Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Ghana

Author(s): Sharma, Sonakshi; Minardi, Ana Luiza; Comba, Renaud

Organisation(s): UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight

Publisher(s): UNICEF Innocenti

Date: 2023

Pages: 67 p.

Serie: Innocenti Research Report


The Ministry of Education of Ghana (MoE) has developed the Education Sector Plan 2018–2030 (ESP) that establishes the vision for achieving equitable access to quality education and effectively managing education service delivery. Beyond traditional sector analysis, the MoE of Ghana is invested in deepening its use of existing data to enhance education quality. 

What resources and contextual factors are associated with school performance in Ghana? By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Ghana, this report helps to identify positive deviant schools – those that outperform other schools despite sharing similar contexts and resources.   

Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.   

DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. 

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