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USAID's Okuu Keremet! (“Learning is Awesome!” in English) project is a 5-year program designed to improve learning outcomes in reading and math among students in grades 1-4 in the Kyrgyz Republic. USAID is partnering with the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) to conduct the program. The program focuses on:

  • improving the quality of reading and math instruction in the primary grades;
  • providing quality learning materials and activities, in and out of school; and
  • strengthening the quality of system support provided to primary schools.

This 2021 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) provides a baseline for the Okuu Keremet! program. Over 5,000 grade 2 and grade 4 students from 276 schools participated in the assessment. The results are a nationally representative assessment of student achievement in reading.

EGRA Subtasks

An EGRA measures children's pre-reading and reading skills. The subtasks used in this program 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).

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 five.


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 made-up words that do not exist in the language tested but follow a typical spelling/sound combination of the language. 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 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).

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.

Silent Reading Comprehension

The silent reading comprehension subtask measures how well a student understands a passage of text. Compared to the reading comprehension task, the silent reading comprehension task was based on a higher-level passage. The task was purposefully constructed this way under the expectation that students in the upper grades should be able to comprehend longer, more complex text.

The student reads the passage silently to themself and then answers five comprehension questions to assess their understanding of the meaning of the passage. The assessor does not remove text from the student’s eyes during the questioning, and the student is allowed to refer back to the text if desired. The score is reported as the number of questions answered correctly.

Year 2021
Grade(s) 2, 4
Language Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek, Tajik*

*Results not included on Barometer due to small sample size
Assessment Type National Reading Program
View Country Page

Program Map

Map of the Kyrgyz Republic

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    More than half of grade 4 Kyrgyz Republic students met the national benchmark for reading proficiency, but boys trailed girls.

    Bar chart of percentage of grade 4 students meeting the national benchmark (80 correct words per minute). All students 54%, girls 60%, boys 47%.
  • 2/4

    Despite high reading fluency rates, on average, students answered only 3 of 5 comprehension questions correctly.

    Bar chart of average silent reading comprehension score (out of 5 questions). Second grade 3.0, fourth grade 3.2.
  • 3/4

    Students in urban areas outperformed their rural peers on all reading subtasks across both grades and all languages.

    Bar chart of average oral reading fluency score (correct words per minute). Second grade rural 36, urban 51. Fourth grade rural 73, urban 88.
  • 4/4

    Girls outperformed boys on all subtasks across all languages and grades.

    Bar chart of average oral reading fluency score (correct words per minute).  Second grade boys 39, girls 46. Fourth grade boys 77, girls 91.

Evaluation Design

The Okuu Keremet! program conducted the EGRA in April-May 2021. Data analysis shows the achievement of students in grades 2 and 4.

The program team drew a sample of students to determine program impact at the endline in 2024. They designed the sample to ensure the regions formed a nationally representative sample. The Barometer pages present the results at the national level.

The program team stratified the sample by language of instruction and drew schools in each stratum in two stages. First, they selected schools at random within each treatment group proportional to their size (number of students). Second, in each sampled school, they selected up to 10 students at random per grade.

More detailed information about this assessment, the specific measures assessed, and the sample design can be found in the Okuu Keremet! Project-The Kyrgyz Republic Report on the Baseline Assessment for the Early Grade Reading Program 2021 (PDF, 2.6 MB)

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