USAID Education Disability Measurement Toolkit
Collecting and using disability-disaggregated data is vital to achieving USAID’s Education Policy priority of increased access to quality education for all children and youth, from pre-primary to higher education.
Why Collect Disability Data?
Disability prevalence data are essential to our work in education for many reasons.
- They tell us which groups of learners may require additional support to equitably access education.
- Used alongside outcome data, they can reveal gaps in outcomes for people with disabilities, highlighting the need for improved targeting of learners with disabilities.
- Along with other indicators, they can help partner countries make data-informed decisions about education investments, which is crucial in the lower-resourced contexts in which USAID education programming is most common.
There is much measurement work to do to monitor global progress in achieving disability-inclusive education. USAID’s Center for Education is not alone in this effort to improve outcomes for learners with disabilities through improved measurement of disability status. We are committed to working with partners to strengthen disability-disaggregated data in our education programs.
What Is Our Approach?
USAID’s work in global education is aligned with the social and human rights-based models of disability. These models value persons with disabilities as part of natural human diversity and seek to remove barriers in society that limit this population’s participation on an equitable basis with others. This way of conceptualizing disability differs from other models of disability, such as the medical model and charity model, which situate the barriers individuals experience within those individuals and not in the environment.
A social model approach to disability measurement allows USAID education programs to examine how an individual experiences their environment by focusing on difficulties they may have such as seeing, hearing, moving about, communicating, or learning in a particular context.
Understanding disability as a social construct that arises from an environment that is not structured to include everyone allows USAID’s education investments to examine and strengthen the inclusivity of education systems. In an inclusive system, an individual who is identified as having a disability may experience little to no difficulty participating fully in their education because environmental barriers that would otherwise limit participation have been removed.
Most data collection tools derive from either the medical model or the social model of disability.
Graphic: Medical Model and Social Model of Disability
USAID promotes the use of the Washington Group and Washington Group/UNICEF tools, which are aligned with the social and human rights-based approach, for collecting disability data. See the tools and resources section of this toolkit for additional information.
What Are Our Requirements?
USAID relies on partners to report disability-disaggregated data in our education programs so that we know how we are meeting our goal of furthering inclusive education. Disability disaggregation is embedded in all of USAID’s person-level education indicators from pre-primary through higher education.
At this time, the availability and appropriateness of existing disability prevalence measurement tools factor into the requirements to collect disability-disaggregated data. The current requirements, therefore, depend on the age range of beneficiaries and whether the activity targets outcomes of learners with disabilities as a key activity outcome.
Table: Sample of Available Disability Prevalence Tools for Respondents
For activities targeting individuals under the age of 18, only activities focusing on affecting outcomes for learners with disabilities need to report on disability disaggregates. Activities with a focus on individuals with disabilities include activities that have learners with disabilities as a part of a broader group of targeted beneficiaries (i.e., learners with and without disabilities are the target group) as well as activities that solely target learners with disabilities (i.e., learners with disabilities are the only target group).
All activities targeting individuals age 18 and older should report on disability disaggregates.
What Tools and Resources Are Available?
USAID’s guidance on Collecting Data on Disability Prevalence in Education Programs provides information about tools and approaches to generate disability prevalence data in USAID’s education programming. It discusses existing and emerging tools from the Washington Group and Washington Group/UNICEF to collect disability data.
The Disability Identification and Tool Selection Guide is intended to help Missions and implementing partners determine which data collection tool is most appropriate for collecting data on children and youth with disabilities in a particular education activity. The guide is most useful for those who have a basic understanding of research design, data collection, the social model of disability, and Washington Group functional domains. Prior to using this guide, Missions or partners will need to determine the key activity characteristics, such as data collection purpose, disability functional domains, beneficiary age group, and data collection setting.
The Best Practices in Generating Data on Learners with Disabilities brief provides key considerations and resource links for selecting the right tool, working with respondents and interviewers, determining sample sizes, consulting other data sources, translation and adaptation, enumerator training, providing accommodations, and adhering to ethics.
The USAID Education Reporting Toolkit contains a complete list of resources related to USAID education reporting. It includes reporting guidance for all types of USAID education indicators, information about indicator disaggregates, a listing of all available indicators, and links to the Performance Indicator Reference Sheets, which contain detailed information about how to measure each indicator.
What Research Is Available?
USAID and the Center for Education are committed to advancing the evidence base on inclusive education, increasing the availability of tools to measure disability prevalence in education, and improving education outcomes for learners with disabilities.
The Center for Education is currently implementing the Multi-Country Study on Inclusive Education in Cambodia, Nepal, and Malawi. Once completed, the study will provide information on instructional models and teacher training approaches for improving inclusive education and best practices for identifying learners with disabilities.
The Center for Education recognizes the limitations of existing measurement tools to collect disability-disaggregated data about children and youth in its programming context. USAID encourages Missions and partners to continue to innovate and test tools that allow for feasible, appropriate data collection on learner disability status.
In addition, the Center for Education is implementing a validation study of the Washington Group’s Child Functioning Module-Teacher Version (CFM-TV) in school settings in Nepal.
Other regional studies include Tracking Inclusion: Data Sources On Inclusive Education In Sub-Saharan Africa and All Children Reading–Asia (ACR–Asia).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is disability disaggregation required?
Disaggregates are a way of breaking out data by key categories of interest, such as demographic characteristics. Under the education reporting requirements, disaggregates have been updated across indicators to facilitate reporting on specific populations and to meet requirements of the Education Policy and the USG Basic Education Strategy. Reporting on disability disaggregates is essential for accurate reporting and for tracking USAID’s achievements in equity and inclusion.
Disability disaggregates are included in all person-level indicators. Performance Indicator Reference Sheets specify the requirements for each indicator. For activities targeting individuals under the age of 18, only activities focusing on affecting outcomes for learners with disabilities need to report on disability disaggregates. Activities with a focus on individuals with disabilities include activities that have learners with disabilities as a part of a broader group of targeted beneficiaries (i.e., learners with and without disabilities are the target group) and activities that solely target learners with disabilities (i.e., learners with disabilities are the only target group).
All activities targeting individuals age 18 and older should report on disability disaggregates.
How is disability defined?
The USAID Education Policy defines children and youth with disabilities as those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments that, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. This definition is carried through the Performance Indicator Reference Sheets.
USAID’s Disability Communication Tips can be a useful resource when writing about persons with disabilities in narrative reporting and success stories. It provides tips on using empowering language when referring to persons with disabilities.
What are USAID’s accessibility standards?
All physical spaces reported under ES.2-53 (number of physical spaces built, repaired, or refurbished for higher education with USG assistance) and Supp-8 (number of schools built or upgraded with USG assistance in compliance with accessibility standards) must comply with USAID accessibility standards.
USAID requires compliance with standards of accessibility for people with disabilities in all structures, buildings, or facilities resulting from new or renovation construction or alterations of an existing structure. Compliance with the host country or regional standards for accessibility in construction is required when such standards result in at least substantially equivalent accessibility and usability as the standard provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines of July 2004.
Where there are no host country or regional standards for universal access or where the host country or regional standards do not meet the ADA/ABA threshold, the standard prescribed in the ADA and the ABA will be used. More information about USAID standards for accessibility can be found in the Mandatory Reference for ADS Chapter 303 on Standard Provisions for U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations.
How are ES.1-1 and ES.1-47 different?
ES.1-47 and the disability disaggregates of ES.1-1 measure the same thing. For activities that specifically target learners with disabilities, ES.1-47 should be used to measure minimum grade-level proficiency in reading at the end of Grade 2. For learners with disabilities who are participating in a general USAID reading program, ES.1-1’s disability disaggregate should count those learners.
Does USAID have guidance on collecting disability-disaggregated data?
Yes! The USAID How-To Note: Collecting Data on Disability Prevalence in Education Programs captures the Center for Education’s current thinking, recommendations, and ongoing investments for generating disability prevalence data to understand the reach of USAID education programming in meeting the needs of learners with disabilities. It presents the Center for Education’s approach to measuring disability and identifies existing tools endorsed by the Center to generate disability-disaggregated data across USAID education programming.
However, the note does not by itself achieve the Center’s vision for disability measurement and strong systems to serve learners with disabilities. It recognizes that there are significant gaps in disability measurement and national data collection systems. It also points out the limitations of existing measurement tools to yield data on learners with disabilities, particularly children, in education settings. This interim guidance, therefore, calls on USAID and its partners to invest in continued development and testing of tools to help fill these gaps.
The How-To Note is accompanied by two additional resources: 1) a Disability Identification Tool Selection Guide to help you determine which data collection tool is most appropriate for collecting data on children and youth with disabilities in your education activities; and 2) a summary of Best Practices in Generating Data on Learners with Disabilities to guide your data collection approach.
The Helpdesk is a direct line of communication to monitoring and evaluation professionals at the Center for Education. Readers are encouraged to reach out with any questions or concerns they have about education reporting requirements, including disability-related reporting. They are also encouraged to document challenges and best practices they uncover while working with the reporting materials and to share feedback with the Center through the Helpdesk.