Washington Group Blog

Learning Lessons From Using The Washington Group Questions In Education Programming

2nd November 2018


How Can Administrative Data Be Used For Collecting Data On Disability?

9th October 2018

Administrative data have been suggested as a means to analyze the prevalence of disability as well as for disaggregating outcomes, such as employment or poverty, by disability status. This blog discusses the problems with taking this approach, and the conditions necessary for using such data for these purposes.


Why The Washington Group Questions Ask About ‘Difficulties’ And Not ‘Disabilities’- How A Single Word Can Make A Difference.

2nd October 2018

Asking people on surveys if they have a disability leads to underestimates of disability prevalence. As this blog explains, the preferred strategy is to ask about difficulties in functioning. This is the approach of the Washington Group questions.


Disability And Data: Need For Numbers And Narratives

1st August 2018

Persons with disabilities have remained largely invisible in data collection efforts. Therefore, commitments to adopt questions developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics at the Global Disability Summit are noteworthy. Numbers alone, however, cannot tell the whole story. We need to harness the potential of integrating quantitative and qualitative evidence in order to effectively respond to the lived realities of persons with disabilities and their families.


Why Include The WG Questions On Both Surveys And The Census?

15th May 2018

Censuses and surveys have different strengths and weaknesses. Including the Washington Group questions on both can can leverage the power of both instruments to provide even more meaningful analyses of the prevalence and impact of disability on people’s lives.


What We Know (And The Great Deal We Don’t) About Education And Disability

4th April 2018

A new paper from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), Education and Disability, presents the first in-depth analysis of available data for 49 countries. It confirms that persons with disabilities are less likely to ever attend school, more likely to be out of school and that they tend to have fewer years of education than persons without disabilities.


Why Global Health And Functioning Indicators Like The GALI Are Not Suitable For Disaggregation

10th March 2018

This blog explains why the single question on disability linked to participation that some countries have proposed, known as the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI), is not appropriate for disaggregating SDG indicators by disability.


Disability Data For Effective Policy Design: Reflections From The TEACH Project In Pakistan

26th February 2018

As part of the Teaching All Children Effectively (TEACH) project the University of Cambridge and IDEAS, Pakistan used the Washington Group’s Child Functioning Module for children aged 5 to 17 years. They collected data across 1050 households in 3 districts of Punjab province. The findings note some important results, particularly in relation to education, which was a key focus of the TEACH project.


The Washington Group Questions And The Disability Continuum

24th January 2018

Data based on the Washington Group questions can be used in different ways to get at the diversity among persons who report a range of difficulties in functioning. The difficulties can be conceptualized and measured on a continuum or spectrum of severity from ‘no difficulty’ to ‘unable to do’. Prof. Mitra’s work explores this continuum using data from Africa.


Data To Leave No One Behind And The Washington Group

11th November 2017

This blog from Development Initiatives discusses how the Washington Group questions advance the goal of using data to leave no one behind. It describes challenges and opportunities to measuring disability through major international statistics program.


Should The Washington Group Questions Determine If Difficulties Are Long-term Or Short-term?

19th October 2017

This blog explains the reasoning behind the lack of any explicit mention of whether an activity limitation is long-term or short-term in the Washington Group Questions and the trade-offs for including such a clause..


Training On How To Ask “Disability” Questions On Censuses And Surveys

10th October 2017

This blog entry provides information on how to train interviewers for dealing with disability in either surveys or censuses. It addresses both the particular issues of asking about disability, and also things to consider when interviewing people with disabilities for any survey.


Basic Guide To Sampling For Disability Surveys

9th August 2017

This blog discusses some basic guidance on how to determine an appropriate sample size for surveys collecting information on people with disabilities. Sample size depends on the purpose of the analysis, the intended degree of disaggregation, and the level of accuracy desired.


Using The Washington Group Questions To Monitor Inclusion Of Persons With Disabilities In Nepal, Cameroon, India And Guatemala

24th July 2017

Researchers at the  International Centre for Evidence in Disability used the Washington Group tools to estimate the prevalence of disability and its relation to outcomes like education and employment in Cameroon, Guatemala, India, and Nepal. They find significant evidence that people with disabilities are more likely to be excluded.


Cognitive Interviewing For The Washington Group

12th June 2017

Writing effective questions that produce reliable data requires testing. Cognitive interviewing is an important methodology for making sure that respondents are interpreting the questions as they are intended.


The Washington Group Questions In Action: Six Lessons Sightsavers Has Learned So Far…

1st June 2017

A follow-up to Sightsaver’s previous blog entry in this series, this entry explains the key findings from using the Washington Group questions in a programmatic setting: words matter, education on the WG Short Set is essential, practice makes perfect, inclusive data collection generates demand, and intersectionality is critical.


Does The WG-SS Identify All People With Disabilities, And Does It Matter?

24th May 2017

The WG-SS identifies most people with disabilities. While 6 questions cannot identify everyone, the population identified by the WG-ss is well-understood, appropriate, and valuable for many purposes – including monitoring the CRPD and SDG disaggregation by disability.


Everybody Counts: Putting The Washington Group Questions Into Action

11th May 2017

Sightsavers recounts their efforts to use the WG-SS in a programmatic setting in several developing countries. They found it made an enormous difference in their ability to identify people with disabilities.


How Does The WG-SS Differ From Disability Eligibility Determination?

5th May 2017

The WG-SS goes beyond identifying those who would be eligible for specific disability programs. This blog explores the difference between identifying people with disabilities for statistical purposes and disability eligibility determination for social protection programs.


Washington Group Questions And The Sustainable Development Goals

1st March 2017

The WG-SS questions are designed in a manner – both conceptually and practically – that makes them an excellent tool for disaggregating SDG indicators by disability.


Translating The Washington Group Short Set Questions

21st February 2017

Responses to surveys are very sensitive to how questions are worded. This blog summarizes the methodology recommended by the WG for translating the WG question sets in a manner that preserves the reliability of the data collected.


How Are The Washington Group Questions Consistent With The Social Model Of Disability?

23rd January 2017

The social model of disability is a complex model that incorporates the interaction between people’s functional limitations and barriers in the environment. This blog entry explains how the social model informed the development of the WG questions and explains how the questions flow from it, and how they can be used in analysis consistent with the social model.