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What is an EGRA?

An Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) measures children’s pre-reading and reading skills. It is typically used with children in Kindergarten through Grade 8. EGRA tests children’s skill at different subtasks they need to learn, such as letter names and letter sounds, to be able to read fluently. The test is typically administered by a teacher or implementer one-on-one with a child.

Learn more about EGRA

Does EGRA have a "total score"?

The Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) does not have a single score from a combination of the EGRA subtasks. There are a few specific justifications for this:

  • The EGRA is a diagnostic assessment of early literacy, so a single score presents a loss of information and interpretability compared with the subtasks.
  • The EGRA subtasks are dependent on each other or build on each other. For example, competence in phonics and familiar words leads to, eventually, competence in oral reading fluency. Consequently, how to weight the subtasks to create a single score is open to question.

If you have to focus on a single score as representative of reading competence, we would recommend oral reading fluency (ORF). It is the most familiar subtask, and it also relates to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal indicator 4.1.1 "Proportion of children and young people: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex."

Where can I find metadata?

Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) data from USAID-funded programs (the majority of which are on the EGR Barometer site) is the responsibility of USAID's Development Data Library (DDL). Many of the datasets are not public, so they are less easily accessible, but you can request access to any restricted datasets using this online form: If there are datasets that you know exist and should have been submitted to the DDL, but they are not currently posted, you can email USAID Data Services to ask about their status:

How do I interpret zero scores?

Sometimes children are not able to answer a single question correctly on a given subtask; for example, they may not be able to identify a single letter sound or read a single word. This results in a subtask score of zero. A high proportion of zero scores will cause the distribution of scores to skew right (positively skewed data) and lower the mean score.

Learn more about zero scores

What is Sustainable Development Goal 4.1?

On September 25, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Goal 4, which focuses on education, asks countries to "ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes." Among the indicators used to track progress toward this goal is the percentage of children/young people: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics. Disaggregation should be by sex, location, wealth (and others where data are available).

Who maintains the EGR Barometer?

The Early Grade Reading (EGR) Barometer website was developed by RTI International (RTI) in conjunction with and under the direction of the USAID Bureau for Asia. This website is funded by USAID and is actively managed by the USAID Improving Learning Outcomes for Asia project, implemented by RTI International. Since 2014, RTI has maintained the EGR Barometer and collaborated with USAID to redesign the site in 2021.

What is the process for adding data to the EGR Barometer?

If your organization is interested in adding a dataset to the Early Grade Reading (EGR) Barometer, please contact

Can EGRA results be used to compare results across languages and countries?

Preparation of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) instrument for use in a particular country generally involves some adaptation, including translation into the language of instruction. It is important to recognize that this translation limits our ability to make EGRA performance comparisons across countries or languages. Research on reading acquisition indicates that while all children move through the same stages when learning to read, the rate at which they move through them differs by language (and the degree to which these languages vary in their orthographic complexity). In addition, technical standards for making such comparisons require evidence that translation and other adaptations do not change the difficulty level of the EGRA and hence the meaning of the scores across systems. Despite the challenge of comparing results across countries and languages, finding out at which grade children are typically "breaking through" to literacy, and comparing these grades across countries or regions, will be a useful analytical and policy exercise.

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