Feasibility: Tool Selection

Module 4

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Feasibility: Tool Selection

Feasibility deals with the actual process of practitioners measuring learning or development outcomes for children and adolescents in low-resource, crisis-affected, and fragile contexts and asks whether the process is doable given the logistical, operational, and systematic limitations that are in place. In this module, practitioners will learn about the tradeoffs between adopting an existing tool, contextualizing or adapting a measure, or developing a survey from scratch. We also discuss the steps we recommend that practitioners take if they decide to contextualize or adapt an existing tool.

Additional Resources

Measure guidance: Choosing and contextualizing assessment measures in educational contexts

Silvia Diazgranados and Jeongmin Lee

“In this document, we focus on the assessment of children’s holistic learning and development (CHILD): specifically, the knowledge, skills and attitudes that may both promote and/or prevent children from thriving, now and in the future. We provide a step-by-step decision-making guide for researchers and practitioners interested in using CHILD measures in emergency contexts. The decision-making tree, tools and resources presented in this document will help these users make informed decisions about how to choose, contextualize and implement reliable and valid measures and understand the needs, challenges and critical support faced by the communities they serve.”

Cognitive interviewing: A “how to” guide

Gordon B. Willis

“This document describes the cognitive interviewing techniques appropriate for questionnaire development and testing.”

Cognitive interviewing with young children

Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child

The cognitive interviewing process has been primarily focused on youth and adults from high-resource countries. In order to ensure a more reliable and comprehensive study in low-resource or fragile settings, cognitive interviewing must be adapted to account for the age, expressive vocabulary, and capacities of children in the local community. This guide describes the experience of using cognitive interviewing in a low-resource setting when practitioners adapted the ISELA for Haitian school children. This guide includes discussion of the changes made and what was learned through the process, focusing on recommendations for researchers and practitioners who want to conduct similar measure adaptation with children in low-resource and fragile contexts.

Selection of learning and development measures and measurement libraries (sorted alphabetically). Please follow the copyright information provided with each tool.

Caregiver Reported Early Development Instruments (CREDI)

“CREDI were designed to serve as a population-level measure of early childhood development (ECD) for children from birth to age three. As the name suggests, the CREDI exclusively relies on caregiver reports, and thus primarily focuses on milestones and behaviors that are easy for caregivers to understand, observe, and describe.”

Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Evaluation Library

An initiative in the United States of America “that provides funding for Sustainable Community Projects (SCP). These projects are developed to meet locally identified needs, are research based, and provide quality programs for vulnerable, at-risk, low-income, and low-resource children, youth, and families to promote positive life outcomes.” Library includes approximately 300 different measures of child and adolescent health and development outcomes.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Assessment Guide

“The Assessment Guide provides several resources for practitioners to select and use measures of student SEL, including guidance on how to select an assessment and use student SEL data, a catalog of SEL assessments equipped with filters and bookmarking, and real-world accounts of how practitioners are using SEL assessments.”

International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA)

“IDELA, is an easy-to-use, rigorous global tool that measures children’s early learning and development and provides ECCD programs, donors, and government partners with clear evidence on the status of children from 3.5 to 6 years.”

Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Measurement Library

“The Measurement Library is a collection of measurement tools to assess children’s learning and holistic development and service provider quality in crisis contexts. This includes measures that have been vetted and tested by members of the Evidence to Action: Education in Emergencies (3EA) MENAT Consortium, along with technical working papers on the validity and reliability of the measures, guidance materials and training materials.”

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox

“NIH Toolbox includes over 100 stand-alone measures, also available in 30-minute batteries to assess Cognition, Emotion, Motor, and Sensation…NIH Toolbox is appropriate to use in the general population, in individuals with chronic conditions, and across the lifespan. While many measures can assess function from early childhood, others target specific age bands. All scores for a given domain are on a common scale and can be used for longitudinal measurement.”

People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network Assessment Library

“The People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network is a south-south partnership of organisations working across three continents. Member organisations conduct citizen-led assessments and/or citizen-led actions aimed at improving learning outcomes.” Includes primarily literacy/reading and numeracy assessments.

RAND Education Assessment Finder

“A web-based tool that provides information about assessments of K-12 students’ interpersonal, intrapersonal, and higher-order cognitive competencies. Practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can use it to explore what assessments are available, what they are designed to measure, how they are administered, what demands they place on students and teachers, and what kinds of uses their scores support.”

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What is practical measurement?

Practical measurement is measurement of children and adolescents’ learning and development that is driven by and focused on the needs of practitioners working with limited time and resources in low-resource, conflict-affected, and fragile contexts. Practical measurement is not a specific tool but rather a conceptual framework that can be used to develop a simple, yet rigorous plan to measure holistic learning and development outcomes related to physical health, mental health, psychosocial wellbeing, academic learning (e.g., literacy, numeracy), social and emotional learning, or values, morals, and spirituality.


Why this course?

When searching for online resources on measuring children and adolescents’ learning and development, there are two common forms of resources: those aimed at monitoring outputs of programs (e.g., number of training sessions implemented or number of beneficiaries engaged) and those aimed at rigorous program or impact evaluations such as randomized controlled trials. However, while these resources are valuable, they do not address many practitioners’ immediate purpose to go beyond monitoring outputs and to measure actual changes in children and adolescents. Recognizing the need for something that is driven by and focused on the needs of practitioners working with limited time and resources in low-resource and fragile contexts, the Practical Measurement course focuses on equipping practitioners with the knowledge and resources to develop rigorous yet feasible measurement initiatives. 


Who is this course designed for?

Maybe you are an education technical expert with years of experience working in low-resource or fragile settings on programs for children. Or perhaps you are a monitoring and evaluation officer in the early stages of your career. Wherever you find yourself in your career, the Practical Measurement course is designed to support practitioners like you in understanding how to develop an effective approach to measuring holistic learning and development outcomes, especially when faced with limited time and resources. For this reason, you will find limited research and statistical jargon throughout the course. Instead, you will find clear and concise descriptions, tips, tools, and resources to support you on your journey of measuring the learning and development outcomes of children or adolescents.


What will I learn?

This course is focused on four key parameters that are important to consider when attempting to measure how children learn and develop through programs in low-resource and fragile contexts: appropriateness, utility, feasibility, and rigor. The materials in this course are not comprehensive nor are they meant to prepare you to take on a large research initiative. Instead, you can anticipate gaining a deeper understanding of the why and how behind measuring children and adolescents’ holistic learning and development outcomes. You can also expect to leave this course with a foundational understanding of how to start down the road of choosing a measure, adapting it, administering it with children, and ensuring that the data is useful. Throughout the course, you will find a curated list of resources to help develop a strategy to measure learning and development whether you are interested in tracking (formative assessments), screening, situation analyses, monitoring, or evaluations.

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