Uganda Impact Study Report of Tangerine:Coach

This report describes the results of a program designed to expand use of Tangerine:Tutor (now known as Tangerine:Coach), a model scaled successfully in Kenya, to Ugandan coaches. The first aim of the program was to improve the quality of interactions between Coordinating Centre Tutors (CCTs, or “coaches” for convenience) and teachers, as well as the quantity of those interactions (increase the frequency of school visits). During this pilot effort, which lasted approximately 18 months, we studied the added value of a digital case management tool and job aids to improve coaching activities in two Early Grade Reading (EGR) programs in Uganda. The iterative, user-centered design and monitoring focused on changes in the quality and quantity of coach and teacher interactions.The second aim was to improve the quality of communication between CCTs and Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), between CCTs and districts and between local stakeholders and institutions (i.e., schools, TTCs and district offices) and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES). This aim was to be accomplished through a Web-accessible dashboard based on the digital tools that quickly communicated school support coverage, as well as teacher and learner attendance. The pilot effort successfully introduced the case management tool and job aids, built a dashboard to communicate progress and trained users across four regions of Uganda.

Scaling up Early Grade Reading in Uganda [CIES 2019 Presentations]

This panel shared presentations from Uganda government officials and development partners which are collaboratively engaged in the efforts to improve and assess EGR in Uganda’s primary schools. Panel participants will discuss the process of gradually scaling up program activities to reach the majority of the nation’s schools by working with and through government structures. The Uganda MoES which has led the process from the begin will discuss how it has worked with donors and other development partners to mobilize resources and technical assistance by incorporating EGR in the ministry’s overall strategic plans. The Uganda National Examinations Board and the Uwezo Uganda initiative will discuss how they have been able to scale up assessment of Ugandan children’s reading skills through government ownership and civil society engagement in conducting early grade reading assessments. The GPE, SHRP, and LARA projects will share how they have worked through government structures at both the national and district levels to develop instructional materials in 12 local languages plus English and improve EGR instruction and learning in schools in a sustainable way. The panel will illustrate that attaining measurable improvements in reading scores at scale takes considerably more time and effort than smaller scale and pilot programs because interventions at scale require working through government structures and personnel, requiring systems strengthening and capacity building while also implementing program activities. This requires enormous effort and constant collaboration among government and development partners with sustainability as the ultimate objective.

Moving the needle on reading achievement in Uganda

This brief presents Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) data from a randomized control trial conducted in conjunction with the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program (SHRP). SHRP supports reading in 3,700 government schools working through the systems that support these schools and was the catalyst for reform efforts which now cover 80% of Uganda's government primary schools. The assessment collected baseline data at the beginning of Primary 1 for 12 language cohorts and follow up at the end of every school year. These data collected in October, 2017 track progress at the school level (and differences between program and control schools) until the end of Primary 4, Primary 5 or Primary 6 (depending on the year the language was phased into the program). Learning for Uganda and beyond • Registering significant programmatic gains in reading achievement takes time. In the case of Uganda, this is partially attributable to the low baseline levels of reading (94% of learners across the 12 languages could read no words in English at the beginning of P1) and other systemic challenges within Ugandan schools not uncommon in other settings including teacher and learner absenteeism. • When learners learn to read in a local language, the gains realized in the local language are transferred to learning to read in English Major messages - When children learn to read (decode) in their local language, they are able to transfer this skill to decoding English. However, more work needs to be done to improve English comprehension. - Although SHRP has been able to move more learners to higher reading levels and they are on their way to becoming fluent readers, there are still too many learners not acquiring foundation skills. - It takes more time to move children from the foundation threshold than anticipated but when you move them from that level, the gains take off as can be seen from P3 onwards. - Reading gains in large scale interventions working through government structures take time due to systemic and contextual challenges.

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.

USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Early Grade Reading Assessment Results: Cluster 1, End of Primary 4

The USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program is a large scale, systemic reform effort to increase reading and provide health information in primary schools. This is one of the first Early Grade Reading Studies in Africa to combine rigorous research methods with a large scale reform working through Ministry of Education Systems. This briefer highlights the findings from a Randomized Control Trial/Early Grade Reading Assessment for the first 4 languages (of 12 total program local languages and English) to start the program in Primary 1 in 2013: Ateso, Leblango, Luganda, and Runyunkore-Rukiga. Findings: At the end of Primary 4, learners are between 1.5 and 6 times more likely to be reading 40 or more words per minute in the local language in program schools compared to control schools (all statistically significant differences with effect sizes ranging from 0.39 to 0.75). Program learners were also significantly more likely to be reading 60 or more words per minute in English in 3 of the 4 languages.