In 2011, READ Trust Fund support was used to initiate background work for possible SABER domain on learning standards. The work was put out for competitive bid and ultimately awarded to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Similar to the work carried out on SABER-Student Assessment, the aim was to develop an evidence-based framework and set of tools to benchmark learning standards policies and systems in countries around the world. In 2013, given the close conceptual links between the topics of assessment and learning standards, it was decided to incorporate the work on the latter into the SABER-Student Assessment domain as part of the broader suite of tools and products available in this area.

In 2011, the AIR team completed a report on key characteristics of effective learning standards based on their review of the existing global evidence base and best practices. Subsequently, a set of questionnaires and rubrics were developed that could be used to collect and evaluate data on these aspects of a country’s education system. The tools allow for the collection of data on content, process, and performance standards in the areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. In 2012, the diagnostic tools were piloted, reviewed, and revised and a user’s guide was created to guide the data collection process. These products are being made available as part of the suite of tools under SABER-Student Assessment.