Alif Ailaan just published a report ranking Pakistan’s districts according to how well they are performing in education. They collect information not only on performance but also policies and practices, and they do so annually. The data can be used to illuminate policies and practices which distinguish the education leaders from the laggards. Importantly, the “better” policies and practices are demonstrably relevant and feasible in the Pakistani context. Other types of benchmarking and report cards (e.g. cross country, single point-in-time) very rarely yield such useful insights. I won’t elaborate here as to why this is so. If it’s not obvious, I suggest you google “complex systems” and “external validity”. I commend Alif Ailaan staff, and their funder, the UK Department for International Development, for this excellent work. I am perplexed as to why it is so rare in both health and education. HT to Harry Patrinos.