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EGR Barometer data is from the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) conducted for the National Baseline Assessment for the 3Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). The purpose of this assessment was to monitor the achievement levels of students in the early grades with regard to foundational skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. EGR Barometer data only includes EGRA (reading) data, but an Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA) and Snapshot of School Management Effectiveness (SSME) were also conducted with this study.

The National Baseline Assessment for the 3Rs used the EGRA (Kiswahili and English), EGMA, and SSME instruments to provide data that could be translated into an evidence base to inform policy decisions and interventions with respect to the early grades.

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).

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 read out loud 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).

English only.

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.

English only.

Syllable Sounds

The syllable identification subtask tests students’ ability to recognize syllables.

The students were presented with a grid of syllables and asked to pronounce as many of the syllables’ sounds as possible. The EGRA administrator timed the child and recorded the number of correct syllable sounds per minute (cspm).

Kiswahili only.

Nonwords

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 five.

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.

Dictation

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.

Kiswahili only.

Year 2013
Grade(s) 2
Language English, Kiswahili
Assessment EGRA
Assessment Type National Assessment
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Study Map

Map of Tanzania

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    In general, grade 2 students performed better in Kiswahili than in English.

  • 2/4

    The average oral reading fluency (ORF) in Kiswahili was 18 correct words per minute (cwpm) compared to 9 cwpm in English. Girls outperformed boys in Kiswahili, but in English, for both boys and girls, average reading fluency is lower and not significantly different.

  • 3/4

    Fewer grade 2 students could not read a single word of connected text in Kiswahili (28%) than in English (38%). Boys were more likely than girls to be unable to read a single word of connected text in English.

  • 4/4

    Students performed better on reading comprehension in Kiswahili than in English. Almost 95% of grade 2 students could not answer a single question in English; less than half that percentage (40%) could not answer a comprehension question in Kiswahili.

Program Details

More detailed information about this implementation of EGRA and the specific measures may be found in National Baseline Assessment for the 3Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) Using EGRA, EGMA, and SSME in Tanzania report.