The current discourse around measurement and evaluation of children and adolescents' learning and development has moved the sector away from reliance on anecdotal information to a focus on capturing the actual change in outcomes for children and adolescents in specific programs or interventions. While there has been significant attention on the rigor of measurement, limited focus has been placed on ensuring that measurement of children and adolescents' learning and development is appropriate and feasible for practitioners in low-income and fragile contexts. Through the programs supported by the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC), we focus on practical measurement: measurement that is driven-by and focused on the needs of practitioners working with limited time and resources in low-resource and fragile contexts.
Designed with this in mind, the Practical Measurement course focuses on four key parameters —appropriateness, utility, feasibility, and rigor— that practitioners should consider when attempting to measure children and adolescents’ learning and development. Pulling on over a decade of experience working on measurement and evaluation in low-resource, conflict-affected, and fragile contexts, Dr. Nikhit D’Sa guides users through the self-paced modules, sharing practical measurement and evaluation guidance, insights, tips, and resources. Explore the modules in any order you wish, collect Dr. D’Sa’s recommendations on additional measurement and evaluation resources from global organizations, and begin to develop a plan to simply and effectively measure and evaluate children and adolescents’ outcomes in your context.
Explore the course
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.
How long will this course take?
The course consists of six modules that each have a video and accompanying resources. The videos range from six to eleven minutes in length, and you can take them in any order you like as is convenient with your schedule. There is no registration required, and you can come back to a module as frequently as you like. Additionally, within each module, you can choose to delve deeper into a topic by exploring Dr. D’Sa’s curated list of resources.
Meet your instructor
Dr. Nikhit D’Sa is a developmental psychologist with a decade of experience as an education technical advisor and applied researcher in low-resource, crisis, and conflict settings. He has expertise developing and managing cross-sectoral learning frameworks, leading impact evaluations, conducting qualitative and mixed-methods studies, designing and validating assessment tools, and working with practitioners to make evidence-based changes to interventions. Dr. D’Sa has worked as a trainer, counselor, and consultant on child and youth development projects around the world with multiple international and civil society organizations. Before joining the University of Notre Dame, Dr. D’Sa served as the Director of Research, Evaluation, and Learning at Save the Children. In this role, he helped establish and grow the Education in Emergencies research team, while also designing and validating the International Social and Emotional Learning Assessment (ISELA) and the Holistic Assessment of Learning and Development Outcomes (HALDO). Dr. D’Sa holds a Master of Education in International Education Policy and a Doctor of Education in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.