Raising the Floor on Learning Levels: Equitable Improvement Starts with the Tail

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The latest RISE Insight, Raising the Floor on Learning Levels:  Equitable Improvement Starts with the Tail, has been released to coincide with the RISE panel discussion: Equal Rights and Equal Rise: Contextualising Equity in Education Systems Reform, taking place on 4 September 2017 in Oxford, England.

As has already been well documented, learning levels in developing countries often do not meet the expectations of national curricula or even the basic levels of citizen-led assessments. But as the Insight discusses, the important empirical question is whether higher average learning levels are most readily reached specically by reducing inequalities; or whether reduced inequalities are the likely result of more general efforts to raise learning outcomes. The paper considers the potential benefits of a path ‘through the middle’ whereby attention to the long (‘left hand’) tail of poor performing students and schools may serve both to improve outcomes as a whole and to reduce inequality; thereby serving two equity goals. 

In the Insight, authors Luis Crouch (RTI International) and Caine Rolleston (University College London), examine the equity and inequality dimensions of the learning crisis, looking specifically at the following questions:

  1. How should we understand equity and inequality in global education?
  2. Where does inequality in learning outcomes come from?
  3. Do countries improve their averages by reducing non-performance or improving high-performance?
  4. Is there more inequality between or within countries?
  5. What are the possible policy implications? 

At the RISE event, an in-depth discussion will take place with the authors presenting the key information from the publication. Panelists Angela Little (University College London) and Pauline Rose (REAL Centre) will respond to the points raised in the Insight and make their own observations on the event theme. 

Registration details for the event can be found on the RISE website.