GC-DWC Faculty and Save the Children Co-Develop New Assessment to Support Improvement Science in Emergencies

March 14, 2024Nikhit D’Sa, assistant professor and director for research at the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC), recently co-developed a measurement tool—the Holistic Assessment of Learning and Development Outcomes (HALDO)—alongside Allyson Krupar and colleagues at Save the Children that has been utilized across humanitarian programming to understand the diverse learning and development needs of children who have been forcibly displaced. 

In speaking about the development of HALDO, D’Sa noted, “In emergencies, practitioners have to quickly develop an education response for children who speak different languages, have dramatically different academic backgrounds, and are often in need of psychosocial support. We need rapid, adaptable, feasible, and practical assessments of children’s learning and development so that we can design or adapt programs that are fit for purpose. HALDO was developed for exactly this purpose.”

D’Sa and Krupar co-developed the tool and examined the internal consistency, inter-rater reliability, concurrent validity, and construct validity of HALDO’s scores. Their peer-reviewed article provides evidence of the psychometric properties of HALDO when used in emergency responses in Kenya, Lebanon, and Uganda. They find that in the three contexts, HALDO is a rigorous, multi-dimensional, and feasible instrument to rapidly measure the literacy, numeracy, social & emotional learning (SEL), and executive functioning (EF) skills of children between 4-12 years of age. 

Krupar highlights that “HALDO was designed to understand children’s learning needs in the immediate onset of displacement but has also been expanded to support non-formal program evaluation in protracted emergencies, particularly with refugees. Since we tested the tools’ psychometric properties, Save the Children and partners have adapted HALDO to evaluate and pre-position programming in Burkina Faso, Colombia, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somaliland, and Syria.”

Without identifying what children already know in the immediate aftermath of forced displacement, education practitioners are often unable to address the gaps and challenges learners face; this new tool aims to change that. 

“We hope that this publication drives more efforts in the education in the emergency sector to better understand children's learning and development needs before we plan interventions,” said D’Sa.

To read the journal article and learn more about HALDO, please visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266637402400002