Making progress: Report of the Young Lives school survey in Vietnam

Type Report
Title Making progress: Report of the Young Lives school survey in Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Achieving universal access to good-quality basic education is a key priority for Vietnam, as it
is for other rapidly developing countries. Improving educational opportunities may be
expected to play a role in reducing economic and social inequalities. However, school is only
one set of influences on a child’s learning development, and even in an equitable education
system, home background and contextual influences may perpetuate or widen differences in
learning progress between more and less advantaged pupils.
This report provides new evidence on these issues from Young Lives – a longitudinal study
of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (in the state of
Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam over 15 years ( The analysis
draws on an on-going longitudinal survey of the Young Lives children and their households
conducted since 2002 plus a dedicated school survey carried out during the school year
2011–12. In the school survey, data were collected from 3,284 Grade 5 pupils, in 176 classes
in 56 schools or 92 school sites (when satellite sites are considered separately from the main
school). Children completed a background questionnaire and were tested in mathematics
and Vietnamese at both the start and end of the school year. Each test had 30 multiple
choice questions, designed to test knowledge of the curriculum. Both tests contained a
number of common (anchor) items to enable measurement of progress over the year.
This design makes it possible to answer key questions about children’s learning and learning
progress as well as about the effectiveness of schools and teachers (often referred to as the
‘value-added’ of schooling). The study was conducted in the 20 Young Lives study which are
situated in five selected provinces (Ben Tre, Da Nang, Hung Yen, Lao Cai, and Phu Yen).
The unique combination of longitudinal data about the children and their backgrounds and
the focus on school effectiveness adds to the evidence available from existing crosssectional
studies conducted by MOET and the World Bank, and is the first of its kind in
Specifically, we examine how children’s progress in mathematics and Vietnamese reading
during primary Grade 5 is linked to their schooling and home backgrounds, and how these
factors influence the evolution of ‘learning gaps’.

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