Learning trajectories: A practical tool for tracking learning and taking action

Learning trajectories: A practical tool for tracking learning and taking action

By Rastee Chaudhry, Jason Silberstein, and Julius Atuhurra (Increase Programme) and Adedeji Adeniran, Thelma Obiakor, and Sixtus Onyekwere (Centre for the Analyze of the Economies in Africa)

Learning trajectories are graphs that clearly show how numerous little ones attain a specified stage of minimum proficiency at each individual grade. Though mastering trajectories have formerly been made use of for analysis, two new endeavours display that they can also serve as realistic resources to analyse the studying crisis and take informed motion.

First, the Exploration on Enhancing Systems of Training (Rise) Programme, in partnership with the GEM Report, have established a webpage offering a one particular-cease useful resource on studying trajectories. This webpage introduces understanding trajectories and what they offer you through a series of interactive details visualisations and a details explorer which lets customers to develop and analyse their possess studying trajectories. Second, Increase and the Centre for the Research of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) have partnered to practice around 75 policymakers and authorities officers in West Africa on the use of discovering trajectories for educated policymaking.

An on-line resource that tends to make understanding trajectories simply available


This on the internet device, which shows the mastering trajectories for 23 very low- and decrease-middle-earnings international locations is component of the SCOPE web-site and was introduced at the ADEA 2022 Triennale. It displays the share of young children in each and every quality who have mastered foundational studying or arithmetic competencies, typically at quality 2 or 3 degree, which about correspond to Sustainable Improvement Objective indicator 4.1.1a.


Not like conventional approaches of evaluating studying, which measure capabilities students have obtained at a specified place in time (e.g., finish of major college), learning trajectories monitor how numerous little ones attain a minimum conventional at every grade to offer you key insights into the system of studying.

What are the key insights from these trajectories?

  • The pace of foundational learning is far also sluggish in the early grades of faculty and persists by major education. Children’s real tempo of studying immediately falls guiding the speed set by the curriculum.
  • There is a lot of variation among countries. There are many factors that influence learning outcomes and bad nations around the world can even now enhance foundational finding out drastically.

The software simulates the affect of pursuing diverse large-degree plan agendas in distinctive nations around the world. The initially simulation compares the impact of access-oriented guidelines (green dotted line), and mastering-oriented guidelines (yellow dotted line).

It reveals that:

  • Even if all children had been in school, way too very little advancement would be created in finding out results unless we take into account what is happening in the classroom.
  • Rising studying per quality closes a substantial portion of the gap in between larger- and lower- executing schooling systems.
  • Productive instruction programs need to place greater emphasis on how a lot kids are discovering in each and every calendar year they commit in university (see #FromSchoolToLearning).

The second simulation compares the impression of equity-oriented guidelines. It reveals that when guidelines aimed at increasing equity are important, they will do small to solve the finding out disaster.

People can produce their individual trajectories on the SCOPE web site and operate plan simulations utilizing genuine data for countries of their preference. The data explorer has details on foundational looking at and arithmetic for 31 international locations and 6 demographic teams for each region (abundant/ weak, boys/girls, urban/rural), sourced from the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. Bespoke graphs and simulations can be exported as illustrations or photos or datasets and shared on social media.

Education policymakers and federal government officers on understanding trajectories in West Africa

About the previous year, researchers from Increase and CSEA have applied 3 iterations of a potential progress education based on mastering trajectories, 2 times in Abuja and once in Accra. Every schooling experienced all around 25 individuals, which included authorities officers, faculty directors, instructors, and education and learning NGO practitioners. The two-day schooling focused on an overview of the international discovering crisis, the host nation context, discovering trajectories and their use, and two equipment:

  • the Pedagogical Output Perform (PPF) device, which simulates how quite a few little ones, on common, get to a specific skill stage by quality and
  • the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) tool, which actions misalignment concerning 3 main instructional elements – curriculum, assessments and instruction – and describes how this can result in very low mastering.

Learning trajectories can guidance non-researchers in greater comprehension the mastering crisis and in informing policy style. The education has:

  1. Enriched contributors comprehension of the strengths and weaknesses of readily available discovering assessment knowledge. Potentially the most profound perception was the realisation by most contributors of the inadequacies of substantial-stakes assessments, which most experienced formerly regarded a gold normal in tracking development inside of an education and learning process. Although large-stakes assessments have a tendency to target attention on much more superior abilities at transitional points at the stop of major or secondary faculty, studying trajectories highlight the relevance of measuring studying at the foundational degree previously in college when, in most scenarios, finding out deficiencies just take root and increase. Members observed that high-stakes assessments put an overemphasis on certification, which inspired vices this sort of as cheating and other forms of exam malpractice.

“I would make improvements to on my formative assessment in my school and seize information to assistance any deductions we will be building henceforth about the extent of finding out that is using spot.” – College administrator from Nigeria


“Modelling can help present a improved graphical illustration of authentic difficulties or pertinent circumstances. In this regard, policymakers and influencers could make this means and be armed with educated backgrounds in get to make needful knowledgeable periods.”  – Policymaker from Ghana


  1. Contributed towards bridging the investigate and plan gap. The schooling enabled individuals to have an educated dialogue about learning evaluation details and system reform. It increased their knowledge of how to prioritise coverage thoughts and superior converse their research conclusions. For policymakers, being familiar with learning trajectories and related resources could increase the use of evidence and information for education and learning coverage assessment.

“Lessons from the coaching will aid me to contribute to coverage challenges on how to balance obtain and finding out outcomes by curriculum development.”  – Policymaker from Nigeria


“The applications will support me and my establishment collect facts for training interventions and examination. I learnt that there is a want to pay back focus to understanding accomplishment rather than yrs of schooling.”  – Policymaker from Ghana


  1. Advised foreseeable future opportunities to use discovering trajectories at sub-countrywide ranges. For case in point, procurement of instructional materials that are nicely-matched to learners’ current skill amounts is critical for bettering finding out in a lot of building nations around the world. Finding out trajectories make evident the talent stages of a cohort, enhancing the prospects of procuring well-aligned supplies that are pitched at the appropriate level to support the studying approach. Applying university or district-stage mastering trajectories (alternatively than aggregated examination scores) to report children’s achievement degrees also has likely for supporting instructors align instruction to the degree of the baby by creating it less difficult to discover, team and style appropriate instruction for kids who have not attained the predicted foundational (or other) skill concentrations prior to they development to additional highly developed content material.

To master much more about understanding trajectories, the new on the internet instrument, and the distinct use circumstances of finding out trajectories, be part of an forthcoming webinar by GEM and Rise on December 6th 2022.”