Cambodia, Student Performance in Early Literacy: Baseline Report

This report presents the results of a baseline assessment of upper preschool and grade 1 student performance in pre-literacy and early grade reading. The assessment included samples drawn from three provinces in Cambodia: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Battambang (control). The results will serve as a baseline for comparing the impact of early grade reading interventions being implemented in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap. The data reveal lower than expected levels of oral language ability among students in upper pre-school, especially given that Khmer is the mother tongue for nearly all students in the areas covered. For example, students responded correctly to only 3 out of 5 questions concerning a short passage that had been read to them. And in terms of their pre-literacy skills, when shown the letters they were supposed to learn in upper pre-school, students identified them with only 28% accuracy. Performance of grade 1 students on early literacy skills was also much lower than should be expected for the period during which the test was administered. For example, grade 1 students who were almost three-quarters of the way through the school year could only correctly identify letters 34% of the time and were identifying fewer than 10 letters per minute. When simpler forms of consonants and vowels were tested separately, grade 1 students performed better, but still correctly identified letters with less than 50% accuracy. Reading of familiar words in isolation or reading of a short grade-level passage were essentially non-existent.

Uganda Early Years Study: Final Report

The British Department for International Development (DFID) has partnered with the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to conduct empirical research on inefficiencies in the Ugandan education system. This research will help the Ministry better understand the severity, causes, and consequences of an enrolment bulge in early primary classes in Uganda. Specifically, this study is investigating the magnitude of repetition in primary 1. It encompasses a nationally representative sample of pupils, and uses information from interviews with pupils, parents/guardians, and teachers.

Repetition of Primary 1 and Pre-primary Education in Uganda

This paper describes a 2016 pilot study undertaken in Uganda to document the real repetition rate in Primary 1 classes and to examine the relationship between repetition in Primary 1 and attendance in pre-primary education. The study explored knowledge and practice about the age of entry for children into pre-primary education and Primary 1. It also documented parents’ knowledge and expectations about participation in pre-primary education. The study was conducted in two purposefully selected districts in Uganda (a “high-risk” district—with higher rates of poverty and reported repetition—and a “low-risk” district—with lower rates of poverty and reported repetition) by RTI International, with support from the Development Research and Social Policy Analysis Center, a Ugandan data collection firm. In addition to answering research questions about early primary repetition and pre-primary attendance, the pilot aimed to test a methodology of triangulating information from the Education Management Information System, school records, and parents’ reports. The study confirmed that it is possible to compare data from teacher and classroom records with data from parent and teacher interviews; parents or caregivers were invited to come to school for an interview, and a large percentage did. The study also showed that according to teachers and parents, repetition rates in Primary 1 are much higher than perceived by the system. Repetition rates in Primary 1, as perceived by parents and teachers, are quite high—roughly 30% to 40%, depending on source and location. In addition, parents reported that early entry into Primary 1 (and the possible resulting repetition) is being used as a substitute for pre-primary education due to the lack of preprimary schooling options. Some parents send their children to school at an early age because they cannot afford pre-primary schooling, even though they realize the child might have to repeat the year or will learn less the first time through Primary 1. For children who attended pre-primary, the data demonstrate a strong “protective” effect on their chances of repeating Primary 1 (i.e., the children who attended pre-primary were less likely to repeat in Primary 1). Gender was not found to affect these issues to any significant degree.

Examination of Over-Enrollment, Repetition, and ECD Access in Uganda [Presentation]

[Presentation delivered at CIES 2017]. Education system data has indicated a pattern of over-enrollment in the early grades in some low-income countries. One factor that may influence the observed enrollment bulge is access to pre-primary education programs, as children who do not enter school prepared could be more likely to repeat leading to more children enrolled than are of enrollment-age. This presentation reports on a research study undertaken in Uganda to better understand pupil enrollment and repetition in Primary 1 as it relates to pre-primary access. Data was collected from schools in a district with high reported repetition, lack of or low preprimary access, and high apparent dropout between grade 1 and 2, and a district with low reported repetition, high preprimary access, and low apparent grade 1 dropout. School records were reviewed to collect ages of enrolled pupils and repeater status, in order to calculate age patterns and repetition rates in Primary 1 for each district. In addition, parents of randomly sampled pupils were interviewed about their child’s preprimary attendance, repetition of primary one or other grades, and access to preprimary education programs. Teachers of the sampled pupils were also interviewed regarding pupil age and repetition history. Overall, data was collected on 1,909 pupils in 80 schools, and 1,792 parents were interviewed. The presentation will focus on the following research questions: 1) What are the estimated repetition rates as reported by parents and schools in Primary 1 in schools in the sampled low- and high-risk districts in Uganda; 2) What are the ages of the pupils attending Primary 1 in our sample of Uganda schools and how does this relate to repetition; 3) How do the reported repetition rates relate to parent report of ECD attendance and access; and 4) What is the discrepancy between school-reported and parent-reported repetition rates. Data collection methods, measurement of repetition and ECD attendance and access, and policy conclusions will also be discussed.

Assessing the impact of language on pupil learning

This poster presented at the 2016 Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, explores the relationship between Language of Instruction on pupil EGRA outcomes in Zambia and Ghana and uses GIS data to map information on languages spoken in a given area (from SIL Ethnologue data) with information on school language of instruction.

Data for Education Programming in Asia and Middle East: Philippines EGRA Four Language Study – 2015 Follow-On

A year after the first baseline EGRA was completed in four language regions, a follow-up survey was administered to samples of 30 to 40 teachers and 375 to 400 students per grade in the same regions (randomly sampled). The sampled teachers were asked about their preparation for, level of comfort with, and understanding of MTB-MLE, and their instructional practice during a reading lesson was observed. Students completed an assessment of their letter sound knowledge, decoding skills, oral reading fluency, and reading comprehension in their mother tongue, and their listening comprehension and ability to read familiar words in Filipino, as well as their oral understanding of common English vocabulary words and phrases.

PhilEd Data II: Early Grade Reading Assessment Results: A cross-language look at MTB-MLE implementation in the Philippines

Following the study completed in 2013, measuring English, Filipino and Ilokano reading skills, this 2014 EGRA study is serves as a baseline for monitoring the government's Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program by conducting EGRA assessments in four mother-tongue languages—Cebuano (Sinugbuanong Binisaya), Hiligaynon, Ilokano and Maguindanaoan. The survey also included classroom observations of teaching practice and teacher interviews to gather contextual information about the extent of MTB-MLE implementation.