The information produced by learning assessments should allow headteachers and school administrators to identify the strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning, providing support to teachers who need it the most, and setting learning objectives and designing school improvement plans for inclusive education in general and inclusive assessments in particular.

Teachers should give clear, precise, constructive, motivating and timely feedback to students after learning assessments (IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018; UNESCO, 2005), and must actively engage students in the assessment process. For instance, in Latvia and Lithuania teachers involve students so that they understand their own learning process (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2007).) (Clarke, 2012; Muskin, 2017). Teachers should centre continuous assessments’ feedback on the learning process and not on final outcomes.

Feedback for parents and guardians must be regularly informed about learning assessment results and their child’s progress (e.g. in Ghana parents receive the assessment results (Ghana, 2015).) Involving parents and guardians will not only reassure students but also provide background information which is essential to understand the child’s learning process (UNESCO, 2015a).

References
Clarke, M. 2011. Framework for Building an Effective Student Assessment System. Washington DC: The World Bank Group. Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED553178.pdf

Clarke, M. 2012. What matters most for student assessment systems: A framework paper. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17471/682350WP00PUBL0WP10READ0web04019012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. 2007. Assessment in inclusive settings: key issues for policy and practice. Odense: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Retrieved from: https://www.european-agency.org/sites/default/files/assessment-in-inclusive-settings-key-issues-for-policy-and-practice_Assessment-EN.pdf

Ghana. 2015. Ministry of Education. Inclusive Education Policy. Accra: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/ghana_final_education_policy_cd.pdf

IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2017. Training Tools for Curriculum Development: Inclusive Student Assessment. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002500/250054e.pdf.

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 5: Formative assessment in the classroom and school. Accessed 3 May 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/learning-assessments

IIEPUNESCO Learning Portal. 2019. Brief 3: Disability inclusive education and learning. Accessed 4 November 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/learners-and-support-structures/disability-inclusive-education-and

Muskin, J.A. 2017. Continuous Assessment for Improved Teaching and Learning: A Critical Review to Inform Policy and Practice. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002555/255511e.pdf

Province of Manitoba. 2006. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Winnipeg: Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth, School Programs Division. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/full_doc.pdf

Raudonyte, I. 2019. Use of learning assessment data in education policy-making. IIEP-UNESCO Working Papers. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367608?posInSet=2&queryId=ee579ff3-44e7-459d-bfaa-d258fb2a7970

UNESCO. 2015a. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001829/182975e.pdf

UNESCO. 2015b. The right to education for persons with disabilities: Overview of the measures supporting the right to education for persons with disabilities reported on by member states. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002325/232592e.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009. ‘8.4. The Learner as the Focus of Monitoring and Evaluation’. In: Child Friendly Schools (pp. 207–221). New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Child_Friendly_Schools_Manual_EN_040809.pdf

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

All policies recommended in the general section apply to this category.

References
IBE-UNESCO. 2017. Training Tools for Curriculum Development: Inclusive Student Assessment. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002500/250054e.pdf.

Gove, A.; Chabbott, C.; Dick, A.; DeStefano, J.; King, S.; Mejia, J.; Piper, B. 2015. Early learning assessments: a retrospective. Background Paper for Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002324/232419e.pdf

Sui-chu HO, E. 2013. ‘Student Learning Assessment’. In: Asia-Pacific Education System Review. Series No. 5. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002178/217816E.pdf

Uwezo Tanzania. 2011. Are our children learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report. Dar es Salaam: Uwezo, TENMET and Hivos/Twaweza. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/library/are-our-children-learning-annual-learning-assessment-report-tanzania-2011

Greaney, V.; Kellaghan, T. 2008. ‘Volume 1: Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education’. In: National Assessments of Educational Achievement. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/6904/417890Ed0achie101OFFICIAL0USE0ONLY1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Kellaghan, T.; Greaney, V.; Murray, T.S. 2009. ‘Volume 5: Using the Results of a National Assessment of Educational Achievement. In: National Assessments of Educational Achievement. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/6904/417890Ed0achie101OFFICIAL0USE0ONLY1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

IIEP Learning Portal. 2018. ‘Monitoring tools’. Accessed 17 August 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/monitoring-tools-0

Policies for minority populations

All policies recommended in the general section apply to this category.

References
IBE-UNESCO. 2017. Training Tools for Curriculum Development: Inclusive Student Assessment. Geneva: IBE-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002500/250054e.pdf.

Gove, A.; Chabbott, C.; Dick, A.; DeStefano, J.; King, S.; Mejia, J.; Piper, B. 2015. Early learning assessments: a retrospective. Background Paper for Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002324/232419e.pdf

Sui-chu HO, E. 2013. ‘Student Learning Assessment’. In: Asia-Pacific Education System Review. Series No. 5. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002178/217816E.pdf

Uwezo Tanzania. 2011. Are our children learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report. Dar es Salaam: Uwezo, TENMET and Hivos/Twaweza. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/library/are-our-children-learning-annual-learning-assessment-report-tanzania-2011

Greaney, V.; Kellaghan, T. 2008. ‘Volume 1: Assessing National Achievement Levels in Education’. In: National Assessments of Educational Achievement. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/6904/417890Ed0achie101OFFICIAL0USE0ONLY1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Kellaghan, T.; Greaney, V.; Murray, T.S. 2009. ‘Volume 5: Using the Results of a National Assessment of Educational Achievement. In: National Assessments of Educational Achievement. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/6904/417890Ed0achie101OFFICIAL0USE0ONLY1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

IIEP Learning Portal. 2018. ‘Monitoring tools’. Accessed 17 August 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/monitor-learning/monitoring-tools-0

Policies for OVCs and HIV affected populations

Promising policy options

Include HIV/AIDS lessons in examinations

In order for learning HIV/AIDS-related content to be taken seriously, it should be included in compulsory examinations. This would also include making HIV/AIDS an examinable subject in the teacher training curriculum.

References
Anderson, L.; Nyamukapa, C.; Gregson, S.; Pufall, E.; Mandanhire, C.; Mutsikiwa, A.; Gawa R.; Skovdal, M.; Campbell, C. 2014. The role of schools in supporting children affected by HIV: Stakeholder report 2014. Biomedical Research and Training Institute. Harare: Zimbabwe. Retrieved from: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/57266/

UNESCO. 2011. Booklet 6: Pre-service teacher training. Good policy and practice in HIV & AIDS and education (booklet series). Paris, UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.schoolsandhealth.org/Shared%20Documents/Downloads/Good%20Policy%20and%20Practice%20in%20HIVAIDS%20Education-%20Pre-Service%20Teacher%20training.pdf

Exemption of examination fees

Many OVC/HIV affected students face particular economic constraints. Countries can make special exemptions for children unable to pay examination fees. Namibia, for example, has a national OVC policy that states “no full time learner in a school shall be excluded from examinations on account of inability to pay examination fees” (2008).

References
Namibia. 2008. Ministry of Education. Education sector policy for orphans and vulnerable children. Windhoek: Namibia. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/namibia/M

Policies for pastoralist and nomadic populations

Promising policy options

Making assessments culturally relevant and flexible

Assessments including national examinations should be in the language of teaching, and culturally relevant. Some pastoralist communities, such as in Kenya, have remarked that exams focus more on what students remember, rather than actual practical and analytical skills, which are particularly important for pastoralist/nomadic students. Involving community members in the process of reforming assessments and national examinations can be effective in helping to ensure that they are suited to pastoralist/nomadic students’ needs. The flexibility of assessments is another concern for mobile communities. There may be times of the year where there are higher demands for labor, or learning may be disrupted from instability and environmental factors, and assessment schedules should take this into consideration. Again coordination and engagement with community members can facilitate more appropriate scheduling of exams.

References
Ayiro, L. P.; Sang, J. K. 2017. ‘Provision of education to the ‘hard to reach’ amidst discontinuity in nomadic communities in Kenya. In: FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 3(3). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1132890.pdf

Hussein Maalim, A. 2016. ‘Effects of pastoralist community on quality education in Mandera County-Kenya.’ In: IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 21 (9), 1-9. Retrieved from: http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol.%2021%20Issue9/Version-10/A2109100109.pdf

Updated on 2021-06-16

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