Global Proficiency Framework: Reading and Mathematics
Grades 1 to 9
USAID worked closely with the World Bank, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), UK's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), Australian Council for Education Research (ACER), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to convene experts from around the globe and create a single set of global standards for reading and mathematics. The result of this collaboration is the Global Proficiency Framework.
The Global Proficiency Framework (GPF) describes the global minimum proficiency levels expected of students in grades one to nine in reading and mathematics. The four levels outlined in the GPF—Below Partially Meets, Partially Meets, Meets, and Exceeds Global Minimum Proficiency—form a common scale from low to high achievement.
These levels were identified, labeled, and defined in general terms by a group of 80 international stakeholders from education ministries, donor agencies, implementing partners, universities, assessment organizations, and research centers at a workshop in 2018. The specific content for the levels, called the Global Proficiency Descriptors (GPDs or descriptors), was adapted from the International Bureau of Education (IBE-UNESCO) Global Content Framework by a group of 40 global international reading and mathematics experts through discussion and dialogue in 2019 and 2020.
The Global Proficiency Framework Is Used in Two Ways
1. The GPF is a useful global reference to:
- Understand what students should be able to developmentally achieve on a global basis given proper materials and instruction in schools and classrooms, and
- Detect gaps/misalignment and provide a global reference for revising standards, curricula, materials, teacher training, delivery, and assessments
As such, the GPF serves as a basis for education sector-wide initiatives such as curriculum reform and student assessment design.
2. The GPF also serves as the common scale for policy linking.
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicator 4.1.1 (a, b, and c) and the USAID Foreign Assistance (“F”) Indicators (visit the Education Reporting Toolkit) require comparable data for aggregating assessment results from countries for global reporting. These indicators require data on the percentage of students meeting global minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics at selected grade levels.
USAID along with other donors have supported the development of the Policy Linking method to link international, national and sub-national assessments to the Global Proficiency Framework. Once assessments are linked to the GPF using the policy linking method, assessment results from each country can be compared to each other and aggregated with each other.
Using the GPF with Policy Linking helps to holistically design effective programming and measure learning outcomes.