ASER Centre

Evidence for action

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This section provides a brief overview of the ASER survey. Click on the links provided for more information on any topic.

What is ASER?

ASER stands for Annual Status of Education Report. This is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable annual estimates of children’s schooling status and basic learning levels for each state and rural district in India. ASER has been conducted every year since 2005 in almost all rural districts of India. See the ASER over the years page for details of coverage each year.

ASER is the largest citizen-led survey in India. It is also the only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes available in India today.

Where is ASER conducted? Who is surveyed?

Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, ASER is a household-based rather than school-based survey. This design enables all children to be included – those who have never been to school or have dropped out, as well as those who are in government schools, private schools, religious schools or anywhere else.

In each rural district, 30 villages are sampled. In each village, 20 randomly selected households are surveyed. This process generates a total of 600 households per district, or about 300,000 households for the country as a whole. Approximately 600,000 children in the age group 3-16 who are resident in these households are surveyed.See the Sampling page for more information.

What information is collected?

  • Information on schooling status is collected for all children in the age group 3-16 living in sampled households
  • Children in the age group 5-16 are tested in basic reading and basic arithmetic. The same test is administered to all children. The highest level of reading tested corresponds to what is expected in Std 2; in 2012 this test was administered in 16 regional languages. The highest level of arithmetic tested corresponds to what is expected in Std 3 or 4, depending on the state. See the Tools & Testing page for the ASER reading and math tools.
  • Every year, some additional tests are also administered. These vary from year to year. In 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014, for example, children were tested in basic English. In 2011 they were tested on their ability to solve everyday math problems. See the ASER over the years page for a summary of assessment tasks each year.
  • In addition, basic household information is collected every year. In recent years this has included household size, parental education, and some information on household assets. See the ASER over the years page for a summary of domains covered each year.
  • In 2005, 2007, and every year since 2009, ASER has included a visit to one government primary school in each sampled village. Basic information is collected on school infrastructure, enrollment, attendance, teachers and fund flows. Since 2010, ASER has tracked selected Right to Education (RTE) indicators as well.

Who conducts the survey?

ASER tools and procedures are designed by ASER Centre, the research and assessment arm of Pratham. The survey itself is coordinated by ASER Centre and facilitated by the Pratham network. It is conducted by close to 30,000 volunteers from partner organizations in each district. All kinds of institutions partner with ASER: colleges, universities, NGOs, youth groups, women’s organizations, self help groups and others. See the Partners page for more information.

What is the process followed in a village?

After district level training, a team of two surveyors is assigned to each sampled village, where they spend two days (usually Saturday and Sunday) conducting the survey. See the Survey process tab for information on the steps involved as well as the instructions, tools and formats provided.

How is data quality ensured?

Three key processes go into ensuring data quality. These are: training of surveyors, monitoring while the survey is in the field, and recheck of information already collected. These processes are intensively reviewed and strengthened each year. See the Data Quality tab for more details.

For more information...


 Read our Frequently Asked Questions, available in English and Hindi

·ASER reports from 2005 on are available online, here


·ASER data from 2005 onwards can be queried online, here

·The ASER model has been adapted for use in several countries around the world: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mali, Senegal and Mexico. Read more on the ASER Abroad page, here.