I have blogged earlier about why learning outcomes, and not enrolment or retention, have to be the top priority in any meaningful primary school education reform agenda in India. The graphic below highlights how learning outcomes have more or less plataeued off in recent years.
Pratham's ASER assesses learning competency in Math on four parameters - recognition of randomly chosen numbers from one to nine, recognition of randomly chosen numbers between 11 to 99, subtraction of two-digit numerical problems with borrowing and division of three-digit by one-digit numerical problems. In 2010 merely 37% of the children in class III in rural areas could recognise numbers up to 100; just 27% of the students could do two-digit subtraction. The proportion of children reaching the highest test level has consistently declined since 2005 - at least 15% of children in class III in 2005 could perform all the tests, while in 2010 only 9% of them could do so; while 70% of children in Class VIII could reach the highest level in 2005, merely 67% of them could do so in 2010.