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SABER - About
Service Delivery

SABER Service Delivery is a new initiative that builds upon two programs the World Bank: SABER (Systems Approach for Better Education Results) and the SDI (Service Delivery Indicators) tools. The survey tool was conceived to better understand the quality of education service delivery in a country as well as gaps in policy implementation.

The SABER SD tool builds on the evidence base and captures policy implementation measures from the core SABER domains of School Autonomy and Accountability, Student Assessment, Teachers, Finance, and Education Management Information Systems, and Education Resilience. The new instrument collects data at the school level and enables analysis on: (i) teacher effort and ability, (ii) principal leadership, (iii) school governance, management, and finances, (iv) community participation, (v) classroom observation, and (vi) student performance in math and language.

The Structure of the Instrument

The SABER Service Delivery (SABER SD) instrument consists of six modules.

Module of Instrument

Module Title


Module 1

School Information

Collects basic school information (location, type of school, etc.), state of the facility (including sanitation, school safety), student enrollment per grade and information about school hours and shifts.

Module 2

Teacher and Principal Roster

Collects a staff roster of all teachers at the school, captures principal and teacher characteristics, as well as information about teacher pay, training, jobs other than teaching.

Module 3

Governance, Management and Finance

Collects in-depth information about principal characteristics, school management practices, including school funding sources, school and student assessments conducted, supervision visits, school management committees, and more.

Module 4

Classroom Observation

A classroom observation of a Grade 4 language or math class that assesses teacher delivery of a lesson. The module also captures information about available student teaching supplies, classroom conditions and other teacher-student interactions, and conducts a brief interview with the teacher at the end.

Module 5

Student Assessment

Assesses student performance from the same classroom that was observed, up to 10 students in both mathematics and language.

Module 6

Teacher Assessment

Assesses teacher performance in two areas: content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Two part test administered to relevant teachers.

To further enhance the SABER SD instrument, the team is working with outside expertise to improve and make more globally relevant the modules on classroom observation, student assessment, and teacher assessment.

Why Should I Use SABER Service Delivery?

Some of the added contributions of the survey include the following:

  • Allows policy-makers to have a quick but comprehensive overview of their education system
  • Complements research of existing SABER domains to deepen the knowledge and understanding of a range of areas in the education system
  • Allows for identification of breakdowns in policy implementation at various levels of government
  • Provides metrics to assess the quality of education service delivery in a country
  • Links gaps in policy and policy implementation to real consequences in the classroom
  • Provides information and accountability for the education system as a whole
  • Data collected could help bridge dialogue among financiers, policy-makers and frontline education service providers
  • An additional plus - if your country has benchmarked policy using SABER, the SABER Service Delivery provides information on the implementation of those policies at the school level.

What it Measures

With information collected through the SABER SD instrument, we are able to draw information on the six indicators outlined below, as well as a multitude of sub-indicators that fall under these categories.

  1. What providers know
    • Their knowledge and ability
  2. What providers do
    • Provider effort, absenteeism
  3. What providers have to work with
    • Availability of key inputs, materials and physical facility
  4. School leadership and management
    • Principal characteristics
    • Depth of participation SMCs, school councils
    • Budget and personnel autonomy
  5. Teacher support system
    • Professional development, evaluation and feedback, regular pay
  6. Information for accountability and decision-making
    • School assessment and student assessment, sharing of results

The SABER SD survey tool helps us to identify bottlenecks to quality education service delivery. We can do this by analyzing the data collected at the school level on: (i) teacher effort and ability, (ii) principal leadership, (iii) school governance, management, and finances, (iv) community participation, (v) classroom observation, and (vi) student performance in math and language.

Pilot Countries (FY17)
Working with the Lao PDR government and local stakeholders, the SABER SD team is in the process of collecting data using the SABER SD modules in a nationally representative sample of 200 schools. The data collection comes at a critical time tying into the work being conducted in the Lao PDR Education Sector Development Plan 2016-2020 and the current Second Global Partnership for Education project, which emphasizes support to school-based management and improvement in teaching and learning of reading.

A benchmarking of the country's policies supporting school-based management was completed earlier in the year through the application of the SABER School Autonomy and Accountability Policy Intent tool. The collection of data from the SABER SD tool will be able to build on information collected through the policy benchmarking. School level data collection using the SABER SD instrument will enable the identification of the gaps between the policy benchmark and implementation of those school-based management policies.

The strata being considered in Lao PDR are urban/rural schools, single-grade/multi-grade schools, complete/incomplete schools and GPE 2 project priority/non-priority districts (priority districts are those classified as economically disadvantaged).


SABER SD is also being conducted in Afghanistan based on two key research interests. First, With an aim to conduct a comprehensive analysis of issues facing teachers in Afghanistan, the SABER SD instrument is well-suited to collect the necessary data on student performance, school management, teacher attendance, and teacher management.

Second, to better understand of how instructional time is used in Afghan classrooms, the classroom observation module will collect information to assess teacher practices, capture student learning conditions, and understand classroom dynamics of time-on-task. This will provide essential input to enhance teacher-training programs, as well as improve monitoring and evaluation practices.

The strata being considered in Afghanistan are co-educational/single sex schools, and schools based in the central/North/South/East areas of Afghanistan.

How to get started with SABER Service Delivery
There are a few key items that country teams should be confident they have before considering implementation of the tool:

  • A list of all primary schools in the country
    • The SABER Service Delivery sampling strategy requires a countrywide list of all primary schools for the sample frame with specific details about each school.
  • A capable local survey firm.
    • A local survey firm will need to be contracted to aid in implementation of the survey and data collection. It is important to consider the capacity for this in the country setting.

The SABER Service Delivery Survey Toolkit
The survey toolkit includes:

  • A list of all primary schools in the country
  • The survey instrument (all six master modules)
  • The field manual for survey implementation
  • A sample TORs for contracting a local survey firm
  • The fieldwork weekly reporting template
  • Methodological documentation

The toolkit is a work in progress while we are completing the piloting of the SABER SD instrument. Some items are complete and all SABER SD tools and manuals are intended to be publically available online. Please check back soon for links to our updated survey toolkit