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The Teaching and Learning Educators’ Network for Transformation (TALENT) organised a workshop on the design and strategic use of national large-scale learning assessments atthe Mont Fébé hotel in Yaounde, from the 3rd to the 5th December 2019. The workshop was facilitated by a joint team of experts from TALENT steering group (UNESCO, IUIS, IIPE, UNICEF), from ACER and of international experts on the subject. An opening ceremony with the Secretary General from the Ministry of Basic Education (MINEDUB), the representative of the Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Central Africa, Yaoundé and TALENT’s representative started the workshop.

High-level directors and national assessment experts from (12) sub-Saharan African countries participated in the meeting (Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Congo, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire and The Gambia). National teams shared their knowledge and experiences through country presentations and group activities, highlighting their learning assessment’s systems, the opportunities and challenges faced, while identifying possibilities of action at a country level. 

The meeting aimed at strengthening the capacities of the ministries in charge of education in order to improve the quality of the design and strategic use of national large-scale learning assessments. It also aimed at encouraging experiences sharing for the adaptation of best practices to different country contexts.

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During the workshop the following questions were raised: large-scale assessments’ limits and potentialities, the use of data from assessments’ results, data collection and dissemination difficulties, assessments’ funding challenges, importance of qualitative analysis, large-scale assessment and equity, learning assessment in emergency situations, the improvement of learning quality and equity, key quality concepts for learning assessment, SDG4 indicators – learning outcomes, quality management. 

At the end of the workshop, the conclusions informed about the raised issues: “Education quality and achievement of learning outcomes are a matter of equity; large-scale assessment reveal inequity, allowing us to advocate for better resource allocation and strategies to  address the needs of most disadvantage populations. To fulfill this function, large-scale assessments need to be as universal, inclusive and fair as possible”. The participants committed to finalise a self-analysis of their national large-scale learning assessments’ cycles and to identify 4 to 5 priorities to improve the cycle. TALENT will identify future actions to be taken based on that work.