Home | 2011 Workshop

Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessments (EGRA and EGMA)
August 18, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.

Presenters:Amber Gove, RTI International
Andrea Reubens, RTI International
Sylvia Linan-Thompson, University of Texas-Austin

Moderator: Sarah Wright, USAID

This session discussed the Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessments (EGRA and EGMA). Main topics discussed included program overview, program assessment, important of accurate assessment tools for students, and use of assessment tools and applications in for teachers in the classroom, for researchers and as a tool for adapting curriculum.

Amber Gove presented data from the U.S. oral assessments to demonstrate that gaps in reading and comprehension tend to increase over time, which makes early intervention especially important. Time series data show that students who cannot read at least 40 words per minute at the end of first grade tend to read at a slower rate for the rest their academic careers. Gove also presented data that show reading fluency is a good predictor for later outcomes;

Andrea Reubens described the benefits of using the Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA). The 2003 TIMSS data for 4th graders shows that developed countries have much higher outcome averages than test-takers in developing countries. EGMA is important because it allows performance tests at earlier grades, allowing teachers to identify performance problems at younger ages. It can measure knowledge on number/operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis/handling and algebra. It also provides guidelines for which skills children should have acquired by grade, starting at kindergarten.

Sylvia Linan-Thompson discussed the instructional implications of EGMA and EGRA, emphasizing that assessments must use coherent instruments. At the school level, it must connect and support implementation of national mandates, while at the classroom level, it must implicate teacher preparation, and at the student level it must provide evidence of whether the children have opportunities to learn. A common reality in developing countries is that children drop out of school because they are not performing as well as expected. EGRA and EGMA measure performance on foundation skills that are good predictors of high performance later on in reading and math ability.

Key take away points include how accurate early grade reading and math assessments and interventions are crucial to success in higher grades. Oral reading tests applied by trained evaluators or teachers in particular are a very good assessment indicators and good predictors. In addition to policy awareness and motivation on a macro and community level, perhaps the most important contribution of tools like EGRA and EGMA are that they provide a baseline that can be used to identify gaps and needs. Then changing can begin being made systematically, modifying instruction and content, in the early grades where a fundamental knowledge base is being established, and where gaps could still be bridged, thus increasing the chance of future success of students.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
RTI, Gove : Open
RTI, Reubens : Open
University Texas-Austin, Thompson : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com