Five years on, NEQMAP redoubles efforts to improve quality learning assessment data in Asia-Pacific
As the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP) celebrates its fifth anniversary, its efforts to improve the quality of learning assessments are reaching more education stakeholders in Asia-Pacific than ever before.
NEQMAP, established five years ago on 28 March, recently held its largest regional workshop to date, which for the first time included two of the world’s largest education systems, India and Indonesia, as well as Iran and Kazakhstan.
More than 40 assessment experts from 21 countries attended a four-day workshop on “Data quality and accuracy for large-scale learning assessment programmes” from 12-15 March 2018 in Bangkok.
The workshop was facilitated by experts from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), a NEQMAP member institution, and supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Participants were able to delve into techniques and procedures to ensure and improve data quality and accuracy at all stages of learning assessments, from their inception to post-implementation. In particular, the workshop introduced key concepts on quality related to these stages, including sampling procedures, different aspects of standardised field operations and, finally, data collection, storage and validation. Facilitators presented a self-evaluation tool relevant to these different key areas of learning assessment.
Delegates from Cambodia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, India, Mongolia, Maldives, Nepal and Timor Leste shared their experiences in these areas.
Several participants noted that the opportunities NEQMAP provides to share experiences and learn from other countries in this manner is one of the network’s greatest strengths.
“NEQMAP has provided an excellent platform for [the] sharing of expertise and experiences across countries and help in capacity building,” noted a delegate from India in a workshop evaluation.
An official from Afghanistan likewise noted: “NEQMAP supports very well the education assessment and student learning assessment activities throughout different countries…. NEQMAP provides the facilities to share the knowledge among the countries in the education domain.”
In addition to its technical content, the workshop included a session on ongoing regional and global initiatives related to learning assessment and data quality such as PILNA by EQAP, SEA-PLM by UNICEF, GAML by UIS and A4L by GPE.
NEQMAP members also provided feedback via a survey on their thoughts on the future direction of the network and how best it can serve its objectives, particularly around advancing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”.
As Moritz Bilagher, Quality Education Team Leader and Head of NEQMAP Secretariat at UNESCO Bangkok, said in a blog for the Global Partnership for Education, the feedback from the survey reaffirmed members’ belief that NEQMAP should continue to engage in capacity development in the region .
“This is what NEQMAP, more than anything else, intends to continue to do with the support of its partners; ensure learning assessment systems are strong in this region… so that advances towards SDG4 can be assessed – and contributing to knowledge as to where more work is needed, so that effective interventions can be designed,” he wrote.
The network’s next regional activity is set to take place in September.
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