September 5, 2012
Can a simple test revolutionize the way reading is taught around the world?
Early signs are showing that it can.
EDC developed the electronic Early Grades Reading Assessment (eEGRA), a new technology-based literacy tool launched in March 2012. eEGRA is available as a free download and is licensed under Creative Commons.
The beauty of eEGRA is its instant availability on laptops, mobile phones, and other devices. The electronic version mirrors an earlier paper version of the test used by educators in many developing countries.
At its core, eEGRA is a literacy assessment, measuring the skills children need for reading: recognition of letters, ability to decode simple words, and comprehension. Using eEGRA, teachers can, with the push of a button, quickly evaluate whether students have developed key skills for their grade level and immediately begin to adjust instruction.
“We are already finding that eEGRA is revolutionizing how we assess the reading skills of young children,” says EDC’s Nancy Devine. “It directly links assessment and classroom practice.”
“We are focusing on delivering literacy instruction in the most practical way—through mobile devices” says Bob Spielvogel, EDC’s chief technology officer. “That’s the powerful tool that people have in many developing countries.”
Mobile phone use is booming in the developing world, and people are increasingly turning to these devices for news and education. One recent estimate set the number of African mobile phone subscriptions at 500 million; this number will continue to increase as coverage is expanded to more rural areas.
EDC field tested the eEGRA program in the Philippines in July 2011. Over the next year, the program will be introduced in Liberia, Rwanda, Tajikistan, and Mali.