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The USAID Liberia Teacher Training Program, Phase 2 (LTTP:II), was a 4-year activity implemented by FHI 360 from 2010 to 2015. The 2013 Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) represents the midline (second) assessment of the program.

The goals of the program were to address Liberia’s critical shortages of qualified teachers and institutional capacity to produce new teachers, in part by developing scripted lesson plans and other teaching materials and training teachers to implement the new curricula.

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).

Initial Sound

The initial sound subtask is a measure of a student’s ability to identify the first sound in a word. It also measures a student’s ability to separate words into sounds and to manipulate those sounds.

Students were told a word verbally and asked to isolate and pronounce the first sound of the word (the initial sound). The EGRA administrator recorded the number of correct letter sounds identified.

Letter Names

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

The students were presented with a grid listing 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 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 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).

Familiar Words

The familiar word reading subtask is similar in format to the nonword reading subtask except that it presents the student with a grid containing words they are expected to be able to read at their grade level and have likely encountered before.

The students were instructed to read aloud as many words as they could in 1 minute. 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 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 asks the student up to five questions about the story. The EGRA administrator recorded the number of questions answered correctly.

Year 2013
Grade(s) 1, 2, 3
Language English
Assessment Type Reading Program
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Regions Included in the Study

Not part of the study
Part of the study
Map of Liberia

Key Findings

  • 1/3

    On average, boys and girls read at about the same rates in each grade.

    Bar chart showing average oral reading fluency for grades 1-3. Numerical values presented in bar chart: Grade 1 6, Grade 2 11, Grade 3 22.
  • 2/3

    Large proportions of grade 1 and grade 2 students had difficulty with reading comprehension.

    More than two-thirds of each group (71% and 69%, respectively) could not answer a single comprehension question. Among grade 3 students, 46% were unable to answer a single question.
  • 3/3

    Results of the LTTP:II intervention showed positive increases for students attending treatment schools but the gains were only marginally statistically significant (p<.10) .

Program Design

LTTP:II held two week-long training sessions each year for grade 1-3 teachers in five Liberian counties. The training sessions focused on teaching reading. Sessions were held at the beginning of the school year and at the beginning of the second semester. The training was reinforced through monthly school-based coaching visits. LTTP:II was designed to have two groups of schools (“cohorts”) receive the intervention for 2 years each. However, the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak in Liberia and neighboring countries severely disrupted the education system.

Evaluation Design

The EGR Barometer data for LTTP:II are from the 2013 baseline. These data allow for an evaluation of the impact of the program at the 2015 midterm through comparisons of the single intervention cohort to a control region. More detailed information about this implementation of LTTP:II may be found in Liberia Teacher Training Program: Endline Assessment of the Impact of Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Interventions (PDF, 3.7 MB) report.

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