PAL Network Highlights 2023


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A Globally Comparable, Low-Cost, and Scalable Common Assessment of Children’s Foundational Learning

The People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network is a south-south partnership of 17 members working across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote children’s foundational learning. Over the years, we have pioneered Citizen-Led Assessments (CLAs), an innovative and cost-effective approach to evaluate children’s foundational learning in developing nations. This inclusive model has gained traction globally, with over 60 assessments conducted in over 15 countries, reaching over 9 million children in their homes. The organic growth of CLAs resulted in effective national advocacy efforts but a gap remained in promoting comparisons and learning across countries. PAL members came together to build common assessment tools to facilitate cross-country analysis, learning, and advocacy efforts. We now intend to scale these common assessments in 15 countries to strengthen foundational learning for all as called for under SDG 4.1.1(a), especially in the wake of COVID-19.

Assessment Tools

The assessment tools will be paper-based versions of the PAL Network’s established common assessments: the International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN) for numeracy and the International Common Assessment of Reading (ICARe) for language and literacy. The ICAN and ICARe tools are based on multiple years of testing and scaling across 13 countries, having surveyed ~50,000 children, and having undergone numerous field trials and item analyses. The ICAN and ICARe assessments will align with the Global Proficiency Framework and SDG4.1.1(a) reporting requirements.

Reach and Coverage

Advocacy and Impact

How can you get involved?

Our current funding for the project is primarily from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), with potential targeted support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which allows us to implement this project at a basic level. However, further financial and technical support will enable the project to reach its true potential. Your support can help us in the following ways.

  1. Meet the Shortfall: We invite donors to bridge the project’s budget gap, ensuring the assessment’s successful execution in the first round. We also seek support to implement subsequent rounds of data collection in 2026 and 2029.
  2. Geographical Expansion: Your support will enable us to extend the reach of our assessments and foster equitable educational improvements. We seek support to adapt these assessments to a new country context in a representative manner.
  3. Tailored Global, Regional, and National Advocacy: We invite all donors and partners to support us in targeted advocacy efforts for policy influence and impact. Your contribution will enrich the sophisticated advocacy strategy being designed and enable us to amplify advocacy efforts, ensuring effective policy implementation and reforms.

Special Project Pilots