The GLQA Initiative : Indicators for the Local Management of Learning Quality
Learning Outcomes as an Indicator of the Quality of Education
The quality of education is a major concern for education policy players. The very concept of quality can lead to confusion: it encompasses the teaching content (curricula) just as much as learning outcomes (the knowledge children acquire), external efficiency (the social or professional benefits of education) and teaching conditions (the environment in which the exchange of knowledge takes place).
In the context of the local management of learning quality initiative (GLQA), the focus has been placed on the learning outcome criteria. The quality of education is therefore defined by what pupils effectively learn. The greater the mastery of the school programme content, the higher the quality education is thought to provide.
An Initiative Tailored to the Local Management of Quality
The GLQA initiative offers a methodology that responds to local concerns related to the management of education quality. It aims to regularly produce (at least annually) legitimate and straightforward indicators of school performance and of district and academy-level inspections. The analysis of these results by the very players involved is the starting point for reflections that lead to the improvement of performance.
One of the specificities of the GLQA initiative is that it does not organize new evaluations of pupils, but aims to harness existing data produced by education systems according to its usual operations. Through this approach, guarantees are provided that data will be available for each school year and for all schools. A further advantage is that local players are more familiar with data produced by the education system itself than those resulting from international evaluations.
An Initiative that is Complementary to Other Evaluations
The GLQA initiative is based on the continuity of national and international evaluations that occur regularly (every three to five years). The coexistence of two evaluation approaches is necessary, each providing complementary results. International evaluations enable the definition of national education quality policies whereas the GLQA initiative provides schools with tasks to undertake on a daily basis.
A Method that itself Promotes the Improvement of Quality
The GLQA analysis is organized in three phases:
A diagnosis phase that aims to identify existing data that measures the quality of learning. It is also appropriate to identify improvements in the process of mobilization of this information, to ensure that it constitutes an effective tool to measure quality.
A phase for the computation of indicators that aims to convert the available data into indicators of pupil learning achievements and school performance. One of the initiative’s added values is the identification of the contributions of schools to pupils’ knowledge, considering their profile and initial level.
A pilot phase whose objective is to offer recommendations to reorganize the process of producing data on pupils’ learning levels. This reorganization in itself is a first step towards improving the quality of education.
The Pôle de Dakar launched this initiative in the second semester of 2009. The first countries having benefitted from the support offered are Senegal, Cameroon, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau.A methodological guide that will assist other countries in conducting this type of analysis is being finalized and will soon be made available.