USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Program, Systemic, Sustained Reading Achievement

Briefer: Final Early Grade Reading Assessment Results from the USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program. This briefer compares English and local language reading fluency and comprehension among program and control learners from Primary 1 to Primary 4 (when the program ended) and beyond to Primary 5. It also goes back and compares Primary 2 results for later cohorts. Major findings: • By the end of Primary (P4), program learners were more than twice as likely to be reading 60 or more words per minute in English than learners from control schools. • P4 Program learners were also able to answer almost twice as many comprehension questions correctly in English than control learners. • Program results are proving to be sustainable. P2 learners in subsequent cohorts registered reading gains similar to those found in the initial cohort, and control schools brought into the program also registered gains. Furthermore, these gains are being maintained into P5 (though the program ended in P4)

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.

Tayari Parent Engagement Pilot Intervention Summary Report

Children’s development is significantly attributed to their experiences at home, from birth through the early years of schooling, and responsive caregiving from early on has a significant impact on later learning outcomes. Interventions aimed at increasing parental engagement in children’s early learning can be expensive, however, and there is limited evidence as to what works best for parenting programs in low- and middle-income countries. This report presents the findings from a parent engagement pilot intervention conducted by the Tayari program in three counties in Kenya that tested two methods of providing parents with home-based responsive play activities to promote children’s holistic development.

Users, Functions & Findings: The evolution of Classroom Observation tools for literacy instruction in Uganda [CIES 2019 Presentation]

In this CIES 2019 presentation, Rachel Jordan presents how Tangerine Tutor is used to conduct and improve upon classroom observations in the USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Program.

A national study of over-enrollment and repetition in Primary 1 grade in Uganda: What's the role of pre-primary [CIES 2019 Presentation]

In an optimally efficient education system, all children enroll and complete the primary cycle in a one year to one grade ratio, acquiring basic reading, math and critical thinking skills along the way. Unfortunately, in many LMICs, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, many children entering primary school are met with limited instructional materials and under-equipped teachers (UNESCO, 2014), which can lead to education systems that are inefficient and characterized by low primary school completion rates, high grade-specific gross enrolment rates, and under-reported repetition rates, particularly in the early grades. This presentation reports the findings from a nationally representative study of over-enrollment and repetition in primary 1 in Uganda. The following research questions are addressed: 1) What is the enrolment pattern and the age distribution of pupils enrolled in primary 1, according to school records, teachers, and parents/guardians; 2) What is the repetition rate in primary 1, according to school records, teachers, and parents/guardians; 3) What is the relationship between repetition and age of enrolment in primary 1; 4) What is the enrolment rate in pre-primary education and its relationship with primary 1 repetition; 5) What are parents’/guardians’ attitudes and expectations about pre-primary education and repetition in primary 1. Data from enrollment, classroom, and administrative records on age and repetition were gathered from 120 schools. Caregivers and teachers of 1,440 randomly selected primary 1 students were also interviewed about student age, repetition in primary 1, and past enrollment in pre-primary education programs. Information from caregiver and teacher interviews was compared with data from enrollment, classroom, and school administrative records on the age of primary 1 students and repetition in primary 1. We also analyzed the relationship between participation in pre-primary education programs and student repetition in primary 1 through an odds-ratio logistic regression. Findings show that reports by caregivers and teachers of under-age and over-age pupil enrollment and repetition in Primary 1 were much higher than official reports. Additionally, pupils with no pre-primary education were 3.8 times more likely to repeat Primary 1, even controlling for gender, age at enrollment, and SES. Finally, almost 30 percent of caregivers enrolled their children in Primary 1 early, expecting repetition. Research and policy implications include the need to understand and challenge official repetition rates, to examine the effect of pre-primary on education system efficiency, and to investigate the effectiveness of automatic promotion policies.

Linguistic differences in mother tongue reading performance in Uganda- CIES 2018 Presentation

CIES 2018 Presentation, given by Rachel Jordan. In Uganda, and many other settings, too few children are learning how to read. In response, countries have embarked on national reading programs. Unfortunately, these programs are rarely evaluated rigorously at a large scale. This paper is based on larger research that efforts looked at the impact of a large-scale mother tongue reading program in Uganda using a randomized control trial in twelve language communities. It also looked at the differences in mother tongue reading acquisition attributed to linguistic differences, differences in program implementation and socioeconomic differences in the communities. The research points to language complexity as an important predictor of reading acquisition. Aspects of this complexity (transparency, tonal markings, agglutination) will be discussed in the 12 languages supported by current early grade reading reform efforts. Tying into language mapping efforts, the paper will also discuss the realities of language mapping on the ground where, for example, regardless of the predominant language spoken by the school community the school language of instruction is decided at the district level.

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.

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.

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.