Module 3

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Utility Icon


Utility, at its core, deals with whether or not the data that practitioners collect from an assessment, tool, or survey will be useful to make reasonable decisions about the activity, intervention, strategy, or program being implemented. Data about children’s learning and development needs to have a practical goal that allows practitioners and policy makers to learn about how their program affects children and what changes they can make to programming to improve children and adolescents’ development. In this module, practitioners will learn how to balance the time, resources, and commitment needed to rigorously measure learning and development outcomes, and use the data they collect.

Additional Resources

Measurement budget template

Nikhit D'Sa

This template guides teams through the different budget line items they should consider when attempting to collect data about learning or development outcomes of children or adolescents. This template and information are provided for reference only.

Checklist for developing and evaluating evaluation budgets

Jerry Horn

“This checklist is designed to assist evaluators and others thinking through the many issues that should be considered when developing an evaluation budget. This instrument is divided into several categories of typical cost items for conducting evaluations, and questions or statements are used as prompts for users to consider. In some cases, an item on the checklist may not be applicable.”

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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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