Welcome to Unit 6
Section 1 Introduction
This module is concerned with MEASURING quality education which has been a hot topic for many years. Most approaches however have previously focused on the outputs/outcomes of education as the main measures. This would include for example how many children passed the final exams, what was the average pass mark, what proportion of children completed the course. These are all known as “lagging indicators” since they are measures which are taken long after any inputs were made, and in the case of primary education you would have to wait 5 years before some of them were measurable! This is not so good if you are a parent expecting your child to complete and pass with a high grade, only to wait 5 years for failure to emerge.
What are needed are “leading indicators”, things which can be measured along the way and regularly to ensure that quality is being met and maintained.
Remember an earlier activity where you were asked to specify your requirements for a new door for your home? Things like external or internal, metal, wood or plastic, plain or carved, what size, what fittings etc.
So imagine your new door is delivered, what would be the first thing you do?
Of course you would check it against your specification to make sure it matched. This was why you created a specification in the first place. But what if it didn’t match, what would you do?
Naturally you would complain and tell the manufacturer to take it away and get it right. We are assuming you would not accept a door that didn’t fit or of inferior quality!
So, he takes it away, but do you trust him? Probably not, so what to do?
One way to deal with this is to visit his workshop one or two times to CHECK that certain criteria are being met. Has he chosen the right materials, has it been cut to the right size?
This may seem a little far fetched, but you are now seeing the difference between a leading indicator and a lagging indicator. If you wait for the finished door to be delivered and only then judge it against your specification, it may be too late. But it is possible to make some checks along the way, and when you do this you have turned your specification into some leading indicators.
Is this relevant for Quality Education? You bet it is!
Section 2 Sustainable Development Goals
As you will realise, if you want to measure anything you need a specification, a template, measures, indicators, units. This has been the problem with quality education generally and it took UNESCO 15 years to realise it with their Millennium Development Goals.
So in mid 2015 they announced The Muscat Agreement with a new set of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
There are 17 SDGs in total and Goal #4 is as follows:
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
But although it is positive at last with the expression quality education being used, without specifying or defining it …… the goal is useless!
However, UNESCO then created 7 targets to be attained within this goal and we repeat them here:
- Target 1: By 2030, at least x% of girls and boys are ready for primary school through participation in quality early childhood care and education, including at least one year of free and compulsory pre-primary education, with particular attention to gender equality and the most marginalised.
- Target 2: By 2030, all girls and boys complete free and compulsory quality basic education of at least 9 years and achieve relevant learning outcomes, with particular attention to gender equality and the most marginalised.
- Target 3: By 2030, all youth and at least x% of adults reach a proficiency level in literacy and numeracy sufficient to fully participate in society, with particular attention to girls and women and the most marginalised.
- Target 4: By 2030, at least x% of youth and y% of adults have the knowledge and skills for decent work and life through technical and vocational, upper secondary and tertiary education and training, with particular attention to gender equality and the most marginalised.
- Target 5: By 2030, all learners acquire knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to establish sustainable and peaceful societies, including through global citizenship education and education for sustainable development.
- Target 6: By 2030, all governments ensure that all learners are taught by qualified, professionally-trained, motivated and well-supported teachers.
- Target 7: By 2030, all countries allocate at least 4-6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or at least 15-20% of their public expenditure to education, prioritising groups most in need; and strengthen financial cooperation for education, prioritising countries most in need.
Look at these 7 targets and think about each one carefully.
- Is it easily measurable?
- Do any of them relate to or are part of any of the previously mentioned and discussed frameworks of quality education?
- Is each one a leading or lagging target?
- Now write some notes and keep them for a later activity.
From these targets there was further consultation and suggestions taken globally to identify specific and more detailed “indicators ” for each target and you can read more here:
New proposed indicators
Are you still awake?
What you should be feeling by now is that a complex concept (quality education) has been made almost impossible to understand, to work with at school or system level, or to measure appropriately by anyone except the statisticians at UNESCO!
It also seems like their own framework of quality education has been forgotten and ignored, whatever happened to it?
So let’s go back to the analogy of choosing a new door for our home. We have three choices of door type (sorry, we mean three choices of quality education framework, UNESCO, UNICEF, Nepal). Please choose one or all of them, then select 5 areas/items you think are measurable or should be measured at school level.
Just imagine you are a hard working principal of a school and just want to know what to measure, what to grow/improve, and how to do it.
Write down your answers and keep them until the next unit
And don’t worry, it WILL get easier and more exciting! You have almost finished the hardest part.
Now click on this link Unit 7:Measuring Quality Education Using SEEQ which takes you into a whole new area of expertise which most people in government or ministries do NOT understand!