The development of volunteering citizens led survey: Improvements in the survey data quality over time
Jul 27, 11:00
Annual Status of Education Research (ASER) initiative has begun in Pakistan from 2012. It is a nationwide annually administered survey based on a representative sampling technique. The survey has developed in terms of quality and consistency over time. In absence of a national administrative data on schools and children’s academic performance, ASER data has almost become a reference for research and education policy initiatives in Pakistan. The survey generates three large data sets which include information on households, children and schools. Nearly 85,000 households, 250,000 children and 5,000 schools participate in this survey on annual basis.
The data is feasible for understanding the nature and patterns of household poverty in relation with children’s access to schools and their cognitive abilities. However, there are challenges in maximising the use of this information. The interlinkage between the data set is only possible between the household data sets and children’s cognitive assessment. The information on schools cannot be linked with individual children included in the survey. Therefore, it is not possible to conduct analyses such as school segregation, peer-effects and school effectiveness. The sampling frame rotates by including 10 new villages and dropping at least the same number each time. This is a useful sampling strategy to maximise the participation and capture the changes in demographic patterns each year. However, this limits the options for conducting longitudinal analyses at the individual household or children level. It is not possible to measure the changes in household patterns of poverty or improvement in the learning levels of children because the sample is different each year.
In this survey activity, there is a scope of retaining a random sub-group in the sample for assessing longitudinal effects of household poverty, school enrolment and attendance and disaster effected areas. Moreover, there is also a need to improve interlinking of the data sets, which is possible by including one extra question on school information in the assessments for children. The ASER data quality has improved in terms of completeness and consistency of information and the continuity of this activity since last seven years shows that the volunteering citizens led survey technique is a feasible and effective approach in the context of Pakistan.