ASER Centre

Evidence for action

Contact ASER Centre

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MAJOR RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT STUDIES IN EDUCATION

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Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

ASER stands for Annual Status of Education Report. This is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels for each district and state in India. ASER has been conducted every year since 2005 in all rural districts of India. It 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. See ASER survey for more information.

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Duration:       Every year between 2005 - 2014

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Partners:        Pratham, District Partners

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Location:        All rural districts in India

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Documents:   ASER reports from 2005 onwards

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Annual Status of Education Report
Household survey of basic learning levels of children 6-14, conducted annually in all rural districts.
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Early Childhood Education Study

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The India Early Childhood Education Impact (IECEI) study is a collaborative, three-tier research study that brings together elements of quantitative and qualitative inquiry to the understanding of ECE in rural India. Conceived as a five-year longitudinal study (2011-2016) of a cohort of four year olds across three major Indian states, the study proposes to see the impact of early learning, socialisation and school readiness experiences in preschool settings on educational and behavioural outcomes along the primary stages.

The quantitative survey component of the study has been anchored by ASER Centre while the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development, Ambedkar University is responsible for conducting a quasi-experimental survey as well as 9 in-depth qualitative case studies of early childhood programs from across the country.The sample survey being conducted by ASER Centre in two districts each of three states in India – Rajasthan, Assam and Telangana.

The study aims to fill some of the major gaps in our existing knowledge about young children in India. Its overall objective is to examine the nature of young children’s participation in pre-primary facilities, and to explore the relationship between participation in these programs, children’s school readiness and subsequent learning in primary grades.

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Project Update: January 2016: Data collection on the sample survey ended on December 31, 2015. This study now comprises twelve data points to track the progress of sample children between ages 3.5 - 4.5 up to age 7.5 - 8.5 along with a wealth of information collected from children’s households as well as detailed data on children’s learning from three assessment rounds. Over March and April 2016, the project team will be undertaking further qualitative work in four sample villages in each of the three study states to explore issues around parental perspectives on the importance of early childhood education and decision making.

Duration:  2011-2016

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Partners: UNICEF and the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), Ambedkar University

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Location: Ajmer and Alwar (Rajasthan); Dibrugarh and Kamrup (Assam); Medak and Warangal (Telangana). In each district, 50 villages were randomly selected from the Census 2001 village list.

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Documents:  Baseline report (2012)  |  Year 1 report (2013) | Policy Brief(2015)

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Early Childhood Education
Longitudinal study of 18,000 four year olds to assess preschool participation and school readiness.
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Exploring Post Primary Schooling

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While impressive strides have been made towards universalising access to elementary education in India, available evidence indicates that learning levels at the primary level remain poor. However, while we know much about learning levels at primary level, there is insufficient evidence at post- primary level. This study carried out in one district each in Bihar and Maharashtra helps bridge this gap in our knowledge of post - primary education.

The study finds that large numbers of children without foundational skills in math and language move smoothly ‘upward’ through school system. The fact that around 13.6% of upper-primary children who made grade appropriate transitions could not read a grade 2 level text fluently and 10% could not solve subtraction problems repudiate the assumption that transition through grades corresponds to grade-appropriate learning.

In addition, the report provides information on children’s performance in different competencies in four subjects which can serve as important feedback into curriculum development, academic resource planning and teacher training. 

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The analysis of classroom practices underscores the distance between the National Curriculum Framework objectives and the reality on the ground. The classroom data highlights the lack of use of teaching learning material (TLM) in classrooms and group activities among children, among other issues. The existence of multi-grade teaching aggravates the complexity of teaching children with different learning levels. Given the heavy emphasis on textbooks where ‘grade appropriate competency’ is the construct that underpins the textbook, the majority of children who are far below the grade appropriate learning level remain stuck in low learning level trap.

With the shift in focus from inputs to outcomes and from primary to secondary education, the 6th Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Mission (RMSA) has stressed the need for surveys looking at overall and subject-wise learning levels. In addition to the many policy issues highlighted by its findings, this study can also provide a variety of insights into how such assessments can be designed and conducted. The baseline report can be accessed here along with the appendix. The endline report can be accessed here.

Duration: 2012-2015

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Partners: Pratham and MacArthur Foundation

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Location: Maharashtra (Satara district) and Bihar (Nalanda district)

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Exploring Post Primary Schooling
The objective of this study is to generate new evidence regarding access and the quality of post primary education in India.
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Study on Access, Provision and Learning in Secondary Education: A two-block study

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There is little or no data available on access to post-primary and secondary education. As states move towards universalising secondary schooling, the lack of empirical evidence on key issues creates an imperative for understanding the corresponding situation at higher levels of education. Understanding the provision of post-primary and secondary schooling, choice of type of education institutions and the transition of students from upper primary to secondary schooling will provide inputs that will be vital to the successful implementation of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

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Duration: 2014-2016

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Partners: Kusuma Trust (UK) and Pratham / ASER Centre

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Location: Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh and Sambalpur, Orissa

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Documents:   Project update October 2014 | July 2016

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Understanding Access, Retention & Learning
This study will explore factors which influence access to secondary-level schooling and transition patterns. The study will also assess the learning levels of adolescents.
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Baseline Study of Teacher Performance in Bihar

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Bihar is in the process of implementing a series of far reaching changes to its elementary education system, aiming to address issues of both access and quality. Given the ambitious scope of interventions to increase both the quantity and the quality of teachers in the system, it is important to develop methods and measures to provide timely information about whether intended objectives are being achieved.

The objective of the study is to identify specific teacher, classroom and school characteristics that are currently associated with better student learning. It covers a sample of about 2,200 teachers and 4,250 children from 400 randomly selected schools in the 4 districts. These schools, teachers and students were tracked three times over the course of one academic year in order to document teacher attributes and performance characteristics as well as indicators related to school organization and functioning; and subsequently to assess the relationship between these indicators and student learning outcomes.

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Duration:        2014

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Partners:        Government of Bihar, The World Bank

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Location:        Purnia, East Champaran, Jamui and Rohtas districts

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Documents:   Project overview

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Baseline study of Teacher Performance in Bihar
Identifies teacher, classroom and school characteristics that are associated with student learning in 4 districts of Bihar
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Bihar Elementary School Study

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During May 2014, the Bihar Elementary School Study assessed Hindi and mathematics learning outcomes of students of Std 2, Std 4 and Std 6 of randomly selected clusters in all districts of Bihar. All government schools with elementary classes in the selected clusters were included and all children of the relevant classes who were present on the day of the visit were assessed. An oral assessment was administered to Std 2 children, and both oral and written assessments were given to Std 4 and Std 6 children. In all, more than 1,000 schools and 60,000 children participated in the study. 

In addition to assessing children's learning, a key objective of the study was to build the capacity of key people at the district level. The study was designed in collaboration with Bihar state government officials and UNICEF. At district level, DIET faculty, CRC coordinators, and Pratham/ ASER staff were responsible for training DIET students to conduct the fieldwork as well as for monitoring its progress.  

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Duration:        2014

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Partners:        Government of Bihar and UNICEF

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Location:        79 randomly selected clusters across all districts of Bihar

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Bihar Elementary School Study
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Impact of Mother’s Literacy on Children’s Learning

Pratham and ASER Centre carried out a year-long programme in two blocks in the Purnea district of Bihar and in two blocks in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. The programme was designed to explore mothers' literacy and engagement with children at home and their influence on children's learning levels. The impact evaluation of this set of interventions was done by JPAL-South Asia.

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Duration: 2011-2012

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Partners: Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Pratham

Location: Bihar (Purnea district) and Rajasthan (Ajmer district)

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Documents:  Report by Rukmini Banerji, James Berry, Marc Shotland 

                         Watch a short film on the experience of mothers in this programme

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Mothers' Literacy and Student Learning
A randomized evaluation of the effects of mothers' literacy on student learning outcomes
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Inside Primary Schools

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This longitudinal study tracked close to 30,000 rural children studying in Std II and Std IV in 900 schools spread over five states. These children, their classes, schools and families were tracked over a period of 15 months in order to take a comprehensive look at factors in the school, in the classroom and in the family which influence children’s learning outcomes. Students were randomly selected from the enrollment registers of sampled government schools in five states across the country. Each school was visited three times during the study period. Sampled students were administered a baseline achievement test in the period September-November 2009 and an endline test in the period September–November 2010. The two tests were thus administered roughly one calendar year apart but spanned two academic years. More

Duration:         2009 - 2011

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Partners:        UNICEF & UNESCO

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Location:        Himachal Pradesh (Mandi, Chamba, Sirmaur); Rajasthan (Ajmer, Banswara, Jodhpur); Jharkhand (Deogarh, Giridih, Ranchi); Assam (Cachar, Dubhri, Dibrugarh); Andhra Pradesh (Cuddapah, Medak, Prakasham).

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Documents:   Report; policy brief

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Inside Primary School
This is a longitudinal study, tracking rural children in Std 2 and Std 4. The study takes a comprehensive look at the factors in school, in the classroom and in the family that correlate with children's learning outcomes.