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CGD's work in this area seeks to better understand the sources of global learning gaps and to identify solutions to help close these gaps.
While primary school enrolment levels have increased dramatically in recent decades, this progress has not been matched by equivalent gains in learning. Millions of children in the developing world leave school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. CGD seeks to better understand what causes this learning gap and to identify policies and ideas to help end the global learning crisis.
For this edition of the CGD Podcast I’m joined by Savedoff and Sandefur (who also leads our education research through the RISE project); they give a sneak peak of their contributions to, and offer an assessment of, the Learning Generation report.
Could absenteeism be caused by the poor learning taking place in classrooms? After all, with years of schooling without gains in basic foundational skills in reading and math, it is hardly surprising when children struggle to perform. But what would happen if children were taught by their actual learning levels rather than their grade?
Recently, Lant Prichett blogged about the latest round of the OECD international assessment of adult skills (PIAAC), which included for the first time measures for Jakarta, showing the dismally low levels of skills even in the capital city of a typical middle income country like Indonesia. This prompted me to look at the World Bank’s new skill survey of working age adults in urban areas of developing countries (STEP) that includes a literacy assessment calibrated to the same scale as PIAAC, thus allowing for comparisons. Two striking findings emerge.
Accountability in school systems is essential to deliver better learning and accelerate progress in developing countries. What is still really lacking—and what RISE is working towards—is a coherent and complete analytical framework capturing the key elements of a system of school accountability that can explain the divergent experiences we have seen in school reform.