Quality Education: Measuring Learning

Tracking learning

A young boy is assessed on reading at his home in a village in India by a volunteer. Photo by Dana Schmidt/Hewlett Foundation.


Despite huge expenditures on education, as well as dramatic expansion in student enrollment in primary school, surprisingly little is known about whether students are learning to read and write in the lower grades of primary school. As a result, both parents and policymakers do not know whether their efforts to educate children are paying off—and, sadly, often they are not. Raising awareness about the learning crisis not only informs; it can also provoke action.

The QEDC initiative increases public access to such information by funding civil society assessments of reading and math skills among school-age children. The projects are designed to assess student learning and share the results with the public, education administrators, teachers, governments, and donors to encourage educators and governments to improve student achievement.

At the global level, making the case for a post-2015 Millennium Development Goal indicator on learning will help ensure that success for education will be measured not just by school enrollment and completion, but by the knowledge and skills that lead to economic growth. Combined with advocacy from civil society, information about learning outcomes helps hold governments, teachers, and international donors accountable for the results that matter most.

More on Quality Education in Developing Countries:

The Global Development and Population Program is not accepting Letters of Inquiry for its QEDC initiative at this time.