In India, improving the school systems will require a lot of effort, by many stakeholders. But you can’t manage or improve what you can’t accurately measure. While this has been a core belief for the foundation since our start in India ten years ago, it is now a more accepted approach today as there are a multitude of surveys on learning outcomes. However, several of the assessments don’t apply rigorous standards, while others don’t use a replicable set of tools. Often, the data collected in these studies and resulting analyses are not comprehensible or actionable.
We’ve always believed that high-quality, standardized data and assessment evaluations can help us see and improve student outcomes, instructional quality and school performance. Our immediate goals: to help partners refine approaches to specific challenges facing children and to help those children learn more. More broadly, we want to set a high and relevant national bar for measuring and understanding the quality of our schools.
We’ve made efforts of our own to develop comparable and consistent assessments. We’ve collaborated with others in the field – including our key data assessment and evaluation partners that bring globally-recognized assessment standards to India at an affordable cost. We’ve supported classroom assessment projects across India that help us set a relevant national bar for measuring quality of our schools, improve instructional quality and as a result, positively impact student learning levels by as much as 25 percent. We’ve partnered to establish innovative new products like student, teacher, class and school reports at an affordable cost for low-fee schools, governments, funders and parents directly. And to develop and proliferate comparable and consistent assessment tools to measure children’s progress against specific academic goals, we collaborated with complementary government and partner organizations.
All of our grantees and partners use third-party assessments to evaluate student progress against grade-specific competencies. Third-party assessment results show that well-implemented continuous and comprehensive evaluation standards will improve the quality of education nationwide. They enable the sort of data-driven decision making that’s at the heart of our approach to philanthropy.