Giving Compass' Take:

Brookings announced a new initiative that provides tools to evaluate education systems to examine the breadth of learning opportunities available to students.

How can donors help teachers and school systems evaluate curriculum and learning opportunities? 

• Global education partnerships could potentially help advance education opportunities. 

Now more than ever, countries around the world are orienting their policies toward equipping children and youth with a broad range of skills to succeed in the 21st century. An important step in this process is examining whether school and classroom practices are aligned with the national educational goals, so that different levels of the education system are working together to provide quality learning opportunities to develop the breadth of skills in students.

What if, in addition to evaluating an education system on the learning outcomes demonstrated by students, we also looked at the opportunities students have to learn a broad range of skills? The Breadth of Learning Opportunities (BOLO) initiative was designed to fill this information gap.  BOLO seeks to develop an alternative and complementary approach to existing evaluations of education quality by providing tools to measure the breadth of learning opportunities that children and youth are exposed in an education system at the national, school, and classroom levels.

The BOLO project focused on students’ learning opportunities, as opposed to their achievement, leading to three tools at different levels of the education system: policy, school, and teacher.

  • The policy tool provides a framework to review curriculum and assessment documents at the jurisdictional level, which is defined as the administrative level responsible for setting policies on curriculum.
  • The school tool is intended to examine the breadth of learning opportunities for students as evidenced by school-level curriculum policies, available facilities, and government oversight of school instruction.
  • The teacher tool is intended to examine the breadth of learning at the classroom and teacher levels, was refined to align with the school and policy tools.

Read the full article about evaluating education systems by Kate Anderson, Seamus Hegarty, Martin Henry, Helyn Kim, and Esther Care at Brookings.