Using learning assessment data, from Guatemala to Tajikistan

14 October 2019


Training on using learning assessment data for policy-making from 3-4 October 2019.

In Guatemala, education policy-makers took action after discovering that only 40 per cent of elementary school students had proficient reading and math levels.

 “We have a programme now in all schools to improve this,” said Alan Homero Palala Martinez, head of the Assessment Department in the Ministry of Education of Guatemala, adding that its first results on impact will be out in March 2020.

From data to action

This is a prime example of how a country can turn learning assessment data into concrete policy action. However, according to Martinez, while education data is used in Guatemala, it could be improved. Furthermore, with a new government taking office in January 2020, he says it is an opportune time to learn from other governments how they are not only collecting learning assessment data, but also putting it to use. “It’s a chance for us to put new frameworks on the table to talk with the new government,” Martinez said.

To help give him some ideas, Martinez recently participated in a training at IIEP-UNESCO on how to use data for policy-making, in collaboration with the World Bank and the Russia Education Aid for Development.

During two days (3-4 October 2019), 16 participants reviewed the concepts, terms, and indicators related to learning assessments and education quality, as well as the analytical skills needed to interpret data about quality in education in order to translate it into policy action.

This tailored training built upon the curriculum of one of our specialized courses, Using learning assessment data to monitor SDG 4 progress. It also made links with our new IIEP research on analyzing the political economy of actors involved in using learning assessment data.

Getting a real picture of education

Lola Mansurova, a senior researcher from the National Assessment Center in the Republic of Tajikistan, said the workshop was also an opportunity to hear about innovations in learning assessments. Currently, her institution pursues data collection to select which students can enter into higher education.

“However, it would be very good if we could use this data in other spheres also, and to measure the knowledge of students,” Mansurova said. “We are the only centre [in Tajikistan] that can make a real assessment of the students, so we could show the real picture of what is the situation in schools.”