Education Reporting Guidance: What’s Changing and Why?
The USAID Education Policy and the U.S. Government Strategy of International Basic Education (USG Education Strategy), published in 2018, have both prompted changes to education reporting within the Agency. Although not new for USAID, these two documents place a renewed emphasis and expectations on measuring learning outcomes for increasing access to high-quality education, higher education, and skills, especially for marginalized and vulnerable populations.
So what changes has the Center for Education (DDI/EDU) implemented to measure the Agency’s impact of its education programming and to facilitate internal learning? How do these changes affect operating units (OUs) and implementing partners who manage education programming? The answers to these questions can be found in the USAID Education Reporting Guidance. Below, we’ll walk you through the new reporting requirements that take effect in 2019, including timelines and additional resources available to facilitate the uptake of the new and revised education-related indicators.
FIve Changes to Education Reporting
Let’s discuss the five key changes to education reporting you should be aware of. These changes are intended to complement and not replace existing guidance on the Performance Plan and Report (PPR) or the monitoring policy in the Automated Directive System (ADS) 201.
1. Target setting. There will be a shift from a top-down, USAID/Washington-led exercise to a bottom-up Mission-led approach to target setting. The ADS 201 currently provides general guidance on target setting. Education-specific guidance is available in the Education Reporting Toolkit.
2. Indicators. The new and revised indicators are designed to help with target setting and with accurate reporting to Congress. There are four categories of indicators. One of them is new, which is the Supplemental Indicators. There are 16 Supplemental Indicators on new areas of measurement, such as numeracy, teacher quality, social and emotional skills, and an expanded set of youth skills. Although DDI/EDU does not assign these indicators to OUs, they’re strongly encouraged because they help tell a more complete story and also facilitate learning.
Standard Foreign Assistance (Standard) Indicators are assigned by DDI/EDU to OUs and include 25 standard indicators, 15 new and ten revised. The definition and methodologies for some Standard Indicators were updated. The last two categories are Custom and Archived Indicators. The Custom, which are specific to OUs, remain unchanged unless an OU decides to transition to a Standard or Supplemental Indicator. The Archived Indicators are only supposed to be used if an OU is unable to transition to a new indicator.
Of the 31 new standard and supplemental indicators, 23 measure outcomes, and eight measure outputs. The shift to outcome indicators is also in alignment with outcomes related to the Education Policy and USG Education Strategy.
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3. Data disaggregation. The disaggregates have been updated for many indicators to facilitate reporting on the Education Policy and USG Education Strategy, especially to better monitor progress toward improving equity and inclusion. The two disaggregates related to this are persons with disabilities and individuals affected by crisis and conflict.
4. Program Area and Key Issue Narratives. Revisions have also been made to Program Area Narratives for standard indicators relating to basic education and higher education and Key Issue Narratives for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The latter can be used across sectors, even with activities that might not consider themselves an HEI, such as a U.S. or host country-based institution involved in implementation or research.
5. Streamlined reporting. The PPR will be DDI/EDU’s main reporting mechanism starting in 2019, doing away with the current Data Call relating to the previous Education Strategy (2011-2015). Missions and IPs will still be required to help DDI/EDU with current tasks such as submitting datasets and learning assessments to the Development Data Library.
Timelines and Resources
The Center for Education understands that a full transition to the new reporting requirement and indicators will take time. Although the new indicators will be assigned during the 2019 fiscal year PPR, individual Missions’ timeline will depend on various factors such as what data are already being collected. The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (PMEP) for new awards, however, should reflect the new and revised indicators.
Two key resources are available to OUs and implementing partners during the transition:
- Helpdesk is a direct line of communication to monitoring and evaluation professionals who can answer questions about the reporting requirements.
- Education Reporting Toolkit is intended to serve as a companion to the guidance document and is hosted online at EducationLinks. The toolkit contains a listing of all new and revised indicators, Performance Indicator Reference Sheets (PIRS), and Key Issue Narratives.