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New Policy Brief on Using Assessments to Inform Policy

A new policy brief written jointly by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and UNESCO Bangkok, entitled “Using large-scale assessments of students’ learning to inform education policy: Insights from the Asia-Pacific region”, has just been published.

This brief was prepared on the basis of a systematic review of literature examining the link between participation in such assessments and education policy in the region which was conducted by ACER’s Centre for Global Education Monitoring (GEM). This work is an activity of the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP), whose Secretariat is at UNESCO Bangkok and in which ACER is a key institutional member.

Despite the exponential growth in participation in large-scale assessments of students’ learning of countries/jurisdictions of the Asia-Pacific, not much is known about the ways in which assessment data have actually been used in education policy to date. Recognizing this, the systematic review looked at 68 studies examining the link between such participation and education policy in 32 countries of the region. It examined what types of assessments have impacted policy, the intended uses of these assessments, how they have been used in policymaking, which policies they have informed and what factors have influenced their use. On this basis, the policy brief makes a number of recommendations to improve the design and use of assessments in evidence-based education policy including integrating the assessments in policymaking processes, working to improving the technical quality of assessments, building capacity of those involved in assessment design and implementation and ensuring sound communication, dissemination and stakeholder engagement.

In cooperation with ACER and other institutional members, the NEQMAP platform is working to address these recommendations in its ongoing work focused on research, knowledge sharing and capacity development. The recent workshop on “Analyzing and Understanding Learning Assessment for Evidence-Based Policy Making” and the country reports that are being prepared as part of this initiative are a key activity towards this objective, with an aim to enhance country capacity to better analyze existing assessment data and use it to inform policy to improving learning outcomes.

For more information, please contact Ramya Vivekanandan [r.vivekanandan(at)] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit.

Written by Ramya Vivekanandan [r.vivekanandan(at)]  

Related Links:
• Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP)

• Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

• Using Large-scale Assessments of Students’ Learning to Inform Education Policy: Insights from the Asia-Pacific Region