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Education and Child Protection
Technical and Policy Resources

Department of Education and Child Protection Publications

Save the Children's education and child-protection programs help children learn, develop and receive a quality education from childhood through young adulthood, and protect children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence in all regions of the world.

Our education programs make it easy for children, their families and community volunteers to participate, even for those who have missed years of schooling or have never been to school, and include lessons that are meaningful to children's lives and local culture. In addition, Save the Children trains teachers, some for the very first time, in new techniques to improve their effectiveness in the classroom. Our child-protection programs focus on the most vulnerable children while aiming for the safety and well-being of all children.

Cross-Cutting Publications

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Bartlett, L., Dowd, A. J., & Jonason, C. (2015). Problematizing early grade reading: Should the post-2015 agenda treasure what is measured? International Journal of Educational Development, 40, 308–314

    Learning emerged as a central theme within post-2015 debates. Central to these efforts were a focus on literacy, and specifically early-grade reading. This article identifies significant challenges raised by the current framing of emergent literacy in international educational development circles. Specifically, we examine how the Early Grade Reading Assessment, or EGRA, one very influential oral reading assessment tool based largely on an American reading assessment called DIBELs, has shaped the educational quality debate in the past decade and what important elements might be missing from this dominant view of reading. To do so, the article first considers the historical development of EGRA. We discuss concerns with the model of reading embedded in EGRA. We then examine the evidence, to date, of the impact of EGRA-informed interventions in places like Liberia, Malawi, and Kenya. The article concludes with implications for the future of literacy and international educational development, especially in light of discussions within the Learning Metrics Task Force to make early grade reading a central indicator of educational quality in the post-2015 agenda.

  • Dowd, A. J., Gustavson, C., & Moran, E. (2014). Excellence or Exit: Transforming Save the Children’s Child Sponsorship Programming. In Child Sponsorship: Exploring Pathways to a Brighter Future (p. 272). Palgrave Macmillan.


  • Dowd, A. J., & Pisani, L. (2013). Two Wheels are Better than One: the importance of capturing the home literacy environment in large-scale assessments of reading. Research in Comparative and International Education, 8(3)

    Children’s reading skill development is influenced by availability of reading materials, reading habits, and opportunity to read. Save the Children’s Literacy Boost data has replicated this finding across numerous developing contexts, but international large-scale reading assessments do not capture detail on current home literacy. The consistent positive association of reading skills with home-based materials and reading habits, and the negative association with chores suggest that in developing contexts, opportunity to read outside the classroom is as important to development of reading skills as opportunity to learn these skills inside the classroom. Without data on home literacy environment, calls for action center only on schools and policies, and thus incompletely address learning and equity. Results of Literacy Boost program evaluations find that participants with reading opportunities outside of schools learned more than non-participating peers. Children from homes without books, without readers and without reading opportunities, as well as struggling girls, benefited more from provision of opportunities to read outside the school than did more advantaged peers. With the same teachers, reading instruction quality, and limited class time, an enhanced home/community literacy environment generated greater learning. Including indicators of home literacy environment alongside skill assessments, whether large scale or small, can best inform effective support for learning and equity.

  • Wagner, D. A., Lockheed, M., Mullis, I., Martin, M. O., Kanjee, A., Gove, A., & Dowd, A. J. (2012). The debate on learning assessments in developing countries. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education

    Over the past decade, international and national education agencies have begun to emphasize the improvement of the quality (rather than quantity) of education in developing countries. This trend has been paralleled by a significant increase in the use of educational assessments as a way to measure gains and losses in quality of learning. As interest in assessment has grown, low-income countries have begun to adopt and adapt international and other assessments for a variety of uses, including the comparability of national quality with other countries, improved ways of measuring reading achievement, and further attempts to reach marginalized populations within a country. The present group of papers provides multiple perspectives on the debate currently underway about the best approaches to create and use learning assessments in low-income countries.