SABER: Innovative Assessment Tool Helps Countries Use Evidence to Guide Global Education Reform

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LighthouseAt the launch of the World Bank's new Education Strategy for 2020 during the "What Works in Education” Policy Research Colloquium this spring, World Bank President Robert Zoellick urged the international development community to focus on interventions that produce learning results and emphasized the vital role that evidence must play in propelling smart investments in education. The strategy also emphasizes the Bank's role in helping countries move beyond the provision of inputs to a system-level approach for improving the quality, performance, and outcomes of education programs.

To improve learning for all, we are rolling out an innovative assessment tool to help our partners use knowledge more effectively to drive education reform.

The System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results (SABER) initiative is being designed to help countries systematically examine and better understand their education system's policies.  SABER's policy diagnostics are being built upon a solid evidence base and draws from research on the education policies of well performing or rapidly improving education systems. By leveraging global knowledge, SABER fills a gap in the availability of policy data and evidence on what policies matter most to improve the quality of education and achievement of better results.  

Currently under development, SABER aims to help countries align their governance, management, incentives, financing mechanisms, human resources, and quality assurance systems more effectively and efficiently around the goal of raising learning outcomes.  To facilitate the use of a systems approach, SABER's diagnostic tools are structured around key education policy domains, including Teachers, Finance, Student Assessment, Data, and School Accountability and Autonomy. This summer we rolled out the preliminary findings of our first pilot of SABER in East Asia during a regional conference. 

The World Bank expects that the SABER initiative will integrate with the efforts of other partners to build a knowledge base of education policies in countries everywhere, and provide means for policymakers and researchers to use the global knowledge base to strengthen their systems to increase learning for all.

If you would like to learn more about the SABER initiative, visit the World Bank online at In particular, we are seeking your input around the SABER diagnostic tools currently under development and your ideas on how to improve the validity and utility of SABER. 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Waldo Jaquith



Robin Horn

Education Adviser

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