Measuring education system coherence: Alignment of curriculum standards, examinations, and teacher instruction in Tanzania and Uganda

Author(s): Atuhurra, Julius; Kaffenberger, Michelle

Date: 2022

Pages: 16 p.


While instructional coherence is important for student learning, structured analysis of such coherence, especially in low- and middle-income countries and at a systems level, is rare. The authors use an established methodology, the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum, and apply it in Tanzania and Uganda to systematically analyze and quantify the content and coherence of the primary curriculum standards, national examinations, and actual teaching delivered in the classroom. They find high levels of incoherence across all three instructional components. In Uganda, for example, only four of the fourteen topics in the English curriculum standards appear on the primary leaving exam, and two of the highest-priority topics in the standards are completely omitted from the exams. Teachers tend to cover broad swathes of content and levels of cognitive demand that are not well aligned with either the curriculum standards or exams. An exception is Uganda mathematics, for which standards, exams, and teacher instruction are all well aligned. The SEC methodology can be used as a diagnostic tool, helping education systems identify areas of instructional (in)coherence and informing efforts to improve coherence for learning.

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