Learning is at the heart of the global education and development agenda for 2030. It goes beyond the ability to read, write or perform simple arithmetic, and entails a range of relevant competencies needed for different purposes and life junctures of children, youth and adults. UNESCO’s commitments to ensuring effective and relevant learning for all have placed renewed attention on key drivers for improving learning contents, processes and outcomes. This includes more relevant curriculum and pedagogy, better teacher preparation and support, safe and inclusive learning environments, as well as comprehensive learning assessment systems.
Learning assessment to enable learning
Learning assessments are a key component for the governance and management of national education systems. They provide evidence for improving equity and learning for individuals, communities and society.
Learning assessments gather information on what learners know and what they can do with what they have learnt, as well as offer critical information on the process and context that enable learning, and on those that may be hindering learning progress. Different types of learning assessment can be used to certify or validate learning, to help learners to learn, teachers to improve instruction, planners to decide on resource allocations, policy-makers to evaluate the efficiency of education programmes, as well as to enhance better governance among a range of stakeholders (families, communities, teachers, ministries, employers, civil society groups and donors).
UNESCO learning assessment activities address the learning needs of children, youth and adults in a breadth of domains such as:
· School curriculum
UNESCO network for learning assessment
A network comprised of UNESCO sectors, specialized institutes, as well as regional and country offices strengthens coherence and cooperation at national, regional and international levels and supports Member States in translating the Education 2030 commitments into strategies for improved equity and learning outcomes for all.
UNESCO’s regional and global initiatives (See learning assessments brochure) are channels for knowledge sharing and building networks for planning, design and use of learning assessments. They provide the space where issues can be openly discussed and debated to identify and address country needs for improving the quality of their education systems.
The UNESCO network also supports the direct assessment of learning outcomes (e.g. ERCE, RAMAA); strengthens individual and institutional capacity through training and tailored technical assistance (e.g. CapED, UNESCO-IIEP annual course); consolidates and standardizes existing data for monitoring progress at national, regional and global levels; and produces research to inform policies and strategies for improving learning and equity.