Supporting Holistic and Actionable Research in Education

Funded by: USAIDDate Range: 2020 - 2025Project Lead: Pulte InstituteNotre Dame Collaborators: Institute for Educational InitiativesContact: Tom Purekal

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  • A five-year cooperative agreement (2020-2025) between USAID and the University of Notre Dame that advances global education priorities to improve learning outcomes.

  • SHARE conducts primary research internationally in partnership with locally based research institutions with a commitment to capacity exchange. SHARE leverages the demonstrated strengths of local partners while offering partners the opportunity to strengthen research capacities through mentorship and accompaniment.

  • It fortifies linkages between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to ensure research is designed to meet the knowledge needs of decision-makers and promote the movement of evidence to action, creating transformational change in educational and research landscapes.
  • SHARE is active in 19 Lower-Middle Income Countries (LMICs) around the world, with an aim to identify transferable findings & recommendations to inform educational development on a global scale.

Press Release: Notre Dame receives $40 million federal award to improve global education outcomes

SHARE Studies overview

Core Studies

To date, SHARE has launched 4 multi-country core studies, across 12 countries, which seek to identify transferable educational policy recommendations. In 2024, SHARE plans to begin a second round of studies, further advancing global education learning priorities from the newly revised Foundational Skills and Education in Crisis & Conflict learning agendas, as well as the Higher Education and Youth Workforce Development learning agendas.

Buy-In Studies

Additionally, SHARE is currently conducting 11 buy-in studies, which provide highly specialized, technical research assistance to design and implement education evaluation and learning tasks in support of country-specific priorities. These country-specific studies also contribute to USAID‘s global learning priorities in education.


SHARE also produces Learning Products that both advance global learning priorities and offer guidance to USAID and other education researchers and implementers. Currently, SHARE is advancing 4 distinct workstreams, with several more planned for 2024.


Contextually Relevant Emotional and Social Wellbeing Tools (CREST): CREST is conducting research on socio-emotional learning skills and teacher wellbeing that is grounded in the perspectives of teachers, children, and caregivers. Study locations: Colombia*, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia.

Language of Instruction Transition in Education Systems (LITES): The LITES study seeks to fill knowledge gaps in language acquisition by generating evidence surrounding language of instruction transitions and their relationship to learners’ first and second-language literacy skills. Study Locations: Philippines, Senegal, Kenya, Mali*, Rwanda*.

Learning to Improve Book Resource Operational Systems (LIBROS): The LIBROS study explores the underlying conditions that improve book supply chains and identify policy and practice pathways to strengthen the primary education level book supply chains in low- and middle-income countries. Study locations: Cambodia, Honduras, Rwanda.

Higher Education Institutions Generating Holistic and Transformative Solutions (HEIGHTS): The HEIGHTS study is conducting research in two thematic areas: Financial Sustainability and Innovation Ecosystems. Study locations: Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines.

Financial Sustainability (FS): This study will produce evidence-informed strategies that can facilitate financial sustainability in higher education systems. Innovation Ecosystems (IE): This study explores how higher education institutions can positively influence an innovation ecosystem through a variety of roles while also considering resources, relationships, and social norms.

* Indicates a core study buy-in


On-Going Studies:

Basic Education Quality and Transition (BEQT) Impact Evaluation: Measures BEQT’s influence on improving the transition rate from sixth grade to lower secondary school and the contributing factors. Guatemala

Advancing Partnerships for Improved Learning (APIL) Impact Evaluation: Assesses the APIL Activity's effectiveness in improving student learning outcomes, sustaining low cost private schools (LCPSs) as viable businesses, and strengthening linkages between LCPSs, the Government of Ghana, and relevant professional networks. Ghana

Higher Education Portfolio Evaluation: Strengthening Higher Education Access in Malawi Activity (SHEAMA); Strengthening Teacher Education and Practice (STEP); Transforming Higher Education Systems (THES). All three activities broadly focus on improving access to higher education, strengthening institutional capacity via the quality of options for delivery of education, and by strengthening linkages between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other stakeholders. The results will inform USAID/Malawi’s higher education programming, with focus on strengthening the delivery of quality higher education, access, and governance. Malawi

Deaf Education Language of Instruction Transitions in Education Systems (DELITES): Examines the factors at the school and classroom levels that contribute to improved signed language and second-language literacy skills in deaf learners, among other desired outcomes. Malawi, the Philippines & Rwanda

Completed Studies:

Low Cost Private Schools (LCPS) Assessment: Assessed the sustainability, accessibility, and quality of LCPSs. Ghana

Inclusive Education Diagnostic Study: A rapid systems diagnostic study which assessed the status and quality of education for children with disabilities. Uzbekistan

Non-State School Assessment (NSSA): Assessed the quality and level of access to non-state, pre-primary, and primary schools in urban areas. Uganda

LAC Education Learning Agenda: Developed an educational learning agenda to identify and prioritize future regional research needs. Latin America & the Caribbean

Transition-to-English Plus (T2E+) Impact Evaluation: Considered the T2E+ program’s impact on reading outcomes as part of the language of instruction transition efforts. Ghana

Local Scholarship Program (LSP) for Non-Public Universities Performance Evaluation: Evaluated the LSP for Non-Public Universities to better understand how the program enhanced higher education achievement and post-graduation outcomes of Egyptian university students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Egypt

READ II Evaluation and Diagnostic of the Education Context: Studied the progress of USAID/Ethiopia’s Reading for Ethiopia’s Achievement Developed (READ) II Activity in the conflict- and crisis-affected areas of Afar and Amhara. Ethiopia


Receptive and Expressive Language Module (RELM): The main objective of the RELM is to assess pertinent aspects of receptive and expressive language skills in students in pre-primary and primary grades across low- and middle-income countries. The RELM examines key components of students' linguistic abilities and how these relate to reading competency. The RELM toolkit, including an adaptation guide and training materials, will be finalized after two rounds of piloting of all tools. Kenya, Mozambique, the Philippines & Rwanda

Applied Ecosystem Diagnostic Toolkit: The toolkit equips the education development sector with practical, step-by-step guidance for conducting system mapping to inform a more localized program design. It identifies existing assumptions during project inception and/or provides mid-point assessments of the intervention’s effectiveness at address root causes. This toolkit is not a primer on systems thinking but rather a practical guide to assist practitioners, who already have a level of familiarity with systems thinking and complexity-aware research/programming, in applying those concepts to their work.

Learning Agenda Refresh: SHARE is leading the Learning Agenda Refresh process for USAID-Center for Education’s Foundational Skills (FS) and Education in Crisis and Conflict (EiCC) learning agendas.

USAID’s current FS and EiCC learning agendas were developed prior to the 2018 USAID Education Policy. Since then, some questions have been addressed to varying degrees while new priorities have emerged. Additionally, SHARE recognizes that the learning agendas of donor organizations may not always align with the learning priorities of local-level institutions. As such, SHARE is working with USAID Missions, subject matter experts, implementing partners, and local-level institutions to refresh these learning agendas, determining USAID’s global education research priorities for the next five years. SHARE’s process acknowledges the new body of knowledge, global learning needs, and the value of local voices in informing learning agendas.

Evidence Ecosystem Diagnostic Toolkit: This toolkit offers a detailed guide for planning and implementing participatory activities in ecosystem diagnostics. It addresses challenges, adaptations, and insights from the SHARE Ecosystem Diagnostic Process. Aimed at enhancing participatory efforts using a systems thinking approach, it underscores the importance of stakeholders in complex systems. Rooted in the recognition that stakeholders are integral, the toolkit encourages human-centered, holistic initiatives that preserve and utilize local knowledge, providing a framework for similar initiatives that may benefit from a systems thinking approach.

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