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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) research 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 research uses a sequential, participatory, mixed-methods approach to improve uptake, replicability, and sustainability. The research is being undertaken in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 Stages of Data Must Speak Research

 

How Research on Positive Deviance Boosts Learning

 

 

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

technical assistance component.

Publications

Data Must Speak: Des écoles qui inspirent le changement : recherche sur les écoles modèles positives au Mali
Publication

Data Must Speak: Des écoles qui inspirent le changement : recherche sur les écoles modèles positives au Mali

Que pouvons-nous apprendre des comportements et des pratiques des écoles modèles positives au Mali ? Ce rapport présente des résultats importants issus de données qualitatives sur les comportements et les pratiques des acteurs de l'éducation dans les écoles modèles positives au Mali visant à améliorer les apprentissages des élèves. Data Must Speak - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS sur les approches modèles positives est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche sur les modèles positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions concrètes pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, République démocratique populaire lao, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie.
Data Must Speak: The importance of school inputs to improving learning
Publication

Data Must Speak: The importance of school inputs to improving learning

To address the challenges facing its education system, Côte d’Ivoire needs to go beyond a traditional sector analysis and analyse existing data in greater depth to find innovative solutions. To do so, Côte d’Ivoire has requested UNICEF’s support, as part of the global Data Must Speak initiative, to identify positive deviant practices and behaviours. This policy brief – about the importance of school inputs to improving learning – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the quantitative stage of the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research in Côte d’Ivoire. By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Côte d’Ivoire, this series highlights specific resources and contextual factors associated with good school performances in Côte d’Ivoire. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Côte d’Ivoire and other interested countries. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Trends in the CEPE pass rates
Publication

Data Must Speak: Trends in the CEPE pass rates

To address the challenges facing its education system, Côte d’Ivoire needs to go beyond a traditional sector analysis and analyse existing data in greater depth to find innovative solutions. To do so, Côte d’Ivoire has requested UNICEF’s support, as part of the global Data Must Speak initiative, to identify positive deviant practices and behaviours. This policy brief – about the trends in the CEPE pass rates – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the quantitative stage of the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research in Côte d’Ivoire. By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Côte d’Ivoire, this series highlights specific resources and contextual factors associated with good school performances in Côte d’Ivoire. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Côte d’Ivoire and other interested countries. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Moving towards a culture of assessment for learning in Lao schools
Publication

Data Must Speak: Moving towards a culture of assessment for learning in Lao schools

While the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 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: Determining the Best Resources for the Togolese Education System
Publication

Data Must Speak: Determining the Best Resources for the Togolese Education System

The Togolese government, through the education sector plan (ESP) 2014-2025, aims to achieve universal quality primary education. With this goal, they recognize the challenges in education access, participation and retention. School performances is among the areas by which they are understanding and addressing these challenges. This policy brief – focused on the resources that could help in improving the Togolese education system – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the quantitative stage of the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research in Togo. By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Togo, this series highlights specific resources and contextual factors associated with good school performances in Togo. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Togo and other interested countries. DMS – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. DMS research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Giving All Girls a Chance for Promotion and Success
Publication

Data Must Speak: Giving All Girls a Chance for Promotion and Success

Data Must Speak: Investing in the Teaching Profession
Publication

Data Must Speak: Investing in the Teaching Profession

Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Togo
Publication

Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Togo

The Togolese government, through the education sector plan (ESP) 2014-2025, aims to achieve universal quality primary education. With this goal, they recognize the challenges in education access, participation and retention. School performances is among the areas by which they are understanding and addressing these challenges. What resources and contextual factors are associated with good school performances in Togo? By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Togo, this report helps to identify positive deviant schools – those that outperform other schools despite sharing similar contexts and resources. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Comprendre les facteurs de performance des écoles ivoiriennes
Publication

Data Must Speak: Comprendre les facteurs de performance des écoles ivoiriennes

Pour faire face aux défis auxquels son système éducatif est confronté, la Côte d’Ivoire a décidé, au-delà d’une analyse sectorielle classique, d’approfondir l’analyse des données existantes afin de trouver des solutions innovantes. Pour y parvenir, la Côte d’Ivoire a sollicité l’appui de l’UNICEF, dans le cadre de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS), afin d’identifier des pratiques et des comportements modèles positifs. Quelles ressources et quels facteurs contextuels sont associés à de bonnes performances scolaires en Côte d’Ivoire ? En fusionnant et en analysant les bases de données administratives existantes en Côte d’Ivoire, ce rapport permet d'identifier les écoles modèles positives - celles qui obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les autres écoles bien qu'elles partagent des contextes et des ressources similaires.  La recherche DMS sur les modèles positive est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche modèle positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions locales pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale travaillant dans le secteur de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie. 
Data Must Speak: Les effets liés à la présence de directrices d’école et d’enseignantes sur l’éducation des garçons et des filles
Publication

Data Must Speak: Les effets liés à la présence de directrices d’école et d’enseignantes sur l’éducation des garçons et des filles

Pour faire face aux défis auxquels son système éducatif est confronté, la Côte d’Ivoire a décidé, au-delà d’une analyse sectorielle classique, d’approfondir l’analyse des données existantes afin de trouver des solutions innovantes. Pour y parvenir, la Côte d’Ivoire a sollicité l’appui de l’UNICEF, dans le cadre de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS), afin d’identifier des pratiques et des comportements modèles positifs. Cette note thématique - sur les effets liés à la présence de directrices d’école et d’enseignantes sur l’éducation des garçons et des filles - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS) en Côte d’Ivoire. En fusionnant et en analysant les bases de données administratives existantes en Côte d’Ivoire, ce rapport permet d'identifier les écoles modèles positives - celles qui obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les autres écoles bien qu'elles partagent des contextes et des ressources similaires. La recherche DMS sur les modèles positive est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche modèle positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions locales pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale travaillant dans le secteur de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie. 
Data Must Speak: Les performances scolaires des filles dans l’enseignement fondamental
Publication

Data Must Speak: Les performances scolaires des filles dans l’enseignement fondamental

Malgré les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre d’une éducation de qualité au Mali, il reste certains défis. Cette note thématique - sur les performances scolaires des filles dans l’enseignement fondamental - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS) au Mali. En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Mali, cette série met en évidence les ressources spécifiques et les facteurs contextuels associés aux bonnes performances scolaires dans le pays. Plus important encore, elle vise à informer le dialogue politique et la prise de décision au Mali et dans d'autres pays intéressés.  DMS - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'éducation et les principaux partenaires. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie. 
Data Must Speak: L’importance des intrants scolaires pour améliorer les apprentissages
Publication

Data Must Speak: L’importance des intrants scolaires pour améliorer les apprentissages

Pour faire face aux défis auxquels son système éducatif est confronté, la Côte d’Ivoire a décidé, au-delà d’une analyse sectorielle classique, d’approfondir l’analyse des données existantes afin de trouver des solutions innovantes. Pour y parvenir, la Côte d’Ivoire a sollicité l’appui de l’UNICEF, dans le cadre de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS), afin d’identifier des pratiques et des comportements modèles positifs. Cette note thématique - sur l’importance des intrants scolaires pour améliorer les apprentissages - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS) en Côte d’Ivoire. En fusionnant et en analysant les bases de données administratives existantes en Côte d’Ivoire, ce rapport permet d'identifier les écoles modèles positives - celles qui obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les autres écoles bien qu'elles partagent des contextes et des ressources similaires. La recherche DMS sur les modèles positive est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche modèle positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions locales pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale travaillant dans le secteur de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie.
Data Must Speak: Performances scolaires et enseignement dans le cycle fondamental
Publication

Data Must Speak: Performances scolaires et enseignement dans le cycle fondamental

Malgré les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre d’une éducation de qualité au Mali, il reste certains défis. Cette note thématique – sur les performances scolaires et l’enseignement dans le cycle fondamental - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS) au Mali. En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Mali, cette série met en évidence les ressources spécifiques et les facteurs contextuels associés aux bonnes performances scolaires dans le pays. Plus important encore, elle vise à informer le dialogue politique et la prise de décision au Mali et dans d'autres pays intéressés.  DMS - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'éducation et les principaux partenaires. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie.
Data Must Speak: Tendances des taux de réussite au CEPE
Publication

Data Must Speak: Tendances des taux de réussite au CEPE

Pour faire face aux défis auxquels son système éducatif est confronté, la Côte d’Ivoire a décidé, au-delà d’une analyse sectorielle classique, d’approfondir l’analyse des données existantes afin de trouver des solutions innovantes. Pour y parvenir, la Côte d’Ivoire a sollicité l’appui de l’UNICEF, dans le cadre de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS), afin d’identifier des pratiques et des comportements modèles positifs. Cette note thématique - sur les tendances des taux de réussite au CEPE - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche Data Must Speak (DMS) en Côte d’Ivoire. En fusionnant et en analysant les bases de données administratives existantes en Côte d’Ivoire, ce rapport permet d'identifier les écoles modèles positives - celles qui obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les autres écoles bien qu'elles partagent des contextes et des ressources similaires. La recherche DMS sur les modèles positive est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche modèle positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions locales pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale travaillant dans le secteur de l'éducation. La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République démocratique populaire lao, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Tchad, Togo et Zambie.
Data Must Speak: Exam Performance Over Time
Publication

Data Must Speak: Exam Performance Over Time

The Ministry of Education of Ghana (MoE) has developed the Education Sector Plan 2018–2030 (ESP) that establishes the vision for achieving equitable access to quality education and effectively managing education service delivery. Beyond traditional sector analysis, the MoE of Ghana is invested in deepening its use of existing data to enhance education quality. This policy brief – about teacher and head teacher characteristics and exam performance– is part of a series that presents key research findings of the quantitative stage of the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research in Ghana. By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Madagascar, this series highlights specific resources and contextual factors associated with good school performances in Ghana. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Ghana and other interested countries.  DMS – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. DMS research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.  DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. 
Data Must Speak: Teacher and Head Teacher Characteristics and Exam Performance
Publication

Data Must Speak: Teacher and Head Teacher Characteristics and Exam Performance

The Ministry of Education of Ghana (MoE) has developed the Education Sector Plan 2018–2030 (ESP) that establishes the vision for achieving equitable access to quality education and effectively managing education service delivery. Beyond traditional sector analysis, the MoE of Ghana is invested in deepening its use of existing data to enhance education quality. This policy brief – about students’ exam performance over time– is part of a series that presents key research findings of the quantitative stage of the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research in Ghana. By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Madagascar, this series highlights specific resources and contextual factors associated with good school performances in Ghana. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Ghana and other interested countries.  DMS – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. DMS research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.  DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. 
Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Ghana
Publication

Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Ghana

The Ministry of Education of Ghana (MoE) has developed the Education Sector Plan 2018–2030 (ESP) that establishes the vision for achieving equitable access to quality education and effectively managing education service delivery. Beyond traditional sector analysis, the MoE of Ghana is invested in deepening its use of existing data to enhance education quality. What resources and contextual factors are associated with school performance in Ghana? By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Ghana, this report helps to identify positive deviant schools – those that outperform other schools despite sharing similar contexts and resources. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Zambia
Publication

Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Zambia

Recognizing that children’s learning outcomes generally remain low, in its recent 2017–2021 Education and Skills Sector Plan (ESSP) the Government of Zambia prioritized improving learning outcomes through strategies that addressed gaps in education system quality, access, equity and efficiency. What resources and contextual factors are associated with school performance in Zambia? By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Zambia, this report helps to identify positive deviant schools – those that outperform other schools despite sharing similar contexts and resources. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
Data Must Speak: Comprendre les facteurs de performance des écoles malgaches
Publication

Data Must Speak: Comprendre les facteurs de performance des écoles malgaches

L’amélioration de l’accès de tous les enfants en âge d’être scolarisés à une éducation de qualité est l’une des priorités du Gouvernement de Madagascar. Le Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2022 définit des objectifs ambitieux dans ce sens, mais d’importants défis restent à relever pour améliorer l’apprentissage et la rétention scolaires.   Quelles ressources et quels facteurs contextuels sont associés à de bonnes performances scolaires au Madagascar ? En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Madagascar, ce rapport permet d'identifier les écoles déviantes positives - celles qui obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que les autres écoles bien qu'elles partagent des contextes et des ressources similaires.    Data Must Speak - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS sur la déviance positive est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'Éducation et des partenaires clés. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation.     La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, République démocratique populaire lao, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Togo et Zambie. 
Data Must Speak: Le profil des directeurs et des enseignants  dans les écoles primaires publiques
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Data Must Speak: Le profil des directeurs et des enseignants dans les écoles primaires publiques

L’amélioration de l’accès de tous les enfants en âge d’être scolarisés à une éducation de qualité est l’une des priorités du Gouvernement de Madagascar. Le Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2022 définit des objectifs ambitieux dans ce sens, mais d’importants défis restent à relever pour améliorer l’apprentissage et la rétention scolaires.   Cette note de politique générale - sur le profil des directeurs et des enseignants dans les écoles publiques - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche sur la déviance positive de Data Must Speak (DMS) au Madagascar. En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Madagascar, cette série met en évidence les ressources spécifiques et les facteurs contextuels associés aux bonnes performances scolaires au Madagascar. Plus important encore, elle vise à informer le dialogue politique et la prise de décision au Madagascar et dans d'autres pays intéressés.  DMS - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'éducation et les principaux partenaires. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation.  La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, République démocratique populaire lao, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Togo et Zambie. 
Data Must Speak: Les performances scolaires des filles à l’école primaire
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Data Must Speak: Les performances scolaires des filles à l’école primaire

L’amélioration de l’accès de tous les enfants en âge d’être scolarisés à une éducation de qualité est l’une des priorités du Gouvernement de Madagascar. Le Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2022 définit des objectifs ambitieux dans ce sens, mais d’importants défis restent à relever pour améliorer l’apprentissage et la rétention scolaires. Cette note de politique générale - sur les performances scolaires des filles à l'école primaire - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche sur la déviance positive menée par Data Must Speak (DMS) au Madagascar. En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Madagascar, cette série met en évidence les ressources spécifiques et les facteurs contextuels associés aux bonnes performances scolaires au Madagascar. Plus important encore, elle vise à informer le dialogue politique et la prise de décision au Madagascar et dans d'autres pays intéressés.   DMS - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'éducation et les principaux partenaires. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation. 
Data Must Speak: L’importance de l’infrastructure dans les écoles primaires publiques
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Data Must Speak: L’importance de l’infrastructure dans les écoles primaires publiques

 L’amélioration de l’accès de tous les enfants en âge d’être scolarisés à une éducation de qualité est l’une des priorités du Gouvernement de Madagascar. Le Plan sectoriel de l’éducation 2018-2022 définit des objectifs ambitieux dans ce sens, mais d’importants défis restent à relever pour améliorer l’apprentissage et la rétention scolaires. Cette note de politique générale - sur les ressources et infrastructures spécifiques qui pourraient améliorer le système éducatif malgache - fait partie d'une série qui présente les principaux résultats de la phase quantitative de la recherche sur la déviance positive menée au Madagascar dans le cadre du projet Data Must Speak (DMS). En fusionnant et en analysant les ensembles de données administratives existants au Madagascar, cette série met en évidence les ressources spécifiques et les facteurs contextuels associés aux bonnes performances scolaires au Madagascar. Plus important encore, elle vise à informer le dialogue politique et la prise de décision au Madagascar et dans d'autres pays intéressés.  DMS - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. La recherche DMS est cocréée et mise en œuvre conjointement avec les ministères de l'éducation et les principaux partenaires. La recherche DMS s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes et des approches innovantes (c'est-à-dire l'approche de la déviance positive, les sciences du comportement, la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et la science de la mise à l'échelle) pour générer des connaissances et des enseignements pratiques sur " ce qui fonctionne ", " pourquoi " et " comment " mettre à l'échelle des solutions de base pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale plus large des parties prenantes de l'éducation.  La recherche DMS est actuellement mise en œuvre dans 14 pays : Brésil, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Côte d'Ivoire, Éthiopie, Ghana, République démocratique populaire lao, Madagascar, Mali, Népal, Niger, République-Unie de Tanzanie, Togo et Zambie.
Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Nepal
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Data Must Speak: Unpacking Factors Influencing School Performance in Nepal

Joint efforts by the Government of Nepal, development partners and key stakeholders to achieve SDG 4 by 2030 have improved education access, participation and retention. However, learning outcomes in Nepal remain stagnant. What resources and contextual factors are associated with good school performance in Nepal? By merging and analyzing existing administrative datasets in Nepal, this report helps to identify positive deviant schools – those that outperform other schools despite sharing similar contexts and resources. Data Must Speak – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to address the evidence gaps to mitigate the learning crisis using existing data. The DMS Positive Deviance Research is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education and key partners. DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance approach, behavioural sciences, implementation research and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. DMS research is currently being implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
ບົົດຄັັດຫຍໍ້ດ້້ າ້ ນນະໂຍບາຍ 2 ຜູ້ອໍາານວຍການໂຮງຮຽນ ໃນໂຮງຮຽນທີ່ ມີີ ປະສິິດທິິພາບສູູງ: ພວກເຂົາົ ມີີຄຸ ນຸ ລັກັ ສະນະ ແລະ ປະສົົບການ ທີ່່ດີີຄືື ແນວໃດ?
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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
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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?
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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

A teacher is looking over the shoulder of a student in Ghana.
Article

3 Outcomes of Research Co-creation

Authors: Kevin Clidoro and Sophia Kousiakis  While there are many valuable innovations in education, few are brought to scale. The Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research and District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2) teams strive to ensure that innovations in education are scaled up by co-creating research with key partners and stakeholders from inception to policy transformation. Both initiatives are funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) which promotes actionable research and improved evidence use that is demand-driven by national education systems. How does a co-creation approach strengthen the use and impact of our research? The DMS research and DHIS2 teams share the outcomes from co-creating research on utilizing Education Management Information System (EMIS) data. Outcome 1: Well-aligned research with in-country priorities and needs The EMIS hosts most of a country’s education-related data and can inform priorities for improving the education system.  Countries face recurring challenges to build, maintain and utilize the EMIS data. Improving management information systems, such as EMIS, is more than finding the perfect software -- but a socio-technical undertaking filled with people and social networks. DHIS2 deploys a participatory action research approach, working closely with education partners and stakeholders at national, district and school levels to inform data systems strengthening.  University partnerships play a central role in cultivating in-country capacity to design, implement and maintain DHIS2. This drives innovation in the DHIS2 ecosystem that is government owned and responds to local needs.  In The Gambia, a PhD candidate based in the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) is focusing work on key policy directives connected to decentralized EMIS routines, such as data collection, validation and use. In tandem, a diploma and Master program in information systems, with a specialization in education management, is being established at the University of The Gambia (UTG); a partnership between MoBSE, UTG and University of Oslo. This initiative supports local institutions' engagement in EMIS research, provides training that is connected to real-world experiences and prepares a future EMIS workforce within the Ministry of Education (MoE). As part of its Stage 1 analysis, DMS research works with MoEs to harness the power of existing administrative datasets in generating evidence and improving decision-making.  The DMS research merges EMIS datasets with other existing datasets, such as examinations and learning assessments, across multiple years. For instance, the DMS team, together with the Niger MoE, linked EMIS data with local data on poverty to better understand the relationship between various socio-economic factors and school performance. In Côte d’Ivoire, the DMS team used an external database containing information on the presence of cocoa fields within a specific school’s vicinity. Linking EMIS data with such information resulted in deeper analysis regarding the relationship of schools’ context and performance.  The commitment of MoEs to utilize existing administrative datasets ensures that together, we can understand contextualized and specific education challenges within the country – such as resource allocation, teacher placement and learning outcomes.   Figure 1. Stages of DMS Positive Deviance Research Outcome 2: Strengthened capacities on data use and empowerment of education stakeholders  Continuous EMIS strengthening efforts are enabled by long-term investments in local capacity and community resources. The DHIS2 ecosystem enables a range of contributors -- ministries, education staff, researchers, experts, developers -- to build meaningful applications and services on top of EMIS. These services have an open-source license which enables access, improves data literacy, enhances ownership and allows innovations to be shared. In Uganda, various ministry departments, districts and partners identified a need to streamline, integrate and routinize data collection efforts, to reduce ad hoc data calls to district levels. Together, a digital integrated tool was developed, with dashboards depicting termly data for each implementation site, and program-specific dashboards visualizing gender, inclusive education, school feeding and health-related data. To date, District Education Offices (DEOs) have been able to submit enrollment numbers for 2023/24 budgeting, supported partners targeting learners for accelerated education programs, improved teacher transfers as well as provided accurate figures for health interventions targeting polio immunization and tetanus vaccinations. In addition, the tool has enabled districts to respond to data requested for scientific research by local universities.   Figure 2. A digital platform ecosystem approach to EMIS strengthening The empowerment of districts with data is essential to meet the many challenges faced in ensuring all children and youth gain their right to participate in quality education, as the district is the appropriate level for aligning national policies and interventions with reality on the ground. Capacity building of district staff is key in improving data use. The ability of districts to collect, analyze and share data with stakeholders has demonstrated the crucial role DEOs can have in improving education service delivery through evidence-based planning and resource allocation.  Outcome 3: Improved research uptake and impact on education systems Research co-creation improves evidence uptake and impact. When MoEs and key partners are meaningfully engaged throughout the entire research process, they become champions of the research who use the evidence to inform their own decision-making. To date, the DMS research has informed formal education sector planning processes in Lao PDR, Nepal and Zambia. In Ghana, the MoE has incorporated DMS research findings and recommendations into its application for a GPE Systems Capacity Grant, which aims to establish unique school identifiers to track school progress and identify trends over time, including within EMIS. Similarly, in Cote d’Ivoire, the MoE is convening a technical team to establish unique school identifiers to be able to keep track of the progress of cohorts of students through multiple years.  MoEs recognize the power of existing administrative datasets. Partner governments have demonstrated commitment through follow-up actions -- like mobilizing their own resources to continue strengthening their data systems, and increasing the use of existing data, which extend beyond the life of the DMS research. While a research co-creation approach can be challenging, it is ethical and inclusive. It also proves to be necessary in ensuring that investments to addressing education challenges are sustainable. Through a co-creation approach, research is aligned with in-country priorities, capacities are valued and strengthened, and uptake and impact are improved. For the DMS research and DHIS2 teams, a co-creation approach means always placing students and education stakeholders at the center of research and innovation.  This blog is the last in a three-part series sharing the value of prioritizing co-creation approaches when designing and implementing education research. The first blog detailed the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the DMS research co-creation approach and the second blog described the realities and circumstances that arise when co-creating research.The DMS Positive Deviance research aims to mitigate the learning crisis by using existing data to understand the behaviours and practices of exceptional schools (i.e., positive deviant schools). It is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education, partners, and key stakeholders. The DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance, behavioural sciences, implementation research, and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. The DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia. It is made possible through a coalition of donors: Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), Hewlett Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Schools2030 initiative (Aga Khan Foundation), and UNICEF internal resources.   The HISP Centre at the University of Oslo (UiO) has a 30-year history with information systems strengthening; solidified into a vibrant ecosystem, around an open-source digital platform, DHIS2. Since 2019, DHIS2 has seen uptake in the education sector in 6 countries: eSwatini, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo and Uganda. By leveraging a proven innovation in the health sector, the project seeks to enhance demand for data use at all levels of the education system, addressing the lack of a “turnkey” EMIS, that can be used sustainably and at scale. HISP groups act as the primary liaison to ministries and are led by DHIS2 experts, several of whom have completed PhD and MSc programs related to DHIS2/Information Systems at UiO or partner universities. They are staffed with experienced DHIS2 implementers, developers and trainers, who provide support for national, regional and international projects. DHIS2 for Education is made possible by Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (GPE KIX), a joint endeavor by GPE and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and internal HISP Centre research funds.     
A group of Brazilian Data Must Speak researchers stand together to smile and pose for a photo.
Article

4 Realities when Co-creating Education Research

Authors: Kevin Clidoro, Jessica Bergmann, and Renaud Comba Since its launch in 2019, the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research, together with Ministries of Education (MoE) and education partners, has worked to identify and scale the behaviours and practices of exceptional schools (i.e., positive deviant schools). Through a co-creation and co-implementation approach, the DMS research has generated evidence to contribute to addressing the learning crisis in 14 countries. However, the DMS research has faced unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. During the early stages of the research, the team and partners could not travel, engage in in-person activities, and sustain momentum for research implementation amidst emergency response. While the team has successfully adapted its activities, they were confronted with unforeseen realities when co-creating the research, even after pandemic restrictions were lifted. What are the realities and complexities of the research co-creation approach, and how does the DMS research team respond to these?  1. Different Perspectives and Capacities The DMS research team, MoE, and partners offer different perspectives and expertise when working together. The DMS research team recognizes the uniqueness of each country’s education landscape and acknowledges that the MoE and local partners are in the best position to drive change and impact within their own system. At the same time, the DMS research team brings technical expertise in research design, innovative methodologies, and data analysis.  As such, the DMS research team and partners engage in co-creation sessions through core and technical working groups (see Part I blog), even when these sessions can be time-consuming and difficult at times. These sessions are used to align priorities, capitalize on each other’s strengths, and support each other in driving the research forward and promoting its uptake. Co-creating research with local partners is our ???? to ensure results can improve #education systems worldwide.Hear what surprised Voahangy from the Ministry of #education in #Madagascar about our #DataMustSpeak research project ????Find about #DMS ????@Men_mada @UNICEFMada— UNICEF Innocenti (@UNICEFInnocenti) July 2, 20222. Competing Priorities and Changing In-Country Conditions One of the realities when co-creating research is the shifting priorities of governments and local partners. The DMS research has witnessed such shifts during the pandemic, where governments primarily focused on emergency response and recovery programming. These shifts naturally happen during changes in government leadership and political conditions. For instance, the DMS research in Ethiopia has moved at an uneven pace due to the pandemic response, recent conflict, and changes within the national government. As the DMS team has become more aware of the potential roadblocks for countries in each stage of the research, they have strategically moved to a non-linear implementation by preparing aspects of later stages, while earlier stages are still ongoing. This way, no research stages are stalled, and the overall timeline is not significantly affected. 3. Data-Related Realities: Access, Preparation, and Utility The DMS research leverages existing administrative datasets (e.g., Educational Management Information System [EMIS], learning assessments/examinations data, and household data) to identify positive deviant schools and scale their excellent behaviours and practices.  In Tanzania (Mainland and Zanzibar), the DMS team and partners sat together to source older datasets that were archived once a new data system was introduced.  One of the most common challenges of this research is merging years of data and/or data from different sources, especially when no unique school code stays constant over time and throughout datasets. In Ghana for example, to address issues on merging datasets, fuzzy merging (i.e., matching school names based on the degree of similarity in their spelling) was employed. Most importantly, this created the space to have in-depth conversations surrounding the power of administrative data and the value of having a multi-year analysis of merged datasets in policymaking.   4. Demand for Contextualized Research OutputsThere is a high demand from MoEs and local partners for contextualized and easily digestible research outputs. Usually, full reports are complemented with shorter thematic policy briefs. Additionally, to meaningfully co-create at country level and break down language barriers, DMS research outputs are written and published in the national language. For instance, in Lao PDR, thematic policy briefs in Laotian and English were prioritized over a full report when explaining the factors associated with school performance and present the behaviours and practices of positive deviant schools.  Aside from engaging with partners through high-level meetings and in-country, regional and international conferences, the DMS team has also produced an animated explainer video and recorded a podcast. As the DMS research progresses, new output formats and ways of effectively disseminating research findings will be piloted and tested to improve research uptake. More importantly, the DMS research’s dissemination and uptake strategy is aimed at promoting the research as a global public good. Research co-creation presents realities and offers new points of collaboration and understanding that may be uncommon in traditional research approaches. The DMS team believes that there is no “one-size-fits-all solution” to facing those realities.   One key lesson that the DMS research team has learned is the importance of staying true to the core principle of research co-creation – meaningfully engaging partners as co-owners – all throughout the research journey.  This blog is the second in a three-part series sharing the value of prioritizing co-creation approaches when designing and implementing education research. The first blog detailed the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the DMS research co-creation approach, and the third will showcase the observable impact and lessons learned. Stay tuned! The DMS Positive Deviance research aims to mitigate the learning crisis by using existing data to understand the behaviours and practices of exceptional schools (i.e., positive deviant schools). It is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education, partners, and key stakeholders. The DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance, behavioural sciences, implementation research, and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. The DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia. It is made possible through a coalition of donors: Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), Hewlett Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Schools2030 initiative (Aga Khan Foundation), and UNICEF internal resources. 
A DMS researcher listens to a group of Ministry of Education professionals in Madagascar.
Article

5 Ways Data Must Speak is Co-Creating Education Research

Authors: Kevin Clidoro, Jessica Bergmann, and Renaud Comba The Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research believes that the most significant agents of change in the education sector are grassroot-level stakeholders, and that they should be at the forefront of addressing education challenges within their contexts. As such, the DMS team co-creates our research with stakeholders and partners, working together on research design, data collection and analysis, and evidence uptake.  Traditional research approaches have often regarded key stakeholders only as end-users of knowledge. Whenever research is designed, data is collected and analyzed, and findings are disseminated, stakeholders are consulted in some stages but usually detached from the entire research journey. Sometimes, researchers only ask stakeholders to join a meeting at the start of a research project to introduce the design and methodology and at the end to share key findings. These research practices result not only in disengaged stakeholders but also in an underutilized sea of knowledge.   More recently, meaningful co-creation has gained prominence as a research approach for ethical, impact, and sustainability reasons. Having direct roots from participatory research approaches, the core principle of research co-creation is to engage stakeholders as co-owners of research. Rather than only being end-users, stakeholders are now active and fair partners. The DMS team works with local and national education stakeholders throughout the research journey with clearly defined purposes.  From research design to research uptake and impact, how can education research be co-created? Below is the five-step approach of the DMS research: 1. Identification of DMS champions from all levels Champions in the education sector are those who aspire to effect change, have relevant technical capacity and skills, and have a certain level of authority, such as staff from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and representatives from the development sector. The DMS research identifies and engages champions actively throughout the research journey. Engaging champions from the outset is particularly important to ensure buy-in from country-level stakeholders. For the DMS research, champions are key in building the DMS consultative and technical working groups. Working closely with the Ministry of Education in #Zambia means our #research can have a real impact on children's lives????Thanks to our great partners who make the #DataMustSpeak project come to life, already across 14 countries!➡️ https://t.co/PAz5cusWw8@unicefzambia pic.twitter.com/MLMGbbeTgu— UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti (@UNICEFInnocenti) April 2, 20222. Formation of consultative and technical working groups The consultative and technical working groups (TWG) are two distinct groups of country-level stakeholders and partners. The consultative working group is usually composed of 20-25 members, including decision-makers and experts from the MoE, school-level stakeholders, development partners, and local academics. This group acts as a steering committee providing high-level inputs into the research design, methodologies, timelines, and uptake strategies. The TWG is a smaller, more specialized group composed of monitoring and evaluation experts and statisticians from the MoE and its agencies. This technical team is involved in the day-to-day implementation of the research – including data collection, data merging and analysis, as well as report writing.   3. Collaborative design and implementation of data collection tools with school-level stakeholders In all participating DMS research partner-countries, research tools are co-developed with key stakeholders. This co-creation strategy puts school-level stakeholders (e.g., school leaders, teachers and community members), the implementers of education programs and policies, at the center of evidence generation. For instance, representatives from various Lao PDR Ministry of Education and Sport and the National University of Laos, designed and reviewed the DMS research questions, methodologies, and instruments. Additionally, instead of hiring external enumerators, about 60 teachers-turned-researchers collected data from schools across the country, putting Laotian partners in the driving seat.  “I think it is important that teachers are involved in studies on education because it will help them get a better understanding of the different challenges to effective education and help identify solutions." – Soon to be Teacher4. Data analysis with key stakeholdersThe TWG and DMS researchers jointly prepare, merge, and analyze existing datasets to identify exceptional schools (i.e., positive deviant schools) in given contexts. The technical co-creation sessions help DMS researchers better understand country-specific contexts. They also strengthen the technical research capacity of the TWG members, fostering a symbiotic relationship where we both learn from each other. During a co-creation session in Madagascar, TWG members created their own statistical codes to analyze datasets further. As a result of the co-creation sessions, the Ghana MoE incorporated findings from the DMS research stage 1 analysis on factors associated with school performances when applying for the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) System Capacity grant.   5. Development of research outputs and dissemination strategies with country stakeholders Outputs from DMS research are co-developed with the MoE and country stakeholders. Due to the demand for contextualized research outputs, DMS researchers have prioritized producing outputs in easily digestible formats (e.g., thematic policy briefs, human-centered videos, and podcasts). In Togo, findings from DMS research stage 1 analysis were incorporated into a report and three thematic policy briefs in French. There is a lack of universal understanding of what research co-creation really is and how it can look in practice. Historically, co-creation has been used loosely to refer to any forms of research contextualization and stakeholder engagement. The DMS research team, partners, and key stakeholders work together to account for diverse expertise and capacity, and adapt to local contexts, cultures, and political landscapes. This is a critical component for meaningful and impactful research co-creation. This blog is the first in a three-part series sharing the value of prioritizing co-creation approaches when designing and implementing education research. The second blog will present key challenges of the DMS research co-creation approach, and the third will showcase the observable impact and lessons learned. Stay tuned! The DMS Positive Deviance research aims to mitigate the learning crisis by using existing data to understand the behaviours and practices of exceptional schools (i.e., positive deviant schools). It is co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education, partners, and key stakeholders. The DMS research relies on mixed methods and innovative approaches (i.e., positive deviance, behavioural sciences, implementation research, and scaling science) to generate knowledge and practical lessons about ‘what works,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders. The DMS research is currently implemented in 14 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia. It is made possible through a coalition of donors: Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), Hewlett Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Schools2030 initiative (Aga Khan Foundation), and UNICEF internal resources.    

Events

A girl writes on a blackboard.
Event

Data Systems and Data Use in Education: Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research

The Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is pleased to invite you to the Third Annual KIX Symposium, which will be held virtually on October 12-13, 2022 from 12 NN – 1:30 PM CET.   
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?