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Assessment and Monitoring: RAMAA

RAMAA (Action Research: Measuring Literacy Programme Participants’ Learning Outcomes) is the first generation of action research in the field of literacy measurement. It was initiated by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in order to fill a gap that is currently not covered by large-scale literacy assessment.

RAMAA: Literacy measurement

The purpose of RAMAA is to develop national capacities to evaluate and monitor the quality of literacy programmes, and to inform policymakers and development partners about the return on investment in literacy programmes by measuring the real level of literacy acquired, i.e. the actual performance of learners who complete courses. RAMAA is based on a methodological framework that takes into account cultural, educational and linguistic specificities as well as the knowledge and capacities of national experts from the participating countries in order to design, manage and implement programmes locally. RAMAA’s measurement tools are therefore constructed by the participating countries in partnership with UIL, the relevant UNESCO field offices, researchers and consultants. It is supported by partners such as the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the University of Hamburg. The project is also supported by technical and financial partners from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).

As well as continuously improving the quality of youth and adult literacy programmes, RAMAA will provide reliable, contextualized data that will strengthen evidence-based advocacy. RAMAA will also enhance national capacities with an emphasis on ownership and sustainability, and will open up new prospects for applied scientific research by involving national university researchers and PhD students. In focusing on learning achievements and skills acquired, RAMAA contributes to Education 2030 (the post-2015 education agenda) and to the broader Sustainable Development Goals.

The first phase of RAMAA (2011–2014) involved five French-speaking African countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Senegal. An additional seven countries – Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Côte d’Ivoire and Togo – have expressed their interest in participating in the second phase of RAMAA.

Development of a literacy assessment framework and tools

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is devising a framework for UNESCO Member States enabling them to assess literacy as a continuum of proficiency levels. This framework will draw lessons from the following existing literacy assessments:

  • PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies)
  • LAMP (Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme)
  • STEP (Skills Towards Employability and Productivity)

Based on partnerships with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), the World Bank, the OECD and representatives of UNESCO Member States, UIL will develop literacy assessment and monitoring tools that provide comparable measurements of literacy skill levels in countries with low literacy rates. This global literacy project aims to collect more reliable and valid data that will help improve literacy strategies and programmes as part of the post-2015 education agenda. The literacy data will contribute to the monitoring of progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4) by targeting countries that have not yet assessed literacy using direct measurement tools. It will also strengthen the capacity of Member States to use literacy data to create effective policies.