2018 FEdMM: Pacific Regional Framework Discussion Paper on Policy Area 3 – Student Outcomes and WellBeing


Yaren, Republic of Nauru

24 May 2018






Summary of Key Issues


This paper, prepared by USP’s Institute of Education (USP/IoE) and SPC’s Education Quality Assessment Programme (SPC/EQAP) focuses on three key issues:

(i)          raising the standard of literacy and numeracy for Pacific students;

(ii)         improving the teaching profession through targeted professional development; and

(iii)       understanding the challenges and barriers to student learning in literacy and numeracy

       The purpose of the paper is to provide updates on the Pacific Islands Literacy and  Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) and Pacific Literacy and School Leadership Programme (PLSLP) – analysing literacy data at classroom level (from PLSLP) and at national and regional level (from PILNA) emerging patterns from both sets of data may be evident.

  1. According to USP/IoE on findings from the PLSLP (focusing on one country) has demonstrated that the program has influenced shifts in student literacy learning, teaching literacy practice and also in school leadership over the duration of the programme. [The data over 3 years of targeted research and intervention of the PLSLP program can be made available to Ministers].
  2. The work by SPC/EQAP from coding and contextual data correlated with PILNA results to demonstrate how the information gleaned from PILNA can inform practice leading to improved student learning outcomes.

How the Partners can support the PacREF

  1. The IoE maintains its core mandate through three program areas:
  • Professional Development and Learning Program,
  • The Waka Publication Program,
  • IoE Research and Development Program.


  1. The IoE is based in Tonga, with offices in Honiara and Suva. It has the research and development capability to support a range of objectives and activities expressed in the PacREF including:
  • the use of the design-based research approach which has been applied by the Institute to work it has carried out including the LEAP project in Solomon Islands, REAP in Tuvalu and the IQBE in Marshall Islands; and
  • strengthening the use of data, research and targeted interventions that promote collaboration at multiple levels to ensure that impact and shifts in student outcomes at school level can be measured.


  1. EQAP is mandated to develop education quality in the Pacific. EQAP’s efforts are dedicated to literacy and numeracy, assessment, curriculum development, education information management systems, qualifications accreditation and research. EQAP works with the education ministries of 15 Pacific countries providing technical support or hands-on groundwork contributions. EQAP also works in close collaboration with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and UNESCO. Through donor funding, EQAP has been able to document and assess trends in literacy, numeracy and current school management and administrative systems; a ground-breaking achievement in data collation for the Pacific.


  1. There is a great diversity of potential uses for the vast amount of data generated by the PILNA. The assessment result has relevance at all levels of the education system, at a regional level, the system level, school level, teacher and classroom level and even at the community level.


  1. There are also barriers to the use of assessment data at national levels, including:
  • lack of technical capacity for further in-depth analysis;


  • the need to translate findings into relevant policy;


  • lack of funding for developing and disseminating reports; and


  • the need to tailor results towards specific audiences.


  1. Although the assessment data has been available to ministries and schools for some time, the use of such data to improve teaching and learning has been slow and may be due to a lack of capacity in data interpretation.


  1. In this respect, EQAP with its partners have the expertise and officers who are able to assist with many of these areas upon request by countries. Specifically, EQAP is supporting countries in use of assessment data for policy implementation, agenda setting and policy formulation. The data sets are also being used by countries to guide strategies and design interventions at the system level to improve learning. EQAP is supporting countries in using the data and the processes from PILNA to reaffirm the results of their national-level assessments and work to strengthen both national assessments and in-country capacity to use the information generated by those assessments.


  1. Research into links between PILNA results to results of other national assessments of literacy and numeracy, including EGRA (Early Grade Reading Assessment), will provide much stronger evidence for policy and practice decisions. Research involving within country school comparisons can show schools that are doing very well and practices within such schools that can be shared or emulated by other teachers and school managements.


  1. The PILNA can provide an evidence base to engage the school community and wider public. With a strategic dissemination and media engagement plan, the assessment can be utilised to garner greater levels of support for children’s learning.  The EQAP is able to assist countries with a reporting and dissemination plan for their national results, fostering engagement with key partners such as parents and school communities.

University of the South Pacific (IOE)/SPC (EQAP)

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