The Preliminary Scoping Exercise of Systems for Monitoring Educational Standards Over Time at National Level

Chris Whetton, Sharon O'Donnell, Rob Ager, Pauline Benefield

01 January 2007

This study locates preliminary information on the nature and extent of national assessment systems around the world. This was done through a searching strategy based on a formal literature search, internet searches, enquiries through information sharing networks and personal requests for information. Information on nearly 170 countries was collected.


Key Findings

  • For all countries there was some evidence that they are engaged in some form of systematic assessment programme aimed at least in part in evaluating standards.
  • For some countries, the sole reported means of doing this is through international comparative studies, such as the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • Many smaller or developing countries take part in other international schemes, such as the World Bank's Monitoring Learning Achievement (MLA).
  • Twenty-two countries were identified which run their own national assessment systems.
  • At least nine countries were identified which do not have any form of national monitoring of standards (though they may participate in international surveys).
  • The subjects tested most frequently are language and mathematics.
  • Age groups assessed vary according to the schooling systems, but there is a tendency to test toward the end of primary education.
  • Countries test random samples or the whole cohort, or sometimes both of these for different elements of their programme.
  • It was very difficult to locate the stated purposes of the assessment systems.

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