Building peace in the minds of men and women

Assessment for improved learning outcomes

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 in 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 requires a holistic and coherent approach to system alignment to ensure more relevant curriculum and pedagogy, more available and relevant teaching and learning materials, better teacher preparation and support, safe and inclusive learning environments, as well as greater robustness and inclusiveness in learning assessment.

Learning assessment to diagnose, monitor and improve learning

Learning assessments have increasingly gained prominence in education policy debate and practice as powerful tools for diagnosing, planning, monitoring and improving learning. They gather information on what learners know and what they can do with what they have learnt. Assessments provide critical information on the processes and contexts that enable learning as well as on those that may be hindering learning progress. Different types of learning assessment can be used to certify or validate learning, in addition to enhancing accountability, transparency and governance among a range of stakeholders (families, communities, teachers, ministries, employers, civil society groups and donors). They also help teachers to improve instruction and pedagogy, planners to design and improve curriculum and education programmes, and policy makers to decide on education goals and resource allocations. UNESCO’s work in these areas helps diagnose, measure and monitor skills and competencies while improving the learning outcomes of children, youth and adults in a range of domains such as:

UNESCO network for learning assessment and learning outcomes

UNESCO, through its multi-disciplinary network  of UNESCO sections, specialized institutes, as well as regional and country offices supports Member States in translating the Education 2030 commitments into actions for improved equity, quality and outcomes of learning for all at national, regional and international levels.

UNESCO’s regional and global initiatives (see learning assessments brochure) are channels for knowledge sharing, peer learning, networking for planning, design and use of learning assessments and recognition, validation and accreditation of learning outcomes They provide a space where issues can be openly discussed and debated to identify and address country needs for improving national learning assessment systems, education system performance and learning outcomes.

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 conducts research and analysis to inform policies and strategies for improving learning outcomes.

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