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The USAID India Scaling Up Early Grade Reading Intervention (SERI) program was implemented between 2015 and 2020, by Room to Read, in the states Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.

The goal of SERI was to develop a habit of reading in children by promoting reading instruction and reading practice through libraries. EGR Barometer data for SERI were collected in 2018, representing the endline (last) assessment.

EGRA Subtasks

An EGRA is a test students take that can measure their skill at both pre-reading and reading subtasks. 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).

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 asks the student up to five questions about the story. The EGRA administrator recorded the number of questions answered correctly.

Year 2018
Grade(s) 2
Language Hindi
Assessment EGRA, ASER
Assessment Type Reading Program
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Districts Included in the Study

Not part of the study
States included in the study
Districts included in the study
Map of India

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    Results of the Chhattisgarh Scaling Up Early Reading intervention showed a positive increase in the percentage of students able to read ASER Standard 2 level text for students attending treatment schools, with a net impact of 10 percent (p<0.001).

  • 2/4

    Results of the Uttarakhand Scaling Up Early Reading intervention showed a positive increase in the percentage of students able to read ASER Standard 2 level text for students attending treatment schools, with a net impact of 8 percent (p<.007).

  • 3/4

    In Uttarakhand, about one in five students (21%) read ASER Standard 2 level text. Boys and girls performed about the same.

  • 4/4

    About three in ten students (29 percent) read ASER Standard 2 level text. Girls (32%) performed better than boys (25%).

Program Design

USAID, in partnership with Room to Read, first conducted a pilot of a comprehensive school literacy strategy in 180 schools. Local governments then scaled the program up to over 2,662 schools in four states. The program focuses on improving reading pedagogy and includes developing and disseminating teacher reference manuals with teaching instruction guidance and establishing libraries in schools. The project engages at the state level to ensure that the teaching and learning materials created align with the state government curriculum. Students in Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand were assessed in Hindi.

Evaluation Design

EGR Barometer data for SERI were collected in 2018. Data analysis shows achievement for students in grade 2 compared to those in a control group. Note that as baseline data were not collected, it is not possible to fully attribute differences between the program and control groups to the intervention.

More detailed information about this program may be found in All Children Reading-Asia, Analysis of Early Grade Reading Assessment in India: Initial Data Collection and Assessment Report and All Children Reading-Asia, Analysis of Early Grade Reading Assessment in India, Impact Assessment Report.