The CRLA was initially conceived as a 5-minute start-up reading assessment designed to help teachers quickly determine the reading profiles of their G1-G3 learners, and develop appropriate reading instructional strategies. The main goal is to identify children who need additional support in reading. The CRLA was developed in response to the extended break that learners experienced over the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic. After 32 weeks of no class, teachers needed a rapid, easy to use tool, to determine what level of readiness and support the returning children needed. The beginning of school year tasks focused on letter sounds, isolated words and sentence in reading in MT (G1), Filipino (G1-G2) and English (G1-G3).
In the Philippines, learners are expected to transition from their mother tongue (MT) to Filipino and English (L2 and L3 respectively) by grade 4. However, the earliest standardized assessment used in the Philippines is for Filipino starting in G3 and English starting in G4. Prior to the CRLA, there were no existing standardized tools or systems used to assess in the MT. It was also a tool that could be administered remotely (online or even over the phone) which proved critical for schooling in the new normal where face to face classes were not permitted. Thus, the CRLA met the needs of teachers who were missing such a tool in their early grade assessment toolbox.
The CRLA was initially piloted in November 2020 with select schools. The experience of the pilot led DepEd to scale up the CRLA to all schools in the ABC+ Target Regions. The feedback from the schools and teachers who utilized the CRLA was encouraging. Many schools used the results of the CRLA to develop remedial and focused reading programs in the context of the new normal and identify the struggling readers to provide additional support.
Based on the success of the beginning of school year RLA, the Department of Education requested ABC+ to help develop middle and end of year assessments that would align to their curricular competencies. Keeping to the same criteria (rapid and easy to administer and analyze), the team incorporated listening comprehension, oral reading fluency and reading comprehension tasks for end of year administration. At the request of DepEd, ABC+ is currently in the process of expanding the number of MT languages supported by the CRLA and incorporating it into their operations manual for mother tongue-based multi-lingual education.