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Mapping Study: Learning Assessment in the Asia-Pacific

Phase I

Under  UNESCO Bangkok's  regional programme “Learning Enablers for Asia and Pacific” (LEAP), established in September 2015, the NEQMAP Secretariat of began a Learning Assessment in Asia-Pacific Mapping Study, with the aim of summarizing learning assessment programs and identifying areas of strength and weaknesses regarding learning assessment in the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of the LEAP programme and NEQMAP mission, the NEQMAP Secretariat of UNESCO Bangkok has gathered data on international, regional and national assessments from a sample of Asia-Pacific countries in Phase I of its mapping study on learning assessments in the region.  

The data was collected via questionnaires to country education ministers and representatives, who answered a series of detailed questions about the learning assessment programs available in their countries. Their answers were recorded and verified over a period of six months between 2015 and 2016.

In Phase I of the mapping study, UNESCO Bangkok's NEQMAP secretariat selected 13 countries from the Asia-Pacific region to participate in the study.  The study questionnaire included a series of questions about the country's leanring assessment programmes since 2005, including identifying when students are tested, how often, on what subjects, and also how the assessments are funded, reviewed, shared and measured.

Click here to download the full PDF infographic overview of the mapping study.

Below, we've included breakouts of the individual charts from the infographic and an explanation on each.


Of the 13 countries surveyed as part of NEQMAP’s mapping study, only six countries have education policies that guide assessment programmes.

Of the 13 countries surveyed as part of NEQMAP’s mapping study, the most frequently tested subjects from 2005-2015 were mathematics, local language, and science, followed by English, reading (comprehension), and social science.

Learning assessments were spread on a curve throughout early grades in each country, peaking at grade 4. Fewer assessments were given after grade 9 during this period, demonstrating more focus on learning assessment between grades 3 and 6, and less attention on grades 10-13.

Seven countries participated in international and regional assessment programmes from 2005 - 2015. This graphic illustrates which international and regional assessment programs this subset of countries participated in and highlights a trend toward more international and regional assessments after 2010.

All 13 learning assessment programmes that the 13 selected countries participated in from 2005 - 2015 are shown in this comprehensive timeline chart. Here, each learning assessment programme is denoted by a colored dot, colored by type of assessment (international, regional, or national). This chart demonstrates an overwhelming popularity of national assessments in the region for this period and a growing trend to conduct regional assessments.

These charts demonstrate the focus of the national assessments, relative to the rest of the region (including only the 13 countries surveyed.) From the responses of the survey, for example, 95% of those surveyed listed "knowledge of curriculum" as a key component measured in their national assessments. "Knowledge of curriculum" was the most popular device measured and "non-cognitive abilities of students" was the least.

Each country's national assessments are shared using a variety of dissemination strategies and tools. This graphic captures the popularity of these methods across the 13 countries surveyed, with distribution to stakeholders and policy makers at conferences and seminars being the most popular strategies.

This word-cloud visualization shows how each country prioritizes the purpose of the national learning assessments in the region. Overwhelmingly, "education policy review and reform" was the most popular purpose of assessment.

This piechart shows the types or regular or irregular funding available for national assessment programmes in the region. A majority of the countries (9/13) stated that there is regular funding allocated by the government for national assessment programmes.

This visualization shows the percentage of background survey responses administered by type in the region. A majority of background surveys were administered to students and teachers (90% and 80%, respectively), whereas only 25% of the countries surveyed administer background surveys to parents.

This table lists several supporting factors of the purpose of quantitative analysis on national learning assessment programmes.