In order to ensure improved quality of the education system, a clear framework designed to monitor the process of learning and learning outcomes is essential.
The monitoring framework should be based on the country’s goals for the education system, and should be designed to monitor quality and development on different levels (country, region, schools) and for different target groups (school authorities, teachers, students). The framework includes four basic and interrelated stages: collecting the data, analysis of the data, planning for improvement, and implementation support.
What is the current status?
The description of the current situation must be based on analysis of data from relevant indicators for quality and learning. Gathering this data together to establish the baseline in all important areas of measurement will make clear which information is available from past cycles of monitoring, whether that data is of acceptable quality, and what is missing or needs to be improved.
How do we succeed?
Using all of the available baseline data, an analysis is conducted of the situation in the education sector and of priority areas where improvement needs to be made. Analysis of the data helps to identify the various factors that are related to the priority issues, as well as potential root causes of the difficulties that are faced. This analysis is followed by a decision-making process focused on determining the best policies and strategies for addressing these causal factors.
How do we improve?
Based on the analysis of the situation, decision-makers must next set realistic, but also concrete and ambitious plans to improve results at all levels: schools, regions and country. These take the form of specific programmes and activities that will be accomplished under the next education strategic plan. As these programmes and activities are defined, they must be associated with specific targets and indicators for measuring the planned inputs, processes, and outputs. While some indicators may already exist, in other cases new indicators will need to be developed, along with the instruments and procedures for obtaining that information.
How do we implement?
This section of the monitoring framework emphasizes how the planned data collection methods will be implemented, in conjunction with the planned programmes and activities. Specific details for implementing the monitoring system are described in a monitoring plan, which clearly specifies:
- The indicators and their connection to the logical framework
- Roles and responsibilities for collecting data, checking data quality, conducting data analysis, drafting reports, and making decisions based on the data
- Data flow from the original collection locations to technical staff and to the management and policy-making levels
- Data management, including storage, privacy issues, and analysis procedures
- The monitoring framework as a continuous process
As the planned programmes and activities are implemented, and monitoring data is collected, the cycle of the monitoring framework continues to revolve. Collected data is used to determine changes since the previous measuring period’s baseline, and new analyses are conducted regarding areas where further progress and new strategies are needed.