A monitoring and evaluation framework is central to any modern, data- and evidence-driven organization. Data and evidence, after all, should underpin decisions for course-corrections that are important to advance an organization’s goals. Imagine poverty programs without data on who is poor and who is not. Or evidence of whether, and how, programs lift the poor out of poverty. Education is no different.
I am thrilled to have joined the Global Partnership for Education’s Monitoring & Evaluation team, from the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank, and wanted to take this opportunity to share GPE’s new evaluation framework with you.
GPE’s results framework…
GPE has set clear and specific goals in its 2016-2020 strategic plan: 1) improved and equitable learning; 2) increased equity, gender equality, and inclusion for all; and 3); effective and efficient education systems. It has articulated a results framework that captures the theory of change of how those goals are to be achieved. It has also identified 37 indicators in the results framework that are used to monitor progress on the key inputs, processes, outputs, and outcomes encompassed in the theory of change. The recently published GPE Results Report 2015/2016 shows the status of those indicators.
…and its evaluation framework are two peas in a pod
But, to be useful, a theory of change that guides what a program does should be informed by empirical evidence regarding practice on the ground – what works and what does not? This is where GPE’s evaluation framework comes in. (The full M&E strategy can be accessed here.)
Evaluations are essential not just for accountability – did we achieve our goals – but, more importantly, for querying the hypotheses underlying the theory of change, learning about what sorts of interventions work and under which conditions, and for making decisions and course-corrections based on robust evidence.
To support GPE’s real-time learning and ongoing course corrections, GPE’s evaluation framework comprises a linked set of evaluation studies that will explore whether, how, and how well the various elements of GPE’s theory of change contribute to the achievement of education results in the areas of learning, equity, and systems.
The framework proposes a movement away from a singular evaluation at the end of GPE’s five-year plan. Instead, evaluations will be undertaken periodically during the implementation of GPE’s 2020 strategic plan. The figure below shows the types of evaluations to be undertaken between 2017 and 2020. The evaluations will build on the foundation of annual monitoring data and the regular analyses done for the results framework and the grant portfolio, but they will go beyond that.
Studying the effectiveness of GPE’s operational model
The country-level evaluations will study GPE’s overall operational model at the country level, while the programmatic and thematic evaluations will look at a specific thematic and programmatic aspects of GPE’s work. Both sets of evaluations will yield information that the partnership can use to inform, adjust, and improve the way it works.
The country-level evaluations will comprise both formative and summative approaches:
- Formative country program evaluations will follow GPE’s programs in a small sample of countries to provide a continuous review of the effectiveness of GPE’s operational model and theory of change for course correction and improvements on an ongoing basis.
- Summative country program evaluations will be conducted at the time of grant completion, to assess GPE’s outputs and contributions to outcomes and results through a full policy cycle — from plan development through to program implementation.
GPE partners will all play important roles in ensuring that the evaluations are well conceptualized and executed and yield findings that are well grounded and fair, and that the information is used effectively to advance GPE’s goals.
In the coming weeks, the M&E team will reach across the partnership to discuss the evaluation framework and the key roles of the various groups in the partnership will play. Stay tuned.