Measuring the Basic Learning Competencies of Children

After spending 10 years developing my career in different social development sectors, I have joined the People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network) as Research Fellow in the 2018 Research Fellowship Program. The PAL Network brings together 14 member countries across 3 continents to measure the learning competencies of children through large-scale, citizen-led assessments of basic reading and math skills. Mobilizing and training local volunteers to participate in assessing children’s basic learning skills allows very large-scale assessments to be conducted regularly at low cost, ensuring the sustainability of the citizen-led assessment movement.

A Peek into Four months of Research Fellowship with PAL Network

I am a Research Associate (Data Analyst) with ASER Centre, the research wing of Pratham Education Foundation, India. Having dealt with numbers and research in education and working with the architect and pioneer of Citizen Led Assessments (CLAs) for over two years, my interest in the PAL Network Fellowship Program (2018) was only natural.

My hopes and aspirations as a PAL Network Research Fellow 2018

In alignment with the mission of PAL Network, the purpose of the 2018 Research Fellowship Program is to provide research fellows from within the network the opportunity to expand their familiarity and understanding of citizen-led assessment (CLA) data, by conducting analysis to produce new insights through an independent research project.


The Indian NGO Pratham pioneered the use of simple, face-to-face, out-of-school assessments of basic learning at a massive scale—their typical annual report covers more than 500,000 children. The ASER reports have tracked the levels and trends in learning (tragically, there has actually been learning retrogression) of children aged 5 to 14 in rural India since 2004.