11:00—12:30 PM ET

Innovations in Phone-Based Assessments to Support Learning

This event is co-hosted by the World Bank and the Center for Global Development (CGD) and features CGD senior fellow David Evans.

Given the spread of COVID-19 around the world, school closures have affected nearly 90% of the world’s learners. Countries have turned to delivering learning content to students and parents through various modalities, including online, TV/radio, and via delivery of hard-copy learning packets. However, many children, parents, and teachers might not have the adequate resources (devices, internet connections, instructional materials, sufficient skills, and/or time) to actively participate in the learning process, resulting in potential severe learning losses that could adversely impact future chances of millions of students around the world. 

In this context, it is essential to support learning continuity by providing students with timely guidance for selection of appropriate remote learning resources that facilitates their movement along their learning trajectory. Learning assessment which is an essential feedback mechanism in the education system   know the status of students’ learning and what their learning needs are as they engage in various forms of remote learning, including in low-resource contexts. One approach being explored is the use of feature mobile (non-smartphone) phones to assess learning and absorption of information. 

This webinar will provide an overview of the latest work being conducted in the area of assessing students through mobile phones (including through SMS/text, call center, and interactive voice-response capabilities), and highlight the key considerations for implementing phone-based assessments for both formative and summative purposes. The webinar will highlight the recent publication “Practical Lessons for Phone-Based Assessments of Learning” by Noam Angrist, Peter Bergman, David K. Evans, Susannah Hares, Matthew C. H. Jukes, and Thato Letsomo (forthcoming in the BMJ Global Health) that shares the results of phone-based assessments in Botswana and provides data on the effectiveness of phone-based assessments for numeracy skills.  

It is envisioned that this webinar will serve as a foundation for subsequent discussions and workshops on the topic of developing phone-based learning assessments including for low-resource contexts.


  • David Evans, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development 
  • Thato Letsomo, Senior Content & Training Manager, Young 1ove, Botswana 
  • Noam Angrist, Co-founder, Young 1ove and WBG Human Capital Index Team 
  • Olga Namen, Researcher, Innovations for Poverty Action


  • Omar Arias, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, World Bank


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