Pressing Play on EGRA!

Early Grade Reading Assessments, briefly referred to as EGRAs, are a tool to measure early reading skills such as letter sound recognition, word and passage reading, and basic comprehension. For the first time, the Axium team has implemented this assessment, and we’re excited to have more information about foundation phase literacy in the area than we’ve ever had before! We are using an EGRA developed by the Eastern Cape Department of Education which they kindly shared with us.

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Zothando in action!

In our first round of EGRAs, the pioneering Nobalisa team tested 883 learners from grade 1-3 at six schools. This was no easy task! It involved tent-pitching (for schools with limited space), much calming of nervous children, and long hours of back-to-back assessments. Further, facing the reality of high illiteracy rates can be disheartening. Although the results paint a bleak picture, with the majority of learners struggling or unable to read, the information gathered will help us take next steps to support teachers in tackling the challenge of developing literacy.

The majority of the teachers have taken the results with enthusiasm and are already thinking about how to work together with us to better assist their learners. We use the EGRAs not to assess teachers but to get a snapshot of where learners are in terms of literacy, and to measure the impact our Community Reader/Nobalisa team has in schools. Further, they help highlight problem areas we can choose to focus on and prioritize with the teachers in facilitating the acquisition of literacy.
We’re still in the process of sharing the results with teachers – and are excited about hitting some improvement targets in the months to come!

Here’s what the Nobalisa team, responsible for implementing the project, had to say about EGRA’s…

There are some kids that are excelling! This was great to see. It was difficult to see that some grade three’s still cannot read. (Sibongiseni, Nobalisa)
There are some kids that are excelling! This was great to see. It was difficult to see that some grade three’s still cannot read. (Sibongiseni, Nobalisa)
EGRA’s help us to identify problem areas to assist in, and will help us improve by finding different strategies to help kids where they are struggling the most. (Nkosiphendule, Nobalisa)
EGRA’s help us to identify problem areas to assist in, and will help us improve by finding different strategies to help kids where they are struggling the most. (Nkosiphendule, Nobalisa)
One of the challenges with implementing EGRA’s was some learners’ behavior – Some were crying, fearful and unwilling to respond. (Thozama, Nobalisa)
One of the challenges with implementing EGRA’s was some learners’ behavior – Some were crying, fearful and unwilling to respond. (Thozama, Nobalisa)
Some kids showed great interest – they wanted to continue reading the passage even after their time had finished! (Sekiwe, Nobalisa)
Some kids showed great interest – they wanted to continue reading the passage even after their time had finished! (Sekiwe, Nobalisa)
There has been a varying response to the assessment from teachers. Some were very cooperative and showed great interest, while a small number showed less support and interest. It was great to have help from teachers in organizing learners being tested, and many kept asking us when they’d be getting the results. (Sive - Team Manager)
There has been a varying response to the assessment from teachers. Some were very cooperative and showed great interest, while a small number showed less support and interest. It was great to have help from teachers in organizing learners being tested, and many kept asking us when they’d be getting the results. (Sive – Team Manager)
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2 thoughts on “Pressing Play on EGRA!

  1. I am assuming that the children were reading Xhosa? Interesting research which I hope will cause a wave of enthusiasm to overcome the limitations!

    Sue Rosie Bulungula

    1. Yes they were! Our foundation phase literacy team works on isiXhosa only. We’re passionate about a strong mother tongue foundation – and adding English slowly. Thanks for reading, Sue! Hope we can catch up with the Bulungula team soon…

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