Why do some students learn more in some schools than others? In the last two decades, standardized learning assessments such as PISA, ERCE, and TIMMS have helped us understand the state of student learning in education systems across the world, and have documented substantial variation both across and within countries. While there are many contributing factors at system, school, and household-level, one consideration receiving growing attention is school management—the processes and practices used by principals day-to-day as they run their schools.
On 17 October, 2019, the World Bank announced a new goal and initiative to measure and eliminate education poverty. This is an exciting step in tackling the learning crisis. Their measure of education poverty focuses on a single, simple indicator: that every child should read fluently by Grade 4.
On Thursday the World Bank launched its new Learning Poverty measure, to serve as a rallying cry for improved learning. It is intended to be the learning equivalent of the $1/day poverty line, measuring the percent of children below a low learning threshold—those who cannot read a simple passage by age 10.
Achieving Learning for All Requires Measuring Basic Skills Early and Often; Proposed Changes to the SDG Indicators Would Make This Kind of Measurement Less Common
Proposed changes to the Sustainable Development Goals’ education indicators would shift the focus away from early mastery of basic skills. Learning in the early years is critical for achieving later learning—evidence is increasingly showing that children who fall behind in early primary school rarely catch up. To achieve SDG 4 of quality education for all, we must know what children are learning (or not) early in the primary cycle.
Internationally comparable data on learning levels in developing countries is severely limited.