The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education represent a major departure from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - at least if educational leaders act seriously in their pursuit - in at least two important respects.
First, the goals now pertain to learning outcomes. Out of eleven indicators, four focus directly on learning or developmental outcomes, and, in addition, one of the eleven goals (4.7) would require measurement of learning outcomes, even though the relevant indicator currently does not explicitly mention learning outcomes. In presentational terms, the lead indicator (the one presented first in the list) is all about learning and is really composed of three sub-indicators.
Second, there is a great deal of focus on inequality in the SDGs. They emphasize inequality as created by quite a few factors (gender, region, income, disability, etc.). (Though they do not cover what one might call “pure” or “total” inequality, that is, the total dispersion in scores, due to factors such as income and region, but also, importantly, due to lack of quality assurance and standards.)
Taking note of this new dual emphasis of the SDGs, this paper assembles the largest database of learning outcomes inequality data that we know of, and explores key issues related to the measurement of inequality in learning outcomes, with a view to helping countries and international agencies come to grips with the key dimensions and features of this inequality.
This research is funded under the Department for International Development’s Research on Improving Systems of Education
Crouch, L. and Gustafsson, M. (2018) RISE Working Paper 18/019, Worldwide Inequality and Poverty in Cognitive Results: Cross-sectional Evidence and Time-based Trends [online]