Rosetta Stone Project

The objective of the Rosetta Stone to link together assessments, which have been administered in the recent past, to build concordance tables to compare their outcomes to and benchmark national results to those of the regional assessments. This method enables countries to measure SDG 4 indicator 4.1.1.

In a first effort to implement this approach and establish concordance tables, the regional assessments of ERCE and PASEC are linked to two international assessments of IEA, namely TIMSS (for mathematics) and PIRLS (for reading). All countries participating to these regional assessments will subsequently be able to freely use concordance tables and benchmark their national results to those of the regional assessments.



Project implementation

To this day, the Rosetta Stone approach has been implemented in two regions of the world: in Latin American and the Caribbean using ERCE, and in Africa with PASEC.


ERCE - Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study

ERCE is a regional assessment conducted in 19 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It measures students’ achievement in the sixth grade.1 The content of ERCE is expected to align well with the TIMSS fourth grade assessments in numeracy and mathematics; and the reading component of ERCE is expected to align with the PIRLS fourth grade assessment in literacy and reading comprehension.

The overarching goal is to construct a concordance table in which the scores from ERCE in mathematics and reading equates the scores from TIMSS and PIRLS, respectively. The concordance tables represent the “Rosetta Stone”, providing a translation between countries’ ERCE results and the TIMSS and PIRLS achievement scales. Countries participating in ERCE will be able to use the tables to determine the percentage of their students expected to reach the TIMSS and PIRLS international benchmarks or any other benchmarks which can be measured on the TIMSS and PIRLS scales.

A first implementation of the Rosetta Stone methodology was completed in June 2019 by specialists from UNESCO Santiago, IEA Hamburg and Boston College. Three national teams from Chile, Guatemala and Colombia attended a training workshop. In August 2019, Guatemala proceeded with printing of the necessary material, coded the data gathered after the main survey study implementation, and administered the the test as originally scheduled. The national team also gathered instruments and coded open ended questions. The final and remaining step consists of consolidating a database to use for the creation of concordance tables. Colombia is also progressing in the implementation of the project, and the participation of Chile (or another third country) is scheduled for 2020.

The figure below shows the timeline of ERCE for the different participating countries.

* The implementation of the project for Chile has been postponed to 2020.


PASEC - Programme d'analyse des systèmes éducatifs de la confemen

PASEC is also a regional assessment conducted in approximately fifteen countries mainly located in Africa. For the purpose of developing concordance tables with PASEC, testing instruments from PASEC 2019 will be administered in three African countries, in Senegal, Guinea and Burundi, together with those used to create the Rosetta Stone concordance tables, TIMSS and PIRLS, in March and April 2020. Based on the results from the preparatory implementation in Senegal, the most appropriate testing instruments related to the IEA tests (TIMSS and PIRLS) will be determined for the main data collection phase. This phase will consist of the re-administration of all the test instruments from PASEC 2019 in conjunction with a separate test session for TIMSS and PIRLS, the Rosetta Stone instruments. It will be implemented in approximately 100 schools per countries, generating data for approximately 2300 to 2500 students per country.

The data collected from the administration of PASEC assessments will be entered, cleaned, scaled and weighted by the PASEC team, using the same procedures as those used for PASEC 2019. IEA and the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College will then take on the data analysis and will apply necessary procedures for the Item Response Theory (IRT) to establish the links between the evaluations.

The following figure shows the countries participating in the PASEC 2019 assessment and those participating in the creation of concordance tables.


Project timeline

The project implementation steps for both ERCE and PASEC for the assessment’s year of 2019, are shown. For both assessments, the concordance tables are expected in 2021.





1 ERCE also measures achievement in lower grades. However the assessed grade level is different (3rd grade for ERCE).