By Emily Gardner, READ Trust Fund
It's been a busy year and a half for the Russia Education Aid for Development (READ) trust fund, since it launched in 2009 to further critical work on quality learning assessments. The program is gearing up for another productive year, working to move the pendulum forward on the global imperative to measure progress in learning. Evidence on learning matters and assessment is central to improving education effectiveness.
Through a $32 million trust fund executed by the World Bank, READ aims to help low-income countries strengthen the capacity of institutions to measure and assess student learning and to use information from assessments to improve teaching and learning. Key resources from the past year that are now available on READ's newly designed website include:
- Snapshot of Assessment Work in READ Countries 
- Glossary of Assessment Terms 
- READ Country Self-Diagnosis Tool 
- 1st READ Annual Report, 2009 
"Improved learning leads to better jobs, greater productivity, and higher incomes in every society,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a statement with Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin earlier this year. “The READ program's goal – to improve the measurement of education quality and learning outcomes – is pertinent to developed and developing countries alike."
This fall, the Second READ Global Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Building on the success of last year’s conference in Moscow , this year’s theme will focus on strengthening the enabling environment for learning assessments by establishing strong institutional support for measuring learning outcomes. In other words, does a country have the right policies, institutional setup, and people and financial resources to take forward the assessment agenda? A high-level ministerial roundtable will discuss the critical importance of leadership in assessment. Presentations and video clips will be posted on the READ website after the event.
For more on READ's work, please visit www.worldbank.org/readtf .
Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank