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La Educación
Número: (116) III
Año: 1993

12. UNESCO/OREALC. Medición de la calidad de la educación básica: ¿Porqué, cómo y para qué? Una demanda sobre el mejoramiento de la calidad y las nuevas demandas de información. Vol. I. Santiago de Chile: PPE, 1992. 90 p., notes, tables, index.

This is the first of three volumes published as part of a study on the quality of education in Latin America. It considers the reasons for measuring quality in basic education from a double perspective: first, from within the system, by centering attention on what children achieve in learning at school and, secondly, from the system’s organizational point of view, by improving the quality of education currently provided in the majority of the Region’s schools.

The text is structured into four chapters. The first analyzes the main ideas that have been developed and disseminated in Latin America regarding the quality of education in the last decade, and discusses the principle topics associated with the challenges of upgrading the quality of education. The second chapter offers the results of a review of Latin American experiences in measuring performance and the results of research on the variables that influence scholastic achievement by giving special emphasis to those aspects that can be modified and controlled at the school level. The third describes and explains the measuring instruments designed for this proposal, among which are a group of tests to measure students’ achievements in their first four years of basic education in language and math, and questionnaires for directors, teachers and family members, to gather information on the different aspects of the educational process that influence the performance of both students and teachers. The fourth and final chapter offers general guidelines for the design and application of quality measuring systems, and distinguishes four major phases: motivation, the adequacy of the measuring instruments, the measurement and processing of information, and the dissemination of results and definition of guidelines for action.

The proposal supports that motivation for national quality measuring systems, the dissemination of results, their public discussion, and guidelines for “corrective” action are as important as the measuring and processing of the information. Thus, it concludes by stating that the measurement of the quality of education can be of service only if it is conceived as part of a communication and decision making system in which all the persons involved in educational activities participate. It should be noted that this book can be of assistance not only to specialists in the measurement and improvement of quality programs, but also to educational agents since it aims to propose and disseminate an evaluative culture that could well begin at the level of teacher training.

Mónica G. Luque