Institutionalizing Standardized Assessments of Student Learning


Education assessments indicate student strengths and weaknesses in reading and math and guide the development of teacher training programs and revision of curricula to meet their needs. In Benin, our 2019 early grade reading and math assessments (EGRA and EGMA), along with the World Bank’s 2014 Program for Analysis of Education Systems and the 2018 Government of Benin National Assessment, revealed poor student outcomes in early grade reading and math. One factor contributing to students’ underperformance is text complexity—that often grade-level reading material is challenging for children. In response, the World Bank and the Ministry of Education revised the early grade reading and early grade math curricula for grade 1 with input from World Education on developing culturally relevant, inclusive, and age-appropriate decodable text. The new curricula and texts were piloted in 36 schools in 2021, and the government is preparing for a nation-wide rollout in the upcoming school year.

To assess students’ skills with the revised curricula, the government asked World Education to apply our EGRA and EGMA approach that we have used in Benin since 2017 under the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition project. We are developing and digitizing assessment tools for country-wide adoption, and training a newly-formed unit within the teacher training institute to implement the assessments using the mobile-based tool Tangerine in the pilot schools. With the creation and training of this new unit, the government plans to implement our EGRA and EGMA approach in schools across the country and adopt the assessments into its national, standardized assessment toolkit.

This adoption will allow for sustainable, routine assessments beyond a single project, which is unusual due to high costs of implementation. Through the integration of this EGRA and EGMA approach, the government can take ownership of the assessments, identify areas for improvement, and strengthen the quality of instruction.


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