Module A3: Education Indicators and Data Analysis

8. Data analysis using education indicators

8.1 Purpose of data analysis

Analysis is the detailed examination of the elements or structure of an object or a process, in order to identify patterns, trends, issues, causes, key factors and possible consequences. Data analysis for monitoring EFA is carried out using available data, indicators and other relevant information.

This part of Module A3 focuses on data analysis using education indicators to monitor, evaluate and assess progress towards the EFA goals. Table 4 below shows how indicators can support various monitoring, evaluation and assessment functions. essentially:

  • Monitoring can take place regularly during policy implementation to check progress and to identify issues and lessons to adjust the implementation processes;
  • Evaluation is carried out after the completion of specific stages of implementation, to reflect on what has and has not been accomplished, and the factors and constraints
  • Assessment occurs when we review the outcomes and impacts of curriculum design and various teaching/learning processes and materials.

Indicators of inputs, process, output and outcomes are frequently used to monitor progress in eFA. The type of education indicators that can be applied and analysed are outlined in the bottom row of Table 4.

All stakeholders who support education, including school managers, teachers, school management board members and education officers at different levels of the education administration, must know about and be involved in monitoring, evaluation and assessment, and about how best to use indicators in these functions.

8.2 Procedures for data analysis

According to the EFA Technical Guidelines, the basic steps for monitoring EFA are as follows:

  1. Assess progress and gaps in the achievement of the national and global targets of EFA.
  2. Identify and locate the remaining gaps in terms of access, quality and equity at the sub-national level, with a focus on the disadvantaged and underserved populations.
  3. Review, identify and locate problems, issues, policies, strategies, actions and success stories.
  4. Use the results of the assessment to formulate better policies and strategies for achieving the EFA goals and the MDGs by 2015.

Each of these steps requires the analysis and use of EFA indicators. in essence, the EFA and additional education indicators for schools, classes, students, teachers, resource inputs and educational processes which are presented in Sections 5.2 to 6.1, can be analysed according to their:

  • characteristics, distribution and patterns
  • differences, disparities and imbalances
  • changes over time
  • progress and shortfalls against targets and plans

Such analysis can help to identify issues, causes and actions to address them. data analysis for monitoring EFA must, therefore, cover both the spatial and temporal dimensions in that:

  • Spatial refers to geographical sub-divisions such as provinces, districts and local areas, whilst differentiating between urban and rural zones and remote areas.
  • Temporal refers to changes over time.

Very often, monitoring of EFA from year to year requires that EFA indicators be calculated and analysed to combine both the spatial and temporal dimensions. in order to locate the ‘unreached’ popula- tion and understand their characteristics and needs, disaggregated EFA indicators are analysed not only by province and by district, but also by local areas, schools and households. The next section discusses how best to disaggregate EFA indicators.

Activity 10

Review your own criteria and practices in selecting and using education indicators, and discuss with other colleagues and stakeholders in your school, district, province or country about what they know and do. Then, answer the following questions:

  1. What kind of methods and practices have been in use among you and your colleagues in analysing data and indicators on education?
  2. What do you think are the pros and cons of different approaches, methods and practices, compared to what has been discussed in this section?
  3. How best should one go about analysing data and indicators in monitoring, evaluating and assessing achievement of EFA goals?

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