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CIES 2017: Problematizing the use of program learning data to investigate equity (group panel)

  • Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 6 (South Tower) 165 Courtland Street Northeast Atlanta, GA, 30303 United States (map)

Chair: Eric Eversmann, Save the Children


  • Equity implications from program impact evaluations: Evidence from the Haiti Ann ALE program, Wael Moussa, Carina Omoeva, Charles Gale, FHI 360
  • Every last child: Can we use data to target reading interventions more effectively? Clara Pava, Amy Jo Dowd, Save the Children
  • Intentional Programming: Are we reaching the most vulnerable? Lisa Sorensen, World Vision International
  • Measuring variations in children’s socio-emotional wellbeing to improve equity in learning outcomes: Results from the 3EA initiative in Diffa, Niger, Autumn Brown, IRC


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education and the Incheon declaration that no goal is met unless it is met by all have spurred a renewed focus on quantifying and investigating educational equity. International researchers are asking whether and how various dimensions of equity are being measured appropriately in order to meaningfully report on where gaps exist and whether progress is being made toward the goals set for 2030. 

The Education Equity Research Initiative, launched in 2015, is a forum for researchers and education practitioners to review existing evidence and gaps in both data and analysis. Its landscape review and recommendations for collaborative practice on equity have identified key structured questions for analysis moving forward. These include: 

  1. Are lowest performing students substantively different from the higher performing students by gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity/race, language, home learning environment, geographic location, disability status? 
  2. What is the student composition, along gender, socioeconomic, ethnic, home learning environment and other student subgroups, among low performing schools? 
  3. What is the magnitude of between-school and within-school disparities? 
  4. Is the effect of the program homogeneous or heterogeneous across the different student subgroups?

The papers in this panel use learning data and measures of dimensions of equity – including poverty, gender, language and home learning environment – to quantitatively investigate literacy intervention impact through an equity lens. First, FHI360 will look at baseline results from Haiti to highlight variability of group and school scores as well as resources. Next, Save the Children will explore between and within school variation of achievement and its meaning for program targeting. Then, World Vision will consider whether Literacy Boost impact is heterogeneous or homogeneous and the implications of equity findings for programs. Finally, IRC will present baseline data from their Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action (3EA) research program in Niger to explore variations among children in terms of their socio-emotional well-being, specifically their levels of toxic stress and executive functioning

This panel represents the first collaborative analysis across implementing partners answering the structured questions agreed by practitioners in the Education Equity Research Initiative. It offers a cross-agency view of action to improve the ways that we identify and analyze data to address inequity.