Advancing the Sustainable Development Goal for Education Through Developmentally Informed Approaches to Measurement

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Abstract: While the past decade has seen increased global efforts to develop reliable and valid measures of developmental phenomena for use in diverse populations within and across countries, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and in particular the education goal (SDG4) have revealed a dearth of meaningful and valid measures and indicators to monitor countries’ progress toward achieving the 10 SDG4 targets. Developmental science can a) inform the choice of outcomes, processes, and mechanisms that yield the greatest promise in advancing countries ability to formulate solutions; and b) provide guidance on how to measure educational phenomena to ensure maximum policy relevance. Moving forward, developmental science will need to provide rigorous evidence on measures that incorporate the principles of bioecological frameworks on human development and learning to capture the complexity of the multi-level, multi-dimensional, dynamic processes of development and learning that are relevant to achieving SDG4. The chapter concludes with specific recommendations for how developmental scientists can ensure that their research is directly relevant to and can best support the SDG process.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Developmental Science and Sustainable Development Goals for Children and Youth