What are the areas for action that the Dashboard should highlight? One way to answer this is to first identify the barriers to learning. The World Development Report 2018 argues that struggling education systems lack one or more of four key school-level ingredients for learning: prepared learners, quality teaching, learning-focused inputs, and the skilled management that pulls them together. But the problems are not just at school level; these deficiencies in service delivery are typically signs of deeper systemic problems. They are driven by policies that are not well designed or implemented to promote learning for all children and youth, and these misalignments in turn reflect problems caused by unhealthy politics or a lack of bureaucratic capacity.
To tackle the learning crisis, achieving and sustaining learning gains at scale, countries need to know where they stand on all three of these dimensions—practices (or service delivery), policies, and politics. The Dashboard starts by focusing attention on early-grade learning and school participation. The next set of indicators measure the quality of practices, focusing on the four key school-level ingredients of student learning: teaching, school management, inputs and infrastructure, and learner preparation. In addition, the dashboard measures deeper systemic drivers: the policies and politics that determine the quality of service delivery. The end goal is to have a set of indicators that is comprehensive but also focused so stakeholders can pay attention to what is really most important.