The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to education. Countries have been forced to find ways to adapt to these educational disruptions (such as school closures), by providing remote learning for students, adapting curriculum and assessments, and supporting the health and wellbeing of students, teachers and families.

The COVID-19 MILO (Monitoring Impacts on Learning Outcomes) study was designed to provide information on the impact of the pandemic on learning outcomes in six countries in Africa – Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia. As these countries work towards the goal of meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.1.1b (children at the end of primary school achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics), it is essential that progress towards this goal continues to be monitored. The MILO project was implemented to provide a way for countries to measure learning progress against SDG 4.1.1b prior to, during and after the pandemic.

Among the constraints countries face to assess learning is access to high quality calibrated items that target SDG indicator 4.1.1 and align with the Global Proficiency Framework. The ultimate goal of the MILO study, therefore, is to develop the capacity and the culture of monitoring at the country level in a cost-effective way by making available materials that can be considered as public goods. Supporting this overarching goal, the report and study has four key areas of focus:

  •     Evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on learning outcomes by reporting against SDG Indicator 4.1.1b
  •     Identify the impact of different distance learning mechanisms put in place to offset the learning disruption generated by COVID-19 
  •     Develop more affordable assessment tools as global public goods
  •     Contribute to the UIS Global Item Bank

The COVID-19 MILO project is a UNESCO UIS project, funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) was the technical partner for this project and is the author of this report.  The Conférence des Ministres de l’Éducation des États et Gouvernements de la Francophonie (CONFEMEN) provided technical support. ACER and CONFEMEN added items to the UIS’s bank, expanding the pool of tools available to countries and supporting their implementation.

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