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Universal Learning Scale: Conceptual feasible, operational doable?

Mon, March 6, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 8 (South Tower)

Session Submission Type: Group Panel

Description of Session

In September 2015 UN Member States, represented by Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have come into effect on the 1st of January 2016 and will run until the year 2030. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, expectations have been placed on countries to achieve these goals. Monitoring is an integral component of the 2030 Agenda. Unlike Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Education For All (EFA) before it, SDG will be country driven, and will take place at four levels: national, regional, thematic and global. The process initiated at the national level would inform the national, regional and global level reviews. At all levels, review discussions would be based on identification of gaps and collection of relevant and pragmatic data and information.

The Education Agenda (SDG 4) for Sustainable Development has two central policy foci: a strong focus on quality education which includes the monitoring and improving on learning outcomes; and a focus on equity, to leave no one behind. Those who are left behind are often remained hidden. Socially-responsible statistics will ensure everyone is counted so that their needs can be addressed (UIS, 2016).

UNESCO Framework for Action paragraph 100 has maintained the UIS “will remain the official source of cross-nationally comparable data on education” (UNESCO, 2016). The UIS has the role in the Education 2030 agenda to produce comparable education indicators cross-nationally. At the same time, for missing information UIS is to work with partners to develop new indicators, statistical approaches and monitoring tools to better assess progress towards the international education targets.

The Education Commission (2016) also recognises UIS leadership role in developing standards, methodologies and internationally-comparable data from learning outcomes to education finance. In its recent report it remarks the important of UIS in the SDG 4 agenda.

As an UN statistical agency focus on comparable data and evidence-based decision making, UIS has raised awareness of the low levels of learning and are working with partners to provide evidence for developing targeted approaches towards better data collection, and defining robust indicators to report progress in learning outcomes towards the 2030 goals. The UIS is currently working through the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) to define and identify best path forward for the Learning Scale for various measurement points in target 4.1 and other learning related target (4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 4.7). However, there are numerous challenges, ranging from technical feasibility in different learning targets to countries’ capacity to collect and interpret learning scale data. The ultimate aim is to develop approaches to measure learning outcomes robustly, in a comparative way. Due to the lack of common framework it has been difficult to have data that could be used as baseline for monitoring. In this panel we will look at the feasibility, practicality and possibility of developing Universal Learning Scale for monitoring and reporting in four stages (a) early childhood development; (b) early grade (at grade 2/3); (3) end of education segment (end of primary and end of lower secondary); and (d) adult learning and skills. Each panellist will address a set of questions that are relevant to its respective target (4.1, 4.2, and 4.6) or stage.

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