USAID Early Grade Reading (EGR) EGR Final Report

Improving early grade reading and writing outcomes has implications more far-reaching than simply raising scores on national and international assessments. Reading is a fundamental tool for thinking and learning, which has an integrated and cumulative effect on comprehension in all subject areas. Providing students with a strong foundation in reading increases the likelihood of future academic and workforce success. By providing Palestinian teachers with additional strategies and resources to build essential primary students’ reading and writing skills, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Early Grade Reading (EGR) Project supported the goal of the USAID mission in the West Bank/Gaza of “providing a new generation of Palestinians with quality education and competencies that would enable them to thrive in the global economy and empower them to participate actively in a well-governed society.” Specifically, EGR addressed USAID’s strategic Sub-objective 3.1.5 to improve “service delivery in the education sector through increased access to quality education, especially in marginalized areas of the West Bank; a higher quality of teaching, learning and education management practices; and improved quality and relevancy of the education system at all levels.” EGR also directly supports USAID’s global goal to improve early grade reading skills. In support of the overarching goals, EGR’s project goal was to facilitate change in classroom delivery of early grade reading and writing instruction through three inter-connected component areas including evidence-based standards and curriculum revisions, instructional improvements, and parental engagement activities designed to improve student reading and writing competencies in Kindergarten (KG)–Grade 2 in the West Bank. EGR offered a scalable model of early grade reading instruction in 104 West Bank public schools among 351 teachers who taught 9,679 students. EGR collected data through reviews of curricular and standards’ documents, studies in schools, and assessments of students’ reading competencies. The project developed book leveling criteria to ensure the age- and grade-level appropriateness of reading materials, which facilitated the development or procurement of over 100,000 books for schools. EGR provided the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) with training modules in early grade reading and writing skills, a reading remediation manual, and a school-based professional development model. The project created innovative materials for parents to use to enhance their children’s reading skills. Despite its abbreviated timeframe, the project provided the MOEHE with a wealth of educational data, materials, and resources, including many interventions offered for the first time in the Palestinian educational system.

USAID Early Grade Reading (EGR) EGR Year 1 Annual Report

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Early Grade Reading (EGR) Project in the West Bank completed its first year successfully with the completion of assessments and surveys, curriculum and standards reviews, and instructional materials in preparation for Year 2 implementation in schools. EGR worked closely with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) to ensure their partnership in project activities. EGR administered two important assessments: a Time on Task (TOT) study, which determined the amount of time classroom teachers spent on reading and writing instruction, and the project baseline assessment, which provided a snapshot of the strengths and weaknesses of the students in the EGR-supported schools. The team also conducted a comprehensive review of the MOEHE’s standards and curricular documents related to early grade reading and writing to inform the development of the training materials and the complementary reading materials. By the end of the first year, EGR had established to support the MOEHE to implement a high-quality reading and writing program in 104 EGR-supported primary schools.

Developing a Culturally Relevant Assessment of Social and Emotional Learning for Tanzania

Social and emotional competencies are increasingly seen as important for children’s academic success and social adjustment. However, social and emotional learning has not been studied extensively in Tanzania or the rest of Africa. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Tusome Pamoja Program, in collaboration with the School of Education at the University of Dar es Salaam, conducted research that aimed to identify and assess non-academic domains, such as social and emotional learning, executive function, and social responsibility, that are at important for the development and academic success of young students in Tanzania. We focused our investigation on Mtwara Region of Tanzania. Our research proceeded through two studies discussed in this report, which looked to address two overarching issues: 1.What is the best approach to developing measures of social and emotional learning in the context of predominantly rural area of Tanzania? 2. How do concepts of social and emotional learning differ in rural Tanzania from those underlying existing frameworks? To what extent are these different concepts consistent with those in other subsistence-agricultural communities, and how do they match up with those in urban contexts where there are higher levels of formal education?