Launch of the first Botswana Educational Achievement Monitor (BEAM)

NFER is partnering with the IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) to assist the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) to develop the first national Educational Achievement Monitor.

NFER and IEA are working with the Botswana Examinations Council on the design and implementation of the first Botswana Education Achievement Monitor.  The new monitor will be a comprehensive and sample-based assessment that will measure and monitor the quality of education provided across the education system.  Once designed, NFER and IEA will train BEC staff to continue to develop and implement the BEAM to identify trends in educational attainment over time.

Methodology
Underpinning BEAM’s design is the use of a curriculum-based assessment framework for mathematics, reading and life skills for children in Standard 4 who are aged 9-10. Its methodology draws on existing frameworks used in large-scale international assessment studies, such as TIMSS and PIRLS.

NFER’s role in the project is to lead on the development of the new assessment framework, the test instruments for mathematics and reading and on questionnaires to gather contextual information, such as demographics, use of computers and reading habits from pupils, parents, teachers and head teachers. We are working closely with relevant BEC teams, leading workshops on the design of the assessment framework, item and assessment development and sharing responsibility for the production of the instruments and the framework. 

BEC ran a small-scale pilot in April 2021 in four to six schools in Botswana to informally trial the items with students and we are now supporting BEC to finalise the items for a field test and produce scoring guides and training on their use. Our partner IEA, is leading on the sample selection, rotation design, psychometric analysis and final reporting.

The field test is due to be administered in autumn 2021 in a sample of schools. This formal trial will give information on how the items function technically and enable the construction of test booklets for the full BEAM.

Results
The BEAM will produce empirical data which measures the extent to which learners in Standard 4 have achieved the national educational goals. The findings will inform Ministry of Education officials, school governors, head teachers, teachers, and parents on the levels of education attained by children and assist the government with education planning and policy.