In low- and middle-income countries, only half of primary school children and a little more than a quarter of secondary school children are on track to complete school and meet minimum benchmarks on learning assessments (1). Three in four of these children who are not learning are failing to achieve despite attending school (1). In six of the ten countries one study assessed, only about half—or even fewer than half—of younger adults (18 to 37) who completed primary schooling can read a few sentences without help (2).
Worldwide, countries face a shortage of qualified teachers for their rapidly expanding student populations (3, pp. 133–34). Though teaching methods can often be improved through simple in-service training (1, p. 60), the quality of teacher training varies dramatically across countries, and much training does not align with practices that are associated with better student performance. And, while teaching and learning resources are regularly cited as keys to improving the quality of education, textbooks and other instructional materials remain inaccessible or unavailable in some countries (4, p. 203).
Improving the quality of teaching and learning environments through teacher training and by providing quality teaching and learning materials helps to ensure that all children obtain the education and skills necessary to achieve their individual potential while enhancing national growth and social development.
Investments aligned with this strategic goal can, in the context of teacher training and performance:
In the context of educational materials, investments aligned with this goal can:
Private schools are increasingly important in education, particularly in low-income countries; one in eight primary students globally attends private school (5). While private schools offer certain advantages, including expanding enrollment and allowing more freedom for innovation, effective service provision requires both innovation and accountability for results in terms of access, quality, and equity (11).
Access to quality teachers and educational materials is essential to the quality of learning environments and leads to improved student retention and performance on learning assessments. Globally, approximately 387 million primary-school-aged children are not learning basic reading (6), and, as of 2017, 262 million children and young people do not attend school (7, p. 122). And, of 19 sub-Saharan countries in a 2008 World Bank analysis, 18 had inadequate supplies of textbooks for students in secondary schools (4, p. 203).
Between 2015 and 2030, the Education Commission projects, demand for teachers in lower-middle-income countries will grow by 25%—and nearly double in low-income countries (1, p. 70). However, by national definitions, in 2017, 15% of primary teachers around the world were untrained, an increase of 1.5 percentage points since 2013 (7, p 216).
Education systems around the world must improve teacher training and access to quality teaching and learning materials to attract and retain quality teachers and enable students to learn.
Students from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds: Students from disadvantaged households, including rural households, complete less schooling and learn much less while in school (3, pp. 44–45). Investing in the quality of teaching and learning environments with a focus on inclusion will increase enrollment and retention and improve learning outcomes for all students while helping disadvantaged students to close this gap.
Teachers in low- and middle-income countries: High-quality teachers are in short supply in low-income countries (3), and pupil-to-teacher ratios are higher in poorer countries (5, p. 245). Inadequately trained teachers are common in several parts of the world, with only 62% trained at the primary level in sub-Saharan Africa (5, p. 244). Investing in high-quality teacher instruction and development will provide a professional structure and motivate teachers to apply what they know.
Households and families (urban and rural): Access to quality education helps break the cycle of poverty by increasing income. Educated people also tend to be healthier, more empowered in their own lives and societies, and more socially tolerant and able to resolve conflicts (10, pp. 10–13).
Education systems (national and subnational): Aligning components of education systems coherently toward learning can improve government accountability and strengthen the educational workforce (1, p. 175).
Low- and middle-income countries: Education systems in low- and middle-income countries around the world fail to provide students with quality educations. The average student in these countries performs worse than 95% of students in high-income countries (3, p. 5). Low-income households in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are disproportionately affected by this learning crisis.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa has the fewest proportion of trained teachers and growing share of the out-of-school population (7, pp. 123, 216). Textbooks are also scarce; a 2008 World Bank analysis found only one sub-Saharan African country of 19 studied had adequate textbook provision (4, p. 203).
Latin America: Latin American school enrollment has sharply increased in recent years, but students still leave school lacking the skills they need for employment. Teachers in Latin America are generally paid above the poverty threshold, but their salaries compare unfavorably with those working in professions requiring similar qualifications: in 2007, other professionals in Brazil and Peru, respectively, earned 43% and 50% more than pre-school and primary school teachers (8, p. 29).
Teacher effectiveness is the most important school-based predictor of student learning (10), which drives social and economic progress. Specific investment contributions and their sustainability vary by context and approach.
This strategy can improve learning outcomes for the 262 million children who do not attend school and the 387 million primary-school-aged children who are in school but not learning basic reading. It can also support the 2.5 million primary school teachers and 4.5 million secondary school teachers around the world who have not been trained.
Systematic change requires sustained investment. Bilateral development programs generally last 5 to 10 years per cycle, and many programs continue over many cycles. Improved teaching methods, combined with teacher training, materials, and remedial help for students who fall behind, could improve learning outcomes by 25–53% in some contexts (1, pp. 59–60).
Examples of impact from projects aligned with this strategy include the following:
Failure to adequately address these risks could dilute positive impact by reducing the quality of teaching and learning environments in targeted primary and secondary schools.
Such risks could lead to clients’ inability to effectively use the services provided. Opportunity costs from the use of products and services that are not effectively tailored to meet clients’ needs can be one negative impact. In cases involving harmful sociopolitical practices, such as corruption, possible negative effects on targeted or affected stakeholders could be considerable.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) is a large-scale, multi-country research program to understand how school systems in the developing world can deliver better learning for all. By supporting, facilitating, synthesizing, and harnessing education systems research, the RISE Programme aims (1) to provide an analytical framework to describe and understand how education systems function; (2) generate research that evaluates large-scale efforts at system reform on the basis of their impact on student learning and equity in learning across genders and socio-economic classes; (3) explain why reforms succeed or fail; (4) collect and disseminate new quantitative and qualitative data on education in general; and (5) build a community of practice of local and international researchers, policymakers, and education practitioners to ensure they have access to the most relevant, up-to-date research. RISE is a partnership between UKaid, Australia Aid and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Stakeholder Participation Risk: Inappropriate tailoring of products, inadequate technical literacy, insufficient understanding of the objectives and experience of those affected by the EMIS, lack of trust in government or technology service providers, or any of these could lead to comparatively low technological adoption rates and reduced positive impact on clients. To mitigate this risk, investors should deeply understand the socio-political environments in which investees intend to operate, understanding in particular the likelihood targeted and affected stakeholders will adopt the product or service.
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Abdul-Hamid, Husein. Data for Learning: Building a Smart Education Data System. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The Data Revolution in Education. Information Paper No. 39. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, March 2017.
Subosa, Miguel, and Mark West. Re-orienting Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) towards Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning. Paris: UNESCO, 2018.
Steer, Liesbet, Justin W. van Fleet, Gila Sacks, Nicholas Burnett, Paul Isenman, Elizabeth King, Annababette Wils et al. The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World. New York: International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, 2016.
Cheng, Xuejiao Joy and Kurt Moses. Promoting Transparency through Information: A Global Review of School Report Cards. Paris: UNESCO, 2016.
Custer, Samantha, Elizabeth M. King, Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Lindsay Read, and Tanya Sethi. Toward Data-Driven Education Systems: Insights into Using Information to Measure Results and Manage Change. Washington, DC: Center for Universal Education at Brookings, February 2018.
De Hoyos Navarro, Rafael E., Alejandro J. Ganimian, and Peter A. Holland. “Teaching with the Test: Experimental Evidence on Diagnostic Feedback and Capacity Building for Public Schools in Argentina.” Policy Research Working Paper No. 8261, Washington, DC, World Bank Education Global Practice Group, November 2017.
Barr, Abigail, Frederick Mugisha, Pieter Serneels, and Andrew Zeitlin. “Information and Collective Action in Community-Based Monitoring of Schools: Field and Lab Experimental Evidence from Uganda.“ Unpublished preliminary paper, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, August 2012.
Airola, Denise T. and Karee E. Dunn. Oregon DATA Project Final Evaluation Report . Salem, Oregon: Oregon Department of Education, 2011.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, and Asim Ijaz Khwaja. “Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets .” American Economic Review 107, No. 6 (2017): 1535–63.
This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.
De Hoyos, Rafael, Alejandro J. Ganimian, and Peter A. Holland. “Teaching with the test: experimental evidence on diagnostic feedback and capacity building for public schools in Argentina.” (2017).
Barr, Abigail, Frederick Mugisha, Pieter Serneels, and Andrew Zeitlin. “Information and collective action in community-based monitoring of schools: Field and lab experimental evidence from Uganda.“ Unpublished paper, Georgetown University, 2012.
Galab, S., C. Jones, M. Latham, and R. Churches. “Community-Based Accountability for School Improvement: A Case Study for Rural India.” Washington, DC: Center for Education Innovations, 2013.
Next Level Evaluation, Incorporated. Oregon DATA Project Final Evaluation Report. Salem, Oregon: Oregon Department of Education, 2011.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, and Asim Ijaz Khwaja. 2017. “Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets.” American Economic Review, 107 (6): 1535-63.
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Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.
Percentage of school students passing standardized tests set by a regional governance body during the reporting period.
= (Number of enrolled students who passed standardized test) / (Number of enrolled students who took standardized test)
Organizations should footnote the description of the standardized test, the threshold for passing, how many tests were taken, and other relevant details.
In many cases this data will need to be collected by schools (public or private) or other third party. The investee company can work with those third parties to gather the information, as it can show effectiveness of the solution provided.
If more than one test is taken, organizations should report on the average of the pass rates.
To understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome of “improved learning outcomes for students” and “improved teacher effectiveness”. Improving student test rate is a proxy for improving student learning outcomes, the ultimate result this strategy aims to reach.
Number of students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time students.
Learners should be counted if they are enrolled in primary or secondary school or the equivalent education. When calculating this indicator, each learner should be counted only once in data for the year being reported. In other words, if a learner benefits from two overlapping programs and each meets the criteria outlined here, the learner should be counted only once.
To understand the overall scale of students benefitting from the solution. It also helps investors understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome “increase enrollment.”
Number of female students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time female students.
In many cases this data will need to be collected by schools (public or private) or other third party. The investee company can work with those third parties to gather the information, as it can show how their solution is serving women and girls and helping address gender issues.
To understand if and how many girls the strategy/solution is reaching and have a sense of the gender lens in this strategy.
Number of individuals who received training offered by the organization during the reporting period.
Organizations should footnote the type and extent of the training provided as well as who the training was provided to. See usage guidance for further information.
The metric is intended to capture the number of individuals that received training services (of any type) provided by the organization. Training may or may not be restricted to clients of the organization. This metric may be applicable for organizations operating in the microfinance, agriculture, or other sectors that provide training to clients and other community members.
Examples of training types, to footnote, could include: enterprises/business development, women’s empowerment, educational services, etc.
Training may be fee-based or provided for free. Training of an organization’s own employees is not included in this metric.
To understand the scale and reach of teacher training solutions. Training and professional development for teachers and educators helps to improve the quality of education and instruction – which is directly connected to improving learning outcomes and schooling experience for students/learners.
Percentage of students advancing from one level of schooling to the next.
= (Number of school students enrolling in the next level of schooling for the upcoming year) / (Number of students who completed the previous level of schooling during the preceding year)
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used and any relevant details regarding the transition rate.
This metric is intended to capture the percentage of students that transition from one level to the next, for example, from primary to secondary school, or the third year of secondary school to the fourth year.
For example, if 100 students complete their final year of primary school at the end of the previous reporting period and 95 of them transition on to the first year of secondary school at the beginning of the following reporting period, the student transition rate is calculated as 95/100 = 95%.
This metric is different than Student Dropout Rate (PI9910), which captures the rate at which students dropout during the reporting period.
To understand how their solution is contributing to students advancing from one level to the next in school, as they improve learning outcomes. It could prove the medium to long term value of a given solution, as investors compare student transition rate pre- and post-implementation of the solution.
Number of teachers as of the end of the reporting period who have obtained training or have qualifications that meet or exceed minimum requirements of the local area.
Organizations should footnote the minimum level of qualifications required in local area.
The data would have to be gathered by schools. Investee company could work with schools to provide data to investors.
To understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome “Improved Teacher Effectiveness.”
Number of textbooks per student provided by the organization during the reporting period.
'= (Total textbooks provided) / (School Enrollment: Total (PI2389))
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used.
In many cases this data will need to be collected by schools (public or private) or other third party. The investee company can work with those third parties to gather the information.
To understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome “Increased availability of learning materials” which is an important contextual metric to understand improved learning outcomes for students/learners.
Number of full-time and part-time teachers employed by the organization as of the end of the reporting period.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time teachers.
The data would come form schools (public or private) and other third parties as it is internal information about the institution the solution will be serving.
To understand the scale of their solution, as in how many teachers are using and benefiting from it.