The impact of large-scale international assessments
A case study of how the Ministry of Education in Namibia used SACMEQ assessments to improve learning outcomes.
This article highlights the rationale for Namibia's participation in three studies which were conducted under the auspices of the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) during the period 1995–2007. The article provides some of the innovative ways in which the results of the first (SACMEQ I, 1995) and second (SACMEQ II, 2000) studies were disseminated throughout the country. It highlights the analysis of reading and mathematics achievement scores of grade 6 learners at three intervals (1995, 2000 and 2007), and explains how the Ministry of Education used the achievement results from the first two studies (1995 and 2000) to mobilise resources for targeted interventions which contributed to improvements in reading and mathematics achievement during the third SACMEQ study in 2007. The article concludes that participation in well-designed international assessment studies that take the local contexts into account can, when well managed, contribute to improvements in learning outcomes.