Developing contextualized assessment tools for life skills and values in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Launched in August 2020, the Assessment of Life Skills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE) project seeks to catalyze the education systems of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to focus on life skills and values. This will be achieved through developing contextualized, open-sourced assessment tools, conducting a large-scale assessment among adolescents aged 13–17, using the evidence to raise public awareness and advocate for system focus, and strengthening local capabilities to assess the complex competences, while nurturing the agency of local experts to amplify voice at the global level. First, a year-long consultative process conducted with members of the Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI) arrived at ‘values and life skills’ as the way to refer to these competences in context and prioritized the measurement of problem solving, collaboration, self-awareness and respect. Second, ALiVE conducted a contextualization study involving 139 adolescents, 136 parents and 119 local experts in 30 villages across the region, yielding a culturally informed, internal understanding of the competences. Third, a lengthy tool development process was adopted to accommodate the development of local capacities. This article presents the contribution of ALiVE to the global SEL conversation, specifically on the ‘why’ and ‘how to’ in contextualizing SEL in varied global contexts.