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The 2019 National Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) was conducted in grade 3 in English and Filipino and is a follow-up to the National EGRA conducted in 2013.

The Philippines Department of Education implemented the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Program (MTB-MLE) in the 2012-2013 school year. Mother tongue is the native language or first language a child learns to speak. This National EGRA 2019 data collection was conducted to compare reading performance in English and Filipino in grade 3 against the baseline conducted in 2013 to measure the impact of the national MTB-MLE program.

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 sounds subtask tests students’ ability to recognize letters and speak their corresponding sounds.

Students were presented with a sheet listing 100 letters and 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 and recorded the number of correct letter sounds per minute (clspm).


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).

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.

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 questions about the story. The EGRA administrator recorded the number of questions answered correctly.


Dictation is used to assess both oral language and writing skills. Students’ ability to hear sounds and then correctly write the corresponding letters and words demonstrates their growing skill in understanding the alphabet.

The child was asked to write, spell, and use grammar properly through a dictation exercise.

Year 2019
Grade(s) 3
Language English, Filipino
Assessment Type National Assessment
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Regions Included in the Study

Not included in the study
Governorates included in the study
Map of Philippines

Key Findings

  • 1/3

    Very few students were non-readers.

    Only 5% of students were unable to read a single word in Filipino and only 7% of students were unable to read a single word in English.
  • 2/3

    Grade 3 girls performed better than boys across all subtasks in both English and Filipino.

    Girls read, on average, 18 words per minute faster than boys in Filipino, and 17 words per minute faster in English.
  • 3/3

    Very few students were non-readers, however, about half of all students were unable to answer a reading comprehension question in English. Girls performed better than boys.

Evaluation Design Details

These Barometer data are from RTI International’s second administration of a National EGRA in the Philippines to examine how the implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) policy is progressing. The previous EGRA was conducted in 2013.

The study was designed to be nationally representative of grade 3 students attending public schools in the Philippines. In order to compare across years, the sample of schools used in this 2019 survey matches that of the 2013 Philippines National Grade 3 EGRA survey.

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