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CIES 2017: Rethinking equity measurement practices to ensure education goals are met by all (group panel)

  • Sheraton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta, Capitol Center (North Tower) 165 Courtland Street Northeast Atlanta, GA, 30303 United States (map)

Chair: Carina Omoeva, FHI 360


  • Equity measurement at the global level: Insights from a landscape review of international data programs, Charles Gale, FHI 360
  • Current practices in equity measurement in development programs: An analysis of learning intervention data, Eric Eversmann, Save the Children
  • Breaking the cycle: Challenges and opportunities to address education inequality in conflict and fragile contexts, Shai Fuxman, EDC/ECCN
  • Recommendations for equity measurement practices in education programs, Carina Omoeva, FHI 360


Equity is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and requires that “no education target should be considered met unless met by all” (UN, 2016). To achieve this goal, education systems and development programming will need to confront the needs of the most disadvantaged as they progress towards 2030.

As education practitioners and stakeholders in the realization of this goal, we should consider our role in championing equity, thinking critically about—and problematizing—the impact of our efforts on equity. Are we capturing and using the data necessary to understand and respond to inequity in education provision and outcomes? How well do we understand the causes and solutions of inequality? Are we promoting strategies that will improve rather than worsen inequality in education?

As a first step towards answering these questions, the Education Equity Research Initiative, a collaborative partnership across organizations and individuals that aims to develop and consolidate research evidence on effective equity-oriented education policy and program interventions, undertook systematic reviews of the current landscape of equity measurement in education. These reviews drew on available literature, interviews with practitioners working on education interventions, and analysis of measurement instruments in order to assess how we are measuring inequality at present, what insights can be shared across the field, and how measurement strategies need to be improved going forward.

This panel synthesizes the findings from these reviews, laying out the current practices in equity measurement by global sources, within educational interventions, and for conflict-affected and fragile contexts. The panel concludes with recommendations developed in response to these reviews, setting out best practices for equity measurement in development programs to achieve clarity of definitions, consistency in data collection and measurement, and a deliberate approach to assessing and addressing equity. The findings and recommendations from the panel stress the importance of syncing grassroots-level efforts to improve equity to global efforts and will be of particular relevance to those working on educational interventions.

The panel will include four papers, with a session chair and a discussant. The first presentation will cover the current landscape of equity measurement within global data sources, considering which dimensions of equity are commonly measured, whether they measured consistently, and how they are being used to better understand the nature of educational inequality in different contexts. The second presentation will address these topics with regards to measurement practices used in education monitoring, evaluation, and research by development organizations. The third presentation will discuss the results of a review of the relationship of conflict, fragility, and inequality that highlights the consequences of inequalities in fragile contexts and illuminates current practices for measuring and addressing inequalities in such settings. Finally, the fourth presentation will offer recommendations for more and better equity measurement in development programming going forward, including streamlining definitions, improving data comparability, and addressing gaps in the key dimensions of education equity.


  • UN. (2016). Sustainable development goals. Retrieved from