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Research activities

1. The Impact of Large-Scale Learning Assessments on Education Policy and Practice

A systematic review on the impact of large-scale learning assessment on policy and practice in the Asia-Pacific was conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), a NEQMAP institutional member, with support and inputs from the NEQMAP Secretariat. This extensive systematic review study covered 32 countries in total including all Global Partnership for Education (GPE) partner countries of the region. The study was then translated into a policy brief entitled “Using large-scale assessments of students’ learning to inform education policy”, which reflects the main findings and recommendations from the systematic review and which was published in September 2015.

2. Mapping Study on Existing Learning Assessment and Relevant Policies/Instruments


Large-scale data on learning outcomes are becoming increasingly available. However, the use of education-related “big data” for evidence-informed policy making is limited, partly due to insufficient institutional capacity of countries to analyze such data and link results with policies. Therefore, in order to improve the use of student learning assessment data in strengthening education systems, and to support evidence-based policy making in improving education quality, UNESCO Bangkok launched a regional programme called “Learning Enablers for Asia and Pacific” (LEAP) in September 2015.  One of the activities under LEAP, which was implemented in collaboration with NEQMAP, specifically focused on mapping of existing assessment programmes as well as national practices of collecting, analyzing and utilizing international and national assessment data for policy formulation and implementation. The findings from this mapping exercise, which gathered information on the 13 countries which participated into LEAP, (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Vietnam) has been translated into infographics.  

3. Assessment of Transversal (or 21stcentury) Skills/Competencies

Building on the findings from previous research conducted by UNESCO Bangkok, NEQMAP launched a regional study on “Assessment of Transversal Competencies in the Asia Pacific” in October 2015. This study aims to explore different approaches or practices that countries/jurisdictions of the region adopt in assessing these skills and competencies (e.g. creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skill), the challenges encountered in the process, the lessons we could draw from the existing practices in the region and recommendations for future directions. The study covers nine countries/jurisdictions of the region: Australia, Hong Kong (China), India, Mongolia, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. To officially launch the study, the NEQMAP Secretariat organized an orientation meeting for country researchers on 29-30 October in Bangkok, during which the international expert and the national researchers worked together to refine the research framework as well as the research tools and instruments.

4. School-Based Assessment

Assessment is a core part of the learning and teaching process. While the negative impact that high -stakes examinations may have on the student learning has increasingly been highlighted, some studies suggest that there is a positive relationship between continuous assessment at classroom level and academic performance.  In particular, there has been an embrace of school-based assessment (SBA) as a tool to equip teachers and students with knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of student learning in a wide array of countries/jurisdictions. While SBA is practiced in various parts of the region, there is sparse research on the topic. Therefore this study under NEQMAP aims to take a comparative perspective in terms of analyzing the impact of SBA and highlighting the challenges in its implementation. The study was launched with an orientation meeting for country researchers in February 2016 in Bangkok. The participating countries/jurisdictions are Bhutan, Hong Kong (China), India, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Shanghai (China), Tajikistan, Thailand and Uzbekistan.