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The Tonga Early Grade Reading Assessment (TEGRA) was a baseline survey conducted in November 2009. The early grade reading assessment (EGRA) was administered to 1,023 grade 1, 2, and 3 students from 60 schools in the Kingdom of Tonga.

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).

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 100 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).

Letter Sounds

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

Students were presented with a sheet listing letters and asked to provide the sounds (not the names) of as many letters they could read within a one-minute period. The EGRA administrator timed the child and recorded the number of correct letter sounds per minute (clspm).

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 contribute 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.

In the dictation subtask, children were asked to write, spell, and use grammar properly. Scores were calculated using weights to create a variable with a maximum score of 100%.

Year 2009
Grade(s) 1, 2, 3
Language Tongan
Assessment EGRA
Assessment Type National Assessment
View Country Page

Study Map

Map of Tonga

Key Findings

  • 1/4

    The average oral reading fluency (ORF) rate for students in grades 1, 2, and 3 were 11, 27, and 41 correct words per minute (CWPM), respectively.

  • 2/4

    37% of grade 1 students, 9% of grade 2 students, and 3% of grade 3 students were unable to read a single word of connected text.

  • 3/4

    About 9 in 10 grade 1 students (85%), half of grade 2 students (54%), and 1 in 4 grade 3 students (25%) could not answer a single reading comprehension question.

  • 4/4

    Boys in grades 2 and 3 were more likely than girls to be unable to answer a single reading comprehension question.

Assessment Details

TEGRA was conducted by consultants and staff of the Ministry of Education, Women’s Affairs and Culture with funding from the Australian Agency for International Development, the New Zealand Agency for International Development, and the Education for All–Fast Track Initiative. Other technical and management support was provided by the World Bank. The data used for the EGR Barometer were provided by the World Bank.

A sample of 60 schools was selected using a stratified random design with proportional allocation based on school type to ensure all school types and regions would have a probability of selection equal to their actual distribution in the country. The final sample consisted of 1,203 students—607 girls and 596 boys—which reflects the gender parity characteristics of the target population. As in the World Bank report, estimates provided in the Barometer for Tonga are calculated as if they came from a simple random sample.

More detailed information can be found in Tonga Early Grade Reading Assessment (TEGRA) Baseline Survey: Results Report.