Publication Date



Developing countries, Educational assessment, Educational development, Impact studies, International programs, Large scale assessment, Learning progressions, Lower primary years, Lower secondary years, Mathematics achievement, Measurement, Monitoring (Assessment), Partnerships in education, Program evaluation, Reading achievement, Upper primary years


This paper was developed in 2019 as a contribution by the GEM Centre in support of the UIS-led Global Alliance for the Monitoring of Learning (GAML). The original version was revised in August 2021 to incorporate changes suggested by ACER at the sixth meeting of GAML, and approved by UIS later that year. It has been further revised in 2022 in light of its use in the International Standard Setting Exercise (February–March 2022) of the GEM Centre.


This document draws together work from several initiatives to establish Minimum Proficiency Levels (MPLs) for reading and mathematics, for global use in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goal in Education, SDG 4.1, with a specific focus on indicator 4.1.1. Three educational levels are referred to in this paper as ‘end of lower primary’, ‘end of primary’ and ‘end of lower secondary’. The MPLs are described and elaborated in four ways: nutshell statements; expanded statements; domains, constructs and descriptors; and sample items. A detailed account of the history and evolution of the Minimum Proficiency Levels is provided in Appendix A

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Victoria


Australian Council for Educational Research