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Data Must Speak

Positive Deviance Research
Data Must Speak

Despite the global learning crisis, even in the most difficult contexts, there are some  “positive deviant” schools that outperform others in terms of learning, gender equality, and retention. Since 2019, in line with UNICEF's Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Programme, Data Must Speak (DMS) identifies these positive deviant schools, explores which behaviours and practices make them outperform others, and investigates how these could be implemented in lower performing schools in similar contexts. DMS uses a sequential, participatory, mixed-methods approach to improve uptake, replicability, and sustainability. The research is being undertaken in 14 countries across three continents.

 

 

Explore the countries:

 

 

 

In addition to its research component, Data Must Speak also includes a technical assistance component.

More information on the technical assistance component here.

Publications

ບົົດຄັັດຫຍໍ້ດ້້ າ້ ນນະໂຍບາຍ 2 ຜູ້ອໍາານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ ມີີ ປະສິິດທິິພາບສູູງ: ພວກເຂົາົ ມີີຄຸ ນຸ ລັກັ ສະນະ ແລະ ປະສົົບການ ທີ່່ດີີຄືື ແນວໃດ?
Publication

ບົົດຄັັດຫຍໍ້ດ້້ າ້ ນນະໂຍບາຍ 2 ຜູ້ອໍາານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ ມີີ ປະສິິດທິິພາບສູູງ: ພວກເຂົາົ ມີີຄຸ ນຸ ລັກັ ສະນະ ແລະ ປະສົົບການ ທີ່່ດີີຄືື ແນວໃດ?

ໃນຂະນະທີ່ລັດຖະບານແຫ່ງ ສປປ ລາວ, ໂດຍຜ່ານກະຊວງສຶກສາທິການ ແລະ ກິລາ ແລະ ຄູ່ຮ່ວມພັດທະນາໄດ້ມີຄວາມຄືບໜ້າຢ່າງບໍ່ຢຸດຢັ້ງໃນການຂະຫຍາຍການເຂົ້າເຖິງການສຶກສາທີ່ມີຄຸນນະພາບ, ແຕ່ກໍ່ຍັງມີເດັກນ້ອຍຈຳນວນຫຼາຍທີ່ຍັງອອກໂຮງຮຽນຊັ້ນປະຖົມສຶກສາ ໂດຍທີ່ຍັງບໍ່ສາມາດ ອ່ານ ແລະ ຂຽນໄດ້ ຕາມເກນອາຍຸຂອງເຂົາເຈົ້າ. ແຕ່ໃນສະພາບວິກິດທາງດ້ານການຮຽນແບບນີ້, ກໍຍັງມີໂຮງຮຽນຈຳນວນໜຶ່ງທີ່ປະຕິບັດໄດ້ດີ ແລະ ຜົນເດັນຫຼາຍກວ່າໂຮງຮຽນອື່ນທີ່ມີທີ່ຕັ້ງ ແລະ ສະພາບທີ່ຄ້າຍຄືກັນ ແລະ ມີຊັບພະຍາກອນເທົ່າໆກັນ. ຂໍ້ມູນທີ່ໄດ້ຕ້ອງບອກເຖິງຄວາມຈິງ (DMS) ການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາກ່ຽວກັບໂຮງຮຽນພັດທະນາ ເປັນວິທີການແບບປະສົມປະສານ ແລະ ມີຫຼາຍຂັ້ນຕອນຢ່າງລະອຽດ, ທີ່ໄດ້ມີການຮ່ວມມືກັນ ໃນການພັດທະນາ ແລະ ຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດ ຮ່ວມກັບ ກະຊວງສຶກສາທິການ ແລະ ກິລາ ແຫ່ງ ສປປ ລາວ. ຈຸດປະສົງແມ່ນເພື່ອສ້າງເປັນຄວາມຮູ້ກ່ຽວກັບລັກສະນະສະເພາະຂອງ ໂຮງຮຽນພັດທະນາ ຫຼື ໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ມີປະສິດທິພາບສູງ ໃນການປະຕິບັດຕົວຈິງທີ່ດີ ແລະ ມີຜົນສຳເລັດ. ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາຍັງເປັນການຊີ້ໃຫ້ເຫັນ ແລະ ເພື່ອຜັນຂະຫຍາຍ ບົດຮຽນໃນພາກປະຕິບັດຕົວຈິງກ່ຽວກັບ 'ສິ່ງທີ່ສາມາດເຮັດໄດ້' ແລະ ວິທີການແກ້ໄຂຂັ້ນຮາກຖານ ສຳລັບຂະແໜງການສຶກສາ ທີ່ເປັນບ່ອນອີງໃຫ້ແກ່ຂັ້ນເທີງ ເພື່ອກຳນົດນະໂຍບາຍ ແລະ ການສະໜັບສະໜູນຈາກອົງການຈັດຕັ້ງສາກົນ ຢ່າງກວ້າງຂວາງ. ບົດຄັດຫຍໍ້ດ້ານນະໂຍບາຍສະບັບນີ້ - ໄດ້ເນັ້ນໃສ່ຜູ້ອໍານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ມີປະສິດທິພາບສູງ - ເປັນສ່ວນໜຶ່ງໃນຂະບວນການຄົ້ນຄ້ວາດ້ານປະລິມານພາຍໃຕ້ຂອບຂອງໂຄງການກ່ຽວກັບຂໍ້ມູນທີ່ໄດ້ຕ້ອງບອກເຖິງຄວາມຈິງ (DMS) ທີ່ໄດ້ນໍາສະເໜີ ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄວ້ານີ້ ໃນ ສປປ ລາວ. ສຳຄັນໄປກວ່ານັ້ນ, ຜົນການຄົ້ນຄວ້າ ຍັງເປັນຂໍ້ມູນໃຫ້ແກ່ການສົນທະນາດ້ານນະໂຍບາຍ ແລະ ການຕັດສິນໃຈ ຂອງ ສປປ ລາວ ແລະ ບັນດາປະເທດອື່ນໆທີ່ມີຄວາມສົນໃຈ.
Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning
Publication

Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning

While the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Education and Sports and its development partners, has made steady progress in expanding access to quality education, many children still leave primary school with difficulties in reading and writing for their age. Despite this, there are ‘positive deviant’ schools that outperform other schools located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research is a multi-staged mixed-method approach, co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of high performing schools. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. This policy brief – focused on teachers’ capacity – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the DMS research quantitative stage in Lao PDR. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Lao PDR and other interested countries.
School Principals in Highly Effective Schools – Who are they and which good practices do they adopt?
Publication

School Principals in Highly Effective Schools – Who are they and which good practices do they adopt?

While the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Education and Sports and its development partners, has made steady progress in expanding access to quality education, many children still leave primary school with difficulties in reading and writing for their age. Despite this, there are ‘positive deviant’ schools that outperform other schools located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research is a multi-staged mixed-method approach, co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of high performing schools. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. This policy brief – focused on school principals in highly effective schools – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the DMS research quantitative stage in Lao PDR. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Lao PDR and other interested countries.

News & Commentary

New research programme reveals how positive deviance in schools can improve education for all
Article

New research programme reveals how positive deviance in schools can improve education for all

26 January 2022,  Florence/Zurich — Why do some schools do better than others despite operating under similar – sometimes very difficult – conditions? How can others benefit from their local innovations? To answer these questions, UNICEF has established the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research programme, which is currently active in 13 countries. With 9 out of 10 children in low-income countries unable to read by age 10, the DMS Positive Deviance research identifies promising existing grassroot solutions to education challenges and works hand-in-hand with local partners to scale these solutions and improve learning for every child. The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein national committee, and the Jacobs Foundation are pleased to announce a new partnership to expand the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research into an additional three countries across Africa and Latin America: Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana. The partnership aims to strengthen cross-country analysis and uptake of local solutions. “Empowering our partners in-country to identify local positive deviance schools in an evidence-based manner, replicate and share them with peers is a truly new way of addressing the learning crisis through global education initiatives,” said Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools, Jacobs Foundation. The Data Must Speak research sheds light on untapped existing practices and behaviors of grassroot-level stakeholders such as teachers, head-teachers, and communities who are important change-agents in education. Leveraging UNICEF’s cross-country presence, the most promising solutions and effective approaches to adapting and scaling them can be shared and implemented across borders.  “Co-creating the Data Must Speak research with Ministries of Education and other relevant in-country stakeholders from the onset is crucial so that findings are used for improving learning outcomes for the most vulnerable children,” said Renaud Comba, Data Must Speak Research Manager at UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. The Data Must Speak research leverages the positive deviance framework in conjunction with innovative research methodologies such as behavioural insights, implementation research, and scaling science to provide evidence-based answers, for every child. First reports with relevant findings will be published mid-year 2022 on the Data Must Speak research project webpage. About the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti The Office of Research – Innocenti is UNICEF’s dedicated research centre. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on child rights and development, and inform the global research and policy agenda for all children, and particularly for the most vulnerable. Visit www.unicef-irc.org. About UNICEF UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. The National Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein serves as the public face and dedicated voice of UNICEF in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. For more information, visit www.unicef.ch. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook @unicefinnocenti. About the Jacobs Foundation  Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the Jacobs Foundation is one of the world’s leading foundations in the field of child and youth development. Established by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs and his family in 1989, the Foundation’s current endowment is valued at approximately CHF 7 billion. As an internationally active organization, the Jacobs Foundation commits an average annual budget of CHF 55 million to support research and programs in the fields of learning and education, visitwww.jacobsfoundation.org.  For further information please contact:   UNICEF Office of Research – InnocentiKathleen Sullivan, Chief of Communication, a.i.kcsullivan@unicef.orgTel. +39 05 52 03 32 22 Jacobs FoundationAlexandra Guentzer, Chief Communications Officeralexandra.guentzer@jacobsfoundation.orgTel. + 41 (0) 79 821 74 29     
Tanzania's Ministries of Education, Schools2030 and UNICEF's Data Must Speak research join forces to improve education in the country
Article

Tanzania's Ministries of Education, Schools2030 and UNICEF's Data Must Speak research join forces to improve education in the country

12 May 22, Florence/London – UNICEF’s Data Must Speak Positive Deviance* Research is expanding into Tanzania. The research, which is now active in 14 countries, aims to improve education around the world by identifying best practices from schools that are doing well.The Data Must Speak (DMS) Research identifies these ‘positive-deviant’ schools and explores why they perform better than others despite operating under similar conditions. Using a mixed-methods approach, positive deviant schools will be analysed to identify exceptional behaviours and practices. By working hand-in-hand with Tanzanian Ministries of Education (MoEVT and MoEST ) and local partners, promising grassroot education innovations can then be scaled to improve learning for every child.Some Tanzanian schools involved in the DMS research will also be taking part in the Schools2030 project – a global initiative led by the Aga Khan Foundation which seeks to catalyse school-driven holistic learning innovations to improve quality teaching and learning across ten countries and 1000 schools. By identifying positive school-level trends and the factors that contribute to some schools outperforming others, the DMS Research will gather evidence that in the long term, will help efforts to scale positive trends to impact education systems and learners worldwide.The data gathered through this research, which is funded by the Jacobs Foundation as part of Schools2030’s research workstream, will then be used to produce accessible and actionable recommendations on how to scale these local solutions to ensure that children’s learning outcomes can be improved nationwide and in the entire global learning community. Specifically, results from this research will support the mission of Tanzania’s Ministries of Education to strengthen the country’s public education systems. Key insights are expected to be incorporated within Tanzania’s ongoing Education Development Plan, and findings from future stages of the research will continue to feed into government education sector planning.“Schools2030 and Data Must Speak share a core belief that teachers are the most important change-agents in education systems. This research partnership will allow us to identify and amplify examples of “what works” by teachers for teachers, to improving learning outcomes and equity,” said Dr Bronwen Magrath, Schools2030 Global Programme Manager.“Partnerships are essential in our goal to inform systems-change and drive action towards greater educational achievement. This new partnership is hugely welcomed, and we look forward to exploring the insights that high-performing Tanzanian schools can offer our global research,” said Renaud Comba, Data Must Speak Research Manager at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.Preliminary findings on contextual factors that contribute to school performance will be published by mid-2023 on the DMS research webpage.The research will form part of broader discussions about how best to promote cooperation and dialogue between schools, systems and societies to improve holistic learning outcomes that will be taking place at the inaugural Schools2030 Global Forum in June 2022 in Dar es Salaam.Notes to editors*Positive deviance research works through identifying individuals or organisations that are performing better than their peers, despite being subject to similar constraints or challenges.*The DMS research is currently operating in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.About the UNICEF Office of Research – InnocentiThe Office of Research – Innocenti is UNICEF’s dedicated research centre. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on child rights and development, and inform the global research and policy agenda for all children, and particularly for the most vulnerable. Visit www.unicef-irc.org and follow UNICEF Innocenti on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.About UNICEF UKUNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters. United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland). For more information visit unicef.org.uk.About Schools2030Schools2030 is a ten-year participatory learning improvement programme based in 1,000 government schools across ten countries. Schools2030 supports teachers and students to design and implement education micro-innovations. These low-cost and scaleable innovations will inform and transform education systems to improve holistic learning outcomes for the most marginalised learners worldwide. Join the movement on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.About the Aga Khan FoundationEstablished in 1967, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) brings together human, financial and technical resources to address the challenges faced by the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world. Special emphasis is placed on investing in human potential, expanding opportunity and improving the overall quality of life. The Aga Khan Foundation is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.For further information please contact:UNICEF Office of Research – InnocentiKathleen Sullivan, Chief of Communication, a.i.kcsullivan@unicef.orgTel. +39 05 52 03 32 22Schools2030Sarah James, Global Communications ManagerSarah.james@akdn.orgTel. +44 207 387 3862; +44 738 489 2599UNICEF UKChloe Cole, Media & Communications Manager, Partnershipscolec@unicef.org.ukTel. +44 77 33 005 338   

Events

Strengthening and Promoting Education Data Systems and Utilization in Africa: Lessons from the Data Must Speak Global Initiative
Event

Strengthening and Promoting Education Data Systems and Utilization in Africa: Lessons from the Data Must Speak Global Initiative

With reliable data, policymakers, school managers, teachers, and communities can identify problems, pose solutions, and direct resources where they are most needed. As part of the Africa Evidence Week 2021, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti is organizing a live webinar to share and discuss how UNICEF’s implementation of the Data Must Speak global initiative has supported countries in Africa strengthen the use of data and research for education management and decision-making. It will draw on panelists from Ministries of Education from Namibia and Togo, as well as UNICEF and its office of research. 
Strengthening Data Systems and Utilization in the Education Sector
Event

Strengthening Data Systems and Utilization in the Education Sector

How can research play a vital role in ensuring strengthening of Education data systems and utilization for more data-informed decision-making?