E3 Education Data Thrives
To meet the goal set by Administrator Green to improve the metrics used to measure the progress and the effectiveness of Agency-funded investments on the journey to self-reliance, USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, Office of Education (E3/ED) has made robust use of data and evidence central to the 2018 US Government Education Strategy, to drive decision-making and investments. E3/ED is working hard to support the generation and use of data and evidence at the Mission-level, to support partner countries in their path to self-reliance. This means pulling Mission-generated data into a coherent collection that can be analyzed as a body of work to generate new insights into USAID’s work in the education sector.
The roots of E3/ED’s current efforts to collect fully-analyzable datasets in a single location dates back to the 2011 USAID Education Strategy. This Strategy placed an unprecedented emphasis on measuring and reporting the results of education programming at the Agency level, which meant summing results across the body of USAID-supported basic education programs taking place in 40+ countries around the world. To achieve this, participating Missions were asked to use collection tools, such as the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), to measure student reading ability in a common way across all relevant programs. E3/ED worked with Missions to collect data in a single, centrally-managed data system, and oversaw the analyses of these data that reported on key outcomes associated with the Strategy as a whole.
The central collection of USAID education data has allowed the Office of Education to tell their story to Congress, the Executive Branch, and other education stakeholders. The collection has also provided a method to communicate results of their programming to Missions, implementing partners, and other stakeholders that previously was not possible. For example, the Office of Education generates a ‘Results Brief’ for every early grade reading program. These briefs are designed to convey the status of reading ability for children reached by a program, and how this changes over the life of a program. Results briefs use a simple, brief, graphical format that can help Missions understand reading outcomes associated with their programming. More importantly, because results briefs follow a standard format, they allow Missions and other stakeholders draw previously untenable comparisons across programs and contexts. Such comparisons make it easier to objectively understand the relative effectiveness of different programs and use the information to capitalize on successful outcomes.
E3 is pleased to migrate its data to USAID’s new Development Data Library (DDL) and looks forward to reaping several benefits. Since E3 collected much of this data prior to the existence of the DDL, this meant shouldering the full cost and technical challenges of building a data system that complied with USG information technology requirements. Transferring our data collection into the DDL will save an estimated $500K annually, and capitalizes on the specialized data management and information security expertise that the Agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) uniquely possesses. We anticipate these savings will allow for expansion efforts to include the development of new data collections associated with our workforce readiness programs, and a central collection associated with education programming.