SABER highlights key policy choices for government officials and decision makers. The SABER data collection and analysis in each domain are built around an analytical framework that highlights for policymakers and other actors the most important (and actionable) policy choices to spur learning. Each analytical framework is based on an in-depth survey of the most reliable global evidence especially from impact evaluations and other rigorous research, and the experience of leading experts.

SABER provides new data on policies and institutions. In each national or subnational education system it covers, SABER collects comparable, well-defined, disaggregated data on policies and institutions. These data—on hundreds of system features—are made publicly available to allow all governments, researchers, and other stakeholders to learn from them.

SABER assesses and benchmarks education policies and institutions. SABER also uses these new data to assess the level of development of policies and institutions in specific subsystems, or domains, of each education system.

Each policy area is rated on a four-point scale, from “Latent” to “Emerging” to “Established” and “Advanced.” These ratings, which are summarized in country reports, highlight a system’s areas of strength and weakness and also help to identify other systems to learn from. In each domain, SABER collects and analyzes policy data using an approach aimed at ensuring rigor and cross-country comparability. The foundation for data collection is the “What Matters” paper—a thorough review of the global evidence that identifies the policies and institutions that matter most for promoting learning for all. Based on this analytical framework, each domain team creates a rubric for assessing progress toward the key policy goals identified by the “What Matters” paper, and a questionnaire for collecting policy data. Data are collected in-country by local experts and verified through discussions with government counterparts before they are used for country reports and made available publicly.

An education system has a range of actors, including students and parents, teachers and principals, policy makers, and many others whose involvement in the system affects how well it functions. It also has a set of laws, rules, and regulations that structure the system and the relationships within it.  Using a systems approach in education means that the focus goes beyond inputs to the system, with the understanding that strengthening an education system requires aligning its governance, management, financing, and performance incentive mechanisms to ensure that students learn. Systems thinking can shed light on how parts of a system can be optimized, including the results chain and related feedback loops that enable the system to achieve desired results. There is widespread agreement that education delivers skills that underpin students’ future learning. These skills lead to greater social and financial mobility, increasing one’s income and ultimately affecting a country’s economic growth and development. There is far less agreement, however, on the education policies and programs most likely to create quality learning environments and improve student performance, especially among disadvantaged students. SABER is further identifying and assessing the education policies that matter most in helping countries achieve education results. By analyzing policy intent within several policy areas—from early childhood development to teachers to engaging the private sector—SABER informs critical dialogue at the policy level, which then impacts learning at the school level. SABER is part of the feedback loop that ensures all education systems, especially those that serve the poorest and most marginalized students, are achieving the results needed to boost learning worldwide.

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