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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2015 Ethiopia: Evaluation of Learning Achievement in Selected Woredas in Amhara and Addis Ababa Sub-Cities, Mid-term Review


Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best Practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report.


The ‘’Accelerated Development of Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills among First Cycle Learners in Ethiopia’’ project is designed to support the implementation of the national goals of education in Ethiopia as detailed in the fourth Education Sector Development Programme 2010 – 2015 and the accompanying General Education Quality Improvement Package II (2012 – 2016). The project’s interventions were developed by UNICEF in collaboration with relevant departments within the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Regional Education Bureaus (REB) in Addis Ababa, Amhara and Harari and with consultancy support from the American Institute for Research (AIR). The goal of the project is aligned to the GOE/UNICEF programme which proposes (through the Learning and Development Component) to target its assistance to the government’s GEQIP to support school-based interventions that focus on improving learning and achievement of learning outcomes. The key result of this project is that by 2015 “teachers, supervisors and other education personnel in formal and equivalency education from pre primary to the end of the first cycle of primary education, would be able to effectively use classroom-based assessment resulting in an increased percentage (at least 20% increase) of learners (both girls and boys) achieving the Minimum Learning Competencies (MLCs) at each grade level.’’

To achieve the goal of increased learner performance, the project focuses on improving teacher performance and quality. It aims to provide early grade primary school teachers (grades 1-4) with the pedagogical and assessment knowledge and skills needed to improve learner outcomes in Amharic and English (Literacy) and Mathematics and Environmental Science.


To answer to the following evaluation questions:
To what extent have programme inputs made a difference in the learning achievements of students?
To what extent have programme inputs made a difference to teachers’ use of learner centred pedagogical approaches?
To what extent have programme inputs made a difference to teachers’ ability to use continuous assessment techniques?
What is the quality and relevance of programme interventions (materials, modules, tools and training? How can they be improved for future use?
What can the programme do to improve programme interventions and impact and promote sustainability and the scale up of promising practices?


Utilized an experimental design that included a counterfactual and a mixed methods approach, defined here as research which, “mixes or combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches, concepts or language in a single study” (Burke Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004: 17). The specific mixed methods strategy used was an ‘exploratory concurrent design” (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2011: 81) where a quantitative survey was simultaneously carried out with a qualitative case study

Findings and Conclusions:

At the mid-point, the project has created some strong foundations on which to build and had put into
place high quality materials and appropriate structures. However, it appears that much of the first year was spent developing these products and systems leaving little opportunity to fully utilize them so good practice could really be embedded in classrooms and schools. As a result there was currently minimal verifiable project impact against its objectives in schools and classrooms at time the evaluation was carried out. Although international evidence indicates that this is not unusual for education projects of this size and nature, with more time and a number of actions, the evaluation team feel there is every potential for the results to be strengthened by the end line. The team also recommend that UNICEF consider an extension of their support beyond the proposed 2016 completion date. Other recommendations are presented below.


More work is needed to improve the test items. As a first activity a checklist of quality indicators should be developed and then employed to assess and improve the quality and usability of each item already developed and, time permitting, allow for the development of new items to fill the gaps in the coverage of the MLC, formats, difficulty levels and skills.

  • Concerted efforts need to be made to ensure that training does not stop with the trainers but goes down to the school and classroom level.
  • Training does not end on the last day of the workshop. For the next stage the project should also provide more school and classroom based support to trained teachers to help them implement what they have learned in the training. A monitoring and support guide has already been developed but it appears has not fully made use of. This guide should be extended to provide some structured ideas and resources for trainers and school leaders to use with teachers, such as how to develop and implement school based CPD programmes for teachers.
  • Education and schools are a system and weaknesses in the quality of the teaching force are often exacerbated by shortcomings in other areas of the education system such as school management. The project should adopt a whole school approach and engage more with school leaders (specifically school principals) to improve their understanding and capacity to better support quality teaching and learning in schools in a decentralized system.
  • Education officials need to be more fully involved in the project activities so that they can effectively support it. Rather than handing over responsibility for the teacher training immediately and wholly to the trainers and woredas, the project needs to consider developing and implementing a transition strategy, which ensures that teachers are trained.

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Report information






Ministry of Education


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