The effective use of educational assessments is fundamental to improving learning. However, effective use does not refer only to the technical parameters or statistical methodologies. Learning assessments in use today—whether large-scale or household surveys or hybrid (‘smaller, quicker, cheaper’ or SQC)—have varied uses and purposes. The present volume provides a review of learning assessments, their status in terms of the empirical knowledge base, and some new ideas for improving their effectiveness, particularly for those children most in need.
It is argued here that SQC learning assessments have the potential to enhance educational accountability, increase transparency, and support a greater engagement of stakeholders with an interest in improving learning. In addition, countries need a sustained policy to guide assessment choices, including a focus on poor and marginalized populations. The current effort to broaden the ways that learning assessments are undertaken in developing countries is vital to making real and lasting educational improvements.