Assessing early grade reading and numeracy
Project Title: EGRA and EGMA nationwide surveys Location: Sierra Leone Client: UNICEF Date: January 2014 – August 2016
Montrose designed and conducted national early grade assessments in reading and mathematics (EGRA/EGMA) for primary school pupils in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone has achieved significant progress in terms of access to and completion of basic education in the last few years. However, there remain major problems regarding the quality of education. Currently, assessments at primary and junior secondary school level allow for comparability on a national level and also inform on pupils’ learning achievements at the end of primary and junior secondary school. However, these national assessments are not designed to assess or diagnose specifically why and in what areas pupils are having difficulties, nor do they provide sufficient guidance for Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to develop policies to improve the basic education system in order to enhance pupils’ performance. This is why MEST supported by its partners embarked on a nationwide early grades assessment to make policy decisions, to plan interventions and to measure future improvements.
Montrose designed and conducted the first round of literacy and numeracy assessments in 2014 among approximately 2,400 primary grade 2 and primary grade 4 pupils from 130 schools in all 14 districts of Sierra Leone to establish a baseline. To better inform these current and future policy decisions, and in addition to the national assessments, Montrose undertook lesson observations in primary school classrooms and conducted a school management survey in each of the primary schools surveyed. The purpose of these additional assessments tools was to establish baseline data on teacher practice, methodology and competencies (lesson observations) as well as school management practice, methodology and competencies (school management assessment).
The findings from this baseline assessment were presented in a survey report that has been disseminated to MEST, development agencies and NGOs in Sierra Leone. These learner assessments are a crucial source of information that should inform national education policy making, hence there needs to be close liaison between this assessment and education reforms and initiatives that are both on-going or planned for the future in Sierra Leone (e.g. curriculum reform, human resource management) by MEST, development agencies and NGOs who can address the problems identified by the assessment process. A second survey round will be held to measure changes from the baseline.
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