The Cost of not assessing learning outcomes
UNESCO Institute for Statistics
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Recently, the international community has gone a step further in monitoring education by attempting to measure learning. Currently there is no single approach or best way to monitor learning internationally. However, the rationale to come up with a viable approach to assess learning on a universal basis is growing stronger as the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to a close and the international community advances towards the SDGs. The focus on the quality of education has led to an emphasis on the measurement of learning outcomes at all levels. Input data, such as knowing how many children are enrolled in school or how many teachers are hired, are not enough. There is a need to know if children are learning in schools and to measure learning outcomes on a global scale to monitor progress. Five of the seven education targets in SDG 4 focus on learning outcomes (i.e. the effect of education on individual children, young people and adults). This is a shift from previous global education targets, such as those in the MDGs, which solely focused on ensuring access to, participation and completion in formal primary education and on gender parity in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The Education 2030 targets highlight that enrolment and participation (e.g. in early childhood development programmes, formal schooling or adult education programmes) are the means to attain results and learning outcomes at every stage.