Participation in learning assessments in the developing world, 1960-2009

David H. Kamens, Aaron Benavot


This paper examines annual changes in the participation of developing countries in different kinds of learning assessments over the past three decades. It specifically highlights, and provides initial explanations for, the worldwide spread of national and regional assessments since the mid-1990s. The paper argues that national learning assessments —namely, non-standardized, context-sensitive and non-comparable learning assessments— have become a preferred tool of educational policy makers in many developing countries. The increasing demand for accountability and the relative advantages of national regional assessments, should amplify this trend in coming years, although much depends on the policies of international agencies, NGOs and regional associations that advise and financially support country participation in learning assessments.


assessment; testing; developing countries; globalization; student learning


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Copyright (c) 2019 David H. Kamens, Aaron Benavot


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