The development of education indicators for measuring quality in the English-speaking Caribbean: How far have we come?Evaluation and Program Planning


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Evaluation and Program Planning 48 (2015) 31–46 bec sing f ed the

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Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Evaluation and Pr ev1. Introduction 1.1. The rise of education evaluation in the English-speaking


Education evaluation has become increasingly important in the

English-speaking Caribbean over the past 20 years. This rise in education evaluation studies has been due to Caribbean governments and scholars desiring to assess the outcomes of four key education initiatives that have taken place (Miller, 2000). These initiatives are the 1940s Universal Secondary Education (USE) reform; the 1990 Education for All (EFA) initiative; the 1997 Caribbean Plan of Action for the Early Childhood Education Care and

Development initiative; and the 2001 Organization of Eastern

Caribbean States (OECS) education development program. The 1940s USE began as part of the adult suffrage movement for equity in education. The remaining three initiatives were responses to the

Framework for Action goals outlined by the United Nations conferences in Jomtein, Thailand, 1990 and later, Dakar, Senegal in 2000. All four initiatives in various capacities focus on improving access to education, quality of education, human capital, and institutional capacity. They have also given rise to other successive initiatives such as Foundations for the Future 1991–2000, Pillars for Partnership and Progress 2000–2010, and the OECS Education

Sector Strategy 2012–2021 ( among others. More background on these initiatives can be found in the evaluation reports and studies of Leacock (2009), Miller (2000, 2009), the

World Bank (2002), and at

The evaluations of these initiatives have been overseen by two main entities; special interest groups and local evaluators. Special interest groups provide financial support to this region and work collaboratively with task force units housed in local government ministries to conduct evaluations of these initiatives (Caribbean

Community Secretariat, n.d.; Miller, 2000). The most visible of these special interest groups are the World Bank, United Nations

Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United

Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Inter-American

Development bank (IDB). Others include, but are not limited to,

US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the

Department for International Development (DFID).

Local evaluators also partner with the governments to evaluate these initiatives. The most visible of these are the Caribbean

Development Bank and scholars associated with local universities.

The Caribbean Development Bank conducts evaluations through


Education evaluation


Special interest groups

English-speaking Caribbean

Action 2000–2015 to determine these indicators’ appropriateness to the Caribbean context in measuring education progress. Findings demonstrate that the English-speaking Caribbean has made strides in operationalizing quality input, process, and output indicators; however quality outcome indicators beyond test scores are yet to be realized in a systematic manner. This study also compared the types of collaborative partnerships in conducting evaluation studies used by special interest groups and local evaluators and pinpointed the one that appears most suitable for special interest groups in this region.  2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. * Tel.: +1 6128020144.

E-mail address: 0149-7189/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.The development of education indicator

English-speaking Caribbean: How far h

Anica G. Bowe *

Oakland University, Rochester MI 48309, United States


Article history:

Received 21 December 2013

Received in revised form 8 August 2014

Accepted 17 August 2014

Available online 16 September 2014


Education evaluation has been in response to asses efficiency, and quality o responsible for assessing what is taking place in the the indicators used in the jo ur n al ho m ep ag e: www .e lsfor measuring quality in the e we come? ome increasingly important in the English-speaking Caribbean. This has the progress of four regional initiatives aimed at improving the equity, ucation. Both special interest groups and local evaluators have been progress of education and providing an overall synthesis and summary of lish-speaking Caribbean. This study employed content analysis to examine ducation evaluation studies since the declaration of the Caribbean Plan of ogram Planning ie r . c om / lo cat e/eva lp r og p lan

A.G. Bowe / Evaluation and Program Planning 48 (2015) 31–4632partnership with task force units, local field researchers, and consultant teams (as noted in their Country Assessment Reports, Conversely, scholars generally work in partnership with other local or international scholars and evaluation firms.

With the rise in evaluation studies, their sponsorship, and the government expenditure dedicated toward them, it is of interest to examine the extent to which these evaluation studies appropriately measure education progress in this region and, consequently, accurately represent the state of education. This study is designed to address this gap in knowledge regarding the validity and utility of the indicators used in these evaluation studies. By doing so, this study addresses the conclusiveness of what we currently know about education progress in this region.

Miller (2000) is a key evaluation report that summarizes education progress in the English-speaking Caribbean since the 1990 United Nations conference in Jomtein, Thailand. In response to this conference, the Caribbean member states had decided to improve the quality of basic education and increase access to early education and secondary education (Miller, 2000). Miller pointed out that a major limitation to evaluation studies up to that time point (that is, between 1990 and 1999) was that the indicators used to measure education progress were primarily quantitative and focused more on access to education at all levels rather than the qualitative aspects of education such as the systematic evaluation of interventions, physical conditions of primary schools, and teacher professional training. This was a limitation to evaluating education progress in this region because during that time the English-speaking Caribbean’s focus was on quality as well as access. Therefore, according to Miller, the indicators up to that time did not fully measure the priorities of the region.