Helpdesk Report: Learning Assessments

This report provides examines the evidence on the role of large-scale learning assessments in education systems in low-and middle-income countries



What is the evidence on:

  • how best to promote effective national capacities to conduct learning assessments?
  • to what extent participation in international learning assessments has built national capacities to design, implement and make use of national assessments?
  • participation in international learning assessments having an impact on political decisions, policy-making and teaching practices in countries?
  • the consequences of focusing assessment of learning on language (reading), numeracy/maths and science?
  • the circumstances and actions required to ensure learning assessments (both national and country participation in international assessments) promote and secure improvements in learning achievement?


This helpdesk report provides a rapid analysis of evidence of the role of large-scale learning assessments (LSEAs) in education systems in low- and middle-income countries. It is divided into five principal sections, each associated with one of the 5 sub-queries set out above. The information and analysis is supplemented by a number of Annexes detailing specific approaches to learning assessment design and implementation. A bibliography is included, with links for resources used. The resources included in this report were identified through a non-systematic desk-based search. A number of experts were also consulted. This report is a rapid response and, as such, it should be treated as a synthesis of the resources and evidence gathered in the assigned time.


Joynes, C.; Mobey, H. Helpdesk Report: Learning Assessments. Health and Education Advice and Resource Team (HEART), Oxford, UK (2015) 33 pp.

Published 1 January 2015