Large-scale data gathering: Exploring World Bank’s influence on national learning assessments in LMICs

Author(s): Hossain, Mobarak

Date: 2023

Pages: 8 p.

Serie: International Journal of Education Development

Series Volume: 102


Over the last three decades, there has been a significant focus on collecting and utilizing extensive data to enhance governance in the education sector of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), primarily through the Education Management Information System (EMIS). However, the potential consequences of EMIS on national data-gathering efforts to assess educational quality and learning outcomes remain relatively unknown. In this paper, I analyze the relationship between EMIS activities or projects by the World Bank (WB), a prominent advocate for such initiatives, and national learning assessments in 144 countries. I find that each such project by the WB increases the likelihood of conducting an additional national assessment, consistently observed across different model specifications. As the movement towards evidence-based policymaking gains momentum, large-scale data gathering has become a common practice in many LMICs. I argue that EMIS initiatives may have prompted countries not only to collect basic statistics, such as the number of students and teachers, but also more resource-intensive data by assessing students’ learning outcomes. Nonetheless, the extent to which data is integrated into policymaking and countries’ capacity for such usage remain inadequately explored. The paper concludes by highlighting potential issues related to data collection and utilization, and providing policy-relevant suggestions.

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