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Monitoring Trends in Educational Growth

Data on learning outcomes are central for establishing and monitoring the quality of education

Large scale assessments help compile evidence on student learning.

Designing and implementing robust assessment programs and using the data for educational policy has technical and practical challenges.

To support education stakeholders in their monitoring efforts, the GEM Centre offers the innovative Monitoring Trends in Educational Growth (MTEG) partnership.

The MTEG approach

MTEG is a collaborative and flexible approach that enables education stakeholders to develop and implement a robust learning assessment in partnership with ACER. Working collaboratively with internationally renowned experts, education stakeholders build capacity in state-of-the art assessment principles and quality standards.

Tailored to the individual monitoring and policy needs of an education system, MTEG yields high-quality, relevant data of student learning growth. Designed to assess comparable student populations at regular intervals as they progress through the education system, MTEG builds a powerful evidence base on student learning growth and trends for education policymaking.

MTEG also enables countries to monitor their progress towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 in education: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. The proportion of children at 3 stages of schooling achieving at least a minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics is a primary indicator of SDG 4

Key stages of MTEG

MTEG involves several key stages – from identifying the key features of the assessment strategy, to implementing the strategy, and using the evidence in the national policy cycle and SDG 4 reporting. The following stages are illustrative, as they are tailored to the individual monitoring and policy needs of an education system.

Stage 1 Focused needs analysis

MTEG starts with a focused needs analysis to determine the monitoring priorities of the national education system, and to identify capacity gaps for developing, implementing, and using data from a robust learning assessment. Based on the identified capacity gaps, a detailed capacity building plan is developed.

Stage 2 Assessment strategy and design

Based on the focused needs analysis, stakeholders develop a MTEG assessment strategy and design. Important decisions are made about:

  • Target populations. MTEG recommends assessing student populations at important stages, as students progress through the education system, for example in the early and middle years of primary education and towards the end of compulsory education (typically grades 3, 6 and 9).
  • Assessment frequency and timing. MTEG recommends an ongoing assessment cycle of 4 years, where each target population is assessed at regular intervals.
  • Assessment domains. The learning areas of focus, for example reading, language and literacy, mathematics, science, or general capabilities such as critical thinking, creative thinking and collaboration, or social-emotional wellbeing.
  • Contextual indicators. The contexts in which learning takes place – for students, teachers, schools, and the education system – are essential for understanding learning and for developing improvement strategies.
  • Monitoring progress towards achieving SDG 4. Methods to establish the proportion of students reaching the global Minimum Proficiency Levels.

Stage 3 Implementation

This stage focuses on the implementation of the MTEG assessment strategy. Important steps in this process may be to establish an assessment agency, and to develop the assessment frameworks for each learning domain and the contextual indicators. Other key elements may be test and questionnaire development, sampling, data collection, and data management.

Stage 4 Scaling, data analysis and results reporting

MTEG uses state-of-the art Item Response Theory to create proficiency scales to describe and quantify student learning and progress in a domain. National and global benchmarks can be set on these scales, and comparisons between representative subpopulations can be made. MTEG data analysis and reporting yield rich and detailed information for national education system monitoring and education policymaking. The development of a communications strategy supports clear and effective communication between the assessment agency and policymakers to ensure findings are used in the education policy cycle.

Stage 5 Integration into the policy cycle

Integrating the MTEG assessment strategy into the policy cycle ensures the findings are used to continuously improve the education system. This may involve investigating the coherence of pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment, as well as the review, development, and evaluation of education policies through subsequent assessment cycles. The link to global benchmarks provides a wider perspective to improve the education system.

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