Guidance for Learning Assessment in Emergencies

This guidance is for those working in education in emergency (EiE) contexts who wish to learn about assessment instruments and methodologies specific to EiE contexts.

If you are conducting an assessment, and/or contracting an organisation to conduct the assessment, this step-by-step guidance can help. In particular, for the development of the ToR, for the contracted organisation to help prepare their proposal and inception report, and for overall planning – ensuring that all the key steps of the assessment cycle are well-covered.

In emergency contexts, with fundings, resource and time constraints, it may not be possible to follow all the typical steps of an assessment cycle. It will be important, therefore, to prioritise the most important aspects, which include:

  1. Consider the specific challenges and needs for conducting assessments with vulnerable populations
  2. Using / writing good quality test items based on a robust assessment framework
  3. Ensuring the validity and reliability of the assessment
  4. Controlling language quality for translated instruments
  5. Ensuring the assessment results are properly analysed and used to inform decision making and improve the quality of education
  6. Recognising and certifying the learning attainment of refugees – see UNESCO IIEP’s Certification counts and Assessment and Certification of Education in Difficult Circumstances

Existing assessments that have been used in emergency contexts include (also widely used in non-emergency contexts):

  • The PAL Network / ASER tools (e.g., for Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh): lightweight, easy to administer, these tests focus on foundational literacy and numeracy. It has been usedin 14 countries.
  • EGRA & EGMA (e.g., in Afghanistan): more complex and time consuming than ASER, but still comparatively low cost and easy to administer. It covers early grade reading and math, going beyond foundational/basic literacy and numeracy as covered by ASER. It has been in used in 40+ countries.
  • A subset of the MICS household survey could also be considered. MICS has been conducted in 118 countries.

Other tools for conducting assessments in emergencies:

  • The open source Tangerine software can be used to collect data for the EGRA and EGMA (as well as other) assessments, greatly speeding up the process, and thus also suitable especially for education in emergencies.
  • Our self-evaluation tool can be used to identify the key strengths and gaps in how an assessment project team / unit / organisation is conducting and managing the assessment. This can be used for more targetted capacity building and strengthening aspects of the assessment process, saving time and costs. This is of course especially critical in emergency contexts. Not all sections need to be completed to view the results and identify strengths and gaps. The tool can also be used to identify areas where an external / additional organisation or consultant may need to come in, to provide additional expertise addressing the capacity gaps.
  • Once the assessment is completed, several specialized visualization tools (free / open source) can be used to help analyse and use the results for decision making.
  • See also our partners and partner resources.