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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Title Improving Early-Grade Literacy in East Africa: Experimental Evidence from Kenya and Uganda
Volume 33
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 950-976
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pam.21782/abstract
Primary school enrollments have increased rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa, spurring concerns about low levels of learning. We analyze field experiments in Kenya and Uganda that assessed whether the Reading to Learn intervention, implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation in both countries, improved early-grade literacy as measured by common assessments. We find that Ugandan literacy (in Lango) increased by 0.2 standard deviations. We find a smaller effect (0.08) on a Swahili literacy test in Kenya. We find no evidence that differential effects are explained by baseline differences across countries in student test scores, classroom attributes, or implementation fidelity. A plausible explanation that cannot be directly tested is differential effective exposure to the literacy treatment in the tested languages. Students in Kenya were tested in Swahili, which is not necessarily the main language of instruction in primary schools, despite official policy.

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