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EGR Barometer data are from the USAID Education Data for Decision Making (EdData) II Ghana 2013 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). The study was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, and the National Education Assessment Unit.

EGRA Subtasks

An EGRA measures children’s pre-reading and reading skills. The subtasks used in this assessment are described below.

Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)

The oral reading fluency (ORF) subtask measures how quickly and accurately a student can read. It is a core component of EGRA because it brings together lower-level reading skills (such as decoding and familiar word recognition) with how quickly and easily the student can read a given word (called automaticity).

Students were given a short, written passage on a topic that was familiar to them. They were asked to read it out loud “quickly but carefully” and were given 60 seconds from when they begin to read. The EGRA administrator timed the student, making note of any mistakes the student made while reading the words aloud. The score is reported as correct words per minute (cwpm).

Letter Sounds

The letter names subtask tests students’ ability to recognize letters and accurately speak their corresponding name.

The students were presented with a grid listing 100 uppercase and lowercase letters in a random order. Students were asked to say out loud the letter sound for as many as they could, as quickly and carefully as they could, in 1 minute. The EGRA administrator timed the child, making note of any mistakes the child made while calling out the letter names. The score is reported as correct letters per minute (clpm).


The nonword subtask tests students’ skill in using letter-sound connections to figure out (“decode”) words. While many students learn to memorize a broad range of "sight" words, they need skills to decode less-familiar words.

In this subtask, students were given a list of 50 made-up words that do not exist in the language tested but follow a typical spelling/sound combination of the language (e.g., “jaf”, “tob”). This ensures that the student is not recognizing the whole word and must “sound-out” the non-word in order to correctly read it. The student was asked to read out loud as many words as they could, as quickly and carefully as they could. The EGRA administrator timed the student and recorded the number of correct words per minute (cnwpm).

Listening Comprehension

Listening comprehension is a measure of students’ oral language skills, which also contributes to reading.

In this subtask, the EGRA administrator read a passage to the student, who did not see it. The student then responded to questions or statements read by the EGRA administrator. The listening comprehension score is the total correct answers, with a maximum possible score of three.

Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is the main goal of reading—understanding what is read. Comprehension is a complex task that requires some ability in all other reading skills.

This subtask is paired with the ORF subtask. Depending on how much of the ORF passage the student was able to read, the EGRA administrator asked the student up to five questions about the story. The EGRA administrator recorded the number of questions answered correctly.

Year 2013
Grade(s) 2
Language Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, English, Ewe, Fante, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema
Assessment Type Reading Program
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Regions Included in Study

Map of Ghana

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    Among Ghanaian grade 2 students who were instructed in Akuapem Twi the average oral reading fluency rate (ORF) was 5 words per minute (WPM). There was no statistically significant difference in average ORF between boys and girls.

  • 2/4

    Among grade 2 students instructed in Akuapem Twi, 65 percent were unable to read a single word of connected text.

  • 3/4

    Reading comprehension was low. About 90% of grade 2 students instructed in Akuapem Twi could not answer a single reading comprehension question.

  • 4/4

    Reading comprehension was higher for students with higher rates of oral reading fluency.

    Among grade 2 students instructed in Akuapem Twi, those who were able to answer one comprehension question correctly had an average ORF of 16. Those who answered two questions had an average ORF of 34, and those who answered three questions, 47 cwpm.

Program Details

A national sample of 815 schools and 7,923 students was chosen randomly. The sample included 11 local languages and English so that findings could be presented by these languages of instruction. Students were assessed in the language of instruction used at their school. More detailed information can be found in Ghana 2013 Early Grade Reading Assessment and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment Report of Findings (PDF, 975 KB).

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