In 2018, the British Asian Trust and UBS Optimus Foundation built a new investment instrument, known as Quality Education India Development Impact Bonds (QEI - DIB), of $11 million to invest in select non-profits and social enterprises for improving quality of education in India. GMI was selected as an independent, third-party outcomes assessor to set targets for learning outcomes and determine whether implementing organisations have met targets.

Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) are an innovative financing technique in the social impact sector where financial returns are linked to measurable development goals. This reorients organisations to focus on outcomes over inputs through financial incentives. The DIB Investor Steering Committee directed the investment to three implementing organisations:

  • Gyan Shala

  • Society for All Round Development

  • Kaivalya Education Foundation

Findings from these evaluations will be used to improve impact metrics for the implementing NGOs and ensure future funding to scale the interventions.


Assessment Snapshot in Year 1









The challenge

The outcomes assessor is at the fulcrum of the DIB design playing a crucial role in moving such innovations forward. The challenges in this case were:

  • Each of these organisations is unique in the nature of their intervention, financial cost per child and the level of participation. GMI’s challenge was to design impact assessments customised for each organisation yet comparable across the gamut of learning outcomes

  • Target setting using a combination of data from past impact measurements, secondary research and extrapolation methods is a complex process that involved analytics, education sector expertise and accurate measurement models

  • The biggest challenge was also navigating the multi-stakeholder environment and achieving buy-in for the assessment process and targets with service providers

Expected Outcomes

Assessments are the fulcrum of development impact bonds. Without reliable and accurate  measurement of outcomes,the entire premise of pay-outs based on performance becomes questionable. DIB is pioneering a movement to increase outcome-based funding in the development sector and push the wheel of impact investing faster toward a better future. GMI takes great pride in being a part of such bold and innovative social experiments.

Our Approach

GMI has been chosen as the impact evaluator for this $11 million (DIB), funded by the UBS Foundation in partnership with the British Asian Trust, and the Governments of Delhi & Gujarat.

Bringing in child-centric, best practices

Industry best practises call for Early Childhood Education (ECE) Assessments to be oral as opposed to in writing. GMI drew from the latest theoretical research in psychometrics, using delta-dimensional analysis under the expertise of UC Berkeley’s BEAR center, to adopt a model that would allow oral and written tests to be incorporated into a single scale for comparison. This tool, now called EARN, is unique to GMI, in that it allows one to track growth in learning outcome of children from Grade 1 to 10.

Designing for scalability

GMI automated its reports for partner enterprises, speeding up data processing and output generation. These digital reporting mechanisms weave in scalability into the project, allowing us to analyse and share large datasets across the vast number of stakeholders in the project.  

Setting targets against standardised benchmarks

Every year GMI creates benchmark data for how much a child should know at each grade. GMI gathers a diverse set of data over the course of a year (from all brackets of Affordable Private Schools, government schools across the country) and this can be used as a representative sample against which GMI measures, if there is no comparison group available.

What struck me most about Gray Matters was how they handled the transfer of knowledge with organisations who weren’t well-versed with the technicalities of assessments. They were very patient in answering questions and thorough with sharing their findings from the data they had collected.
— Aditi Banerjee, British Asian Trust

Rely on our assessments to make better decisions with data.

We work with a wide range of clients including funders, social responsibility arms of corporates, schools as well as government and private schools.