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Translating global evidence into local practice: The Latin American experience

Javier González
Traduction(s) :
De l’évidence mondiale à sa transposition dans les pratiques locales : l’expérience latino-américaine


L’Amérique latine fait face à des défis urgents dans le domaine de l’éducation. Afin de réussir à les relever, elle doit s’attaquer – entre autres problèmes – aux résultats insuffisants et inégalitaires en matière d’apprentissage, au faible niveau des enseignants et à un financement public inadéquat. Faire bon usage des preuves scientifiques rassemblées à l’échelle mondiale est essentiel pour réduire ces écarts en peu de temps. En outre, la recherche universitaire devrait être un vecteur d’innovations susceptibles de proposer un usage efficient et efficace de moyens publics limités. Dans ce contexte, dix ministères de l’éducation et la Banque interaméricaine de développement ont fondé Summa, le premier laboratoire régional d’innovation et de recherche en éducation pour l’Amérique latine et les Caraïbes. L’objectif de Summa est de synthétiser les preuves recueillies à l’échelle mondiale, de les inscrire dans les contextes locaux, de susciter des recherches pertinentes à travers ses réseaux de chercheurs et de promouvoir leur dissémination et leur utilisation par les gouvernements, les établissements scolaires et les enseignants. Cet exposé présentera les principales réussites ainsi que les principaux défis rencontrés dans cette entreprise de transposition de preuves réunies à l’échelle mondiale en pratiques locales.

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1The presentation will share the Latin American experience (achievements, difficulties and challenges), through the case study of SUMMA, a regional evidence hub promoting the use of evidence to guide and improve macro educational policies and micro school-level pedagogical practices.

The Latin American experience: SUMMA as a case study

2There is an urgent need to advance in the promotion of novel and effective solutions to improve the quality of learning and promote greater inclusion and equity in Latin American education systems. In this context, in 2016 the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), together with the Ministries of Education of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay, and Fundación Chile, promoted the creation of SUMMA.

3Since its establishment, SUMMA, the Laboratory of Education Research and Innovation for Latin America and the Caribbean, has set itself the mission of contributing to increase the quality, equity, and inclusion of the educational systems in the region, through the improvement of the decision-making process regarding evidence-informed educational policies and practices. For this purpose, SUMMA works in the following areas: (a) generating knowledge and evidence through cutting-edge research on key matters of education policy; (b) boosting innovation in education through the promotion of practices that are innovative and have proven effectiveness; and (c) stimulating the collaboration and exchange of knowledge between policymakers, academics, innovators, school leaders, and teachers.

4SUMMA has developed an integrated working model that promotes the mobilization of evidence, through a strategy comprising three dimensions that interact with each other in a virtuous and continuous manner:

  1. systematization of evidence through the collection, classification, and synthesis of knowledge, good practices, and effective innovations;

  2. knowledge generation and innovation in thematic priorities for the region; and

  3. dissemination and scaling up, through policy reports, development of guidelines for the implementation of effective interventions, and collaborative work with the various key actors in the education system (ministries, quality assessment agencies, academia, innovators, principals, and teachers).

5The work carried out so far in the abovementioned dimensions seeks to contribute to educational innovation in the region and considers the following developments:

Systematization of evidence

Map of educational innovations

6Fifty educational innovation initiatives made available to the educational community and decision-makers. These innovations are selected after the evaluation of more than 1,700 highlighted cases worldwide. The map identifies, describes, and disseminates each of these experiences so that they can be adapted locally. Developed in alliance with: WISE, Center for Education Innovation (CEI), Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Fundación Telefónica, Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI-OECD), Global Education Innovation Initiative – Harvard University, and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA).

Educational Practices Platform

7A toolkit that synthesizes global academic evidence on the effectiveness of 33 pedagogical practices at the school level. It brings together more than 10,000 individual studies, through 200 meta-analyses of international evidence. In addition, it contains more than 250 quality studies carried out in Latin America in order to contextualize this synthesis. Its objective is to transform classroom teaching practices in order to improve the quality, equity, and inclusion of education systems. Developed in alliance with the Education Endowment Foundation.

Knowledge generation and innovation

Ecosystems in R&D&i in Latin American education

8A study carried out through a network integrating eight countries that collaborate with SUMMA. The aim of this research is to present a diagnosis and policy proposals to encourage the development of adequate institutional frameworks at the national level for the promotion of research, development and innovation in education. The results of the study will be published, as a book, during the first semester of 2019. Developed in alliance with: CIPPEC – Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (Argentina), CEIPE – Centro de Excelencia e Innovación en Políticas Educacionales (Getulio Vargas Foundation) (Brazil), Educación2020 (Chile), Empresarios por la Educación (Colombia), Grupo Faro (Ecuador), Crefal (Mexico), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and Universidad Católica del Uruguay.

UNESCO comparative study – Global Education Monitoring Report 2020 on Inclusion in Latin America

9In 2020, a new accompanying edition of the UNESCO GEM Report will be introduced, focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean. This regional report will be the result of a partnership between SUMMA and UNESCO, and will address the topic of inclusion. Attention will be paid to the most excluded groups from the education system, according to the following dimensions: vulnerability, rural areas, gender, disability, ethnicity, migration, LGTBI, population deprived of liberty, and young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Laboratory of Experimentation and Innovations in the Field

10SUMMA designs and implements educational programs to pilot and evaluate the impact of highly cost-effective pedagogical strategies and practices. These strategies are identified from global evidence and adapted together with educational communities to local conditions and territorial culture.

11Implementation is carried out through school networks. This component aims to provide cost-effective, contextualized programs to be adequately transferred and scaled up by each country’s Ministry of Education. For example, from 2019 to 2024, SUMMA, together with partner institutions, will invest USD$ 4 million on creating a network of schools piloting effective collaborative learning strategies in low-income neighborhoods in the north of Chile.

Process, monitoring, and impact evaluations

12SUMMA has a unit for process, monitoring, and impact evaluations of innovative educational programs. This component provides information on the cost-effectiveness of interventions and generates relevant evidence for decision-makers.

Dissemination and scaling up


13SUMMA has promoted the creation of a virtual Latin American platform to foster collaboration with an impact in education policy. It seeks to promote the development of a fertile ecosystem of collaboration among actors from the public sector, private sector, and civil society, to accelerate educational improvement in the region. Created in 2018, it currently includes more than 200 Latin American member organizations and 500 individual practitioners and researchers from the region.

Regional seminars and workshops

14Since 2017, SUMMA has promoted and been part of more than 21 seminars in different Latin American cities. They have addressed the educational gaps that still exist in Latin America, the challenges that these generate, and the strategies to address them through public policies.


15The presentation will not only present the progress made in the first two years since the creation of SUMMA, but also the difficulties and challenges faced by the organization in order to share useful lessons to be considered by other countries and regions in the world.

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Référence électronique

Javier González, « Translating global evidence into local practice: The Latin American experience », Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres [En ligne], Colloque 2019 : Conditions de réussite des réformes en éducation, mis en ligne le 11 juin 2019, consulté le 23 juillet 2019. URL :

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Javier González

Summa, Chile
Javier González is a development economist specialized in education policy, inequality and social mobility. He is director of SUMMA, affiliated lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and advisory board member of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM). He has been a senior consultant to UNESCO, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank; cabinet advisor on education and innovation policies at the Ministry of Finance of Chile; executive secretary of the Chilean Ministers Council for Advanced Human Capital Formation; director of research at CONICYT; and a researcher at the Ministry of Education. He holds a BA and MA in Economics, and an MPhil and PhD in Development Studies (University of Cambridge).

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