Swaziland Develops Tests for Citizen-Led Assessment

In the month of August 2018, PAL Network had another country start the journey of conducting Citizen-Led Assessments (CLA). This comes with hope of reaching more children across the Global South. Since the inception of CLA approach in 2005 by ASER Centre, 15 countries across three continents have developed CLA tests with Swaziland as the newest country to test the approach.

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In the month of August 2018, PAL Network had another country start the journey of conducting Citizen-Led Assessments (CLA). This comes with hope of reaching more children across the Global South. Since the inception of CLA approach in 2005 by ASER Centre, 15 countries across three continents have developed CLA tests with Swaziland as the newest country to test the approach.

With a population of 1.4 million, Swaziland’s literacy rate for those aged 15-65 years stands at 83.1%, according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) 2015 report. However, the enrollment rates for primary school going children are low. According to the Ministry of Education data, 16% of primary school going children and 74% of those in junior secondary school are out of school. Fundamentally, the high numbers of children out of school calls for a household-based assessment to capture their learning levels.

Swaziland first interacted with PAL Network through participating in an exposure visit held in Uganda in June 2017. After learning from Uwezo Uganda, Swaziland through Swaziland Network Campaign for Education for All (SWANCEFA), has formally taken steps to adapt the CLA approach. The first step was to develop assessment tools, specifically the tests. It is encouraging to note that the team has forged ahead despite financial constraints. The test development workshop was a starting point to have tools that will be pretested and finalized while waiting for assessment funds.

The workshop participants were eager to learn about CLAs and its implementation in other countries. Participants were drawn from various institutions including the Ministry of Education, National Curriculum Development Institute, National Bureau of Statistics, the Examinations Council, Universities, practicing teachers, PAL Network and the host institution, SWANCEFA.

The three-day workshop was fruitful, with participants learning more about CLAs, developing frameworks in each subject to guide in the test development process and making test items based on agreed frameworks. The exercise mainly underscored that having a practical experience with the tests is key in determining their quality as this is a new way of assessing children’s competencies in literacy and numeracy. What is remaining for the team is to pretest the developed items to refine and conclude the test development process.

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