09 SES 06 B, Relating Student, Teacher and Context Variables to Student Achievement and Teacher Judgements
Assessment is an essential element of education used to inform instruction, so the first step in implementing good reading and mathematics instruction is to determine student baseline performance as they enter the classroom with diverse backgrounds and skills. Assessments of student learning in early grades, with instruments such as the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA), offer an opportunity to determine whether early grade students are developing the fundamental skills upon which all other literacy and mathematical skills build, and, if not, where efforts might be best directed. This is vital information for countries that are working to improve the quality of education in their schools, such as the Republic of Macedonia, where the lack of quality data on assessment of early grade literacy and numeracy skills, particularly after the introduction of several educational reforms, made it difficult to provide a clear overview of the current status of students’ reading and math performance in the country.
The conceptual framework of reading acquisition underpinning the development of EGRA is guided by the work of the U.S. National Reading Panel (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000), the National Literacy Panel (2004), and the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). The two main principles derived from this body of literature that support the development of EGRA are: first, reading assessment (and its complement, instruction) is complex, but there is sufficient research evidence to support the development of specific assessment tools to determine what skills students need in order to become successful readers, regardless of the method by which students are being taught, and second, early reading skills are acquired in phases; the level of complexity of a language affects how long students need to acquire early reading skills (Torgessen, 1998; Abadzi 2005 and 2007).
To gain insight into student foundational reading and mathematics skills, the Foundation for Education and Cultural Initiatives “Step by Step” - Macedonia through the USAID Readers are Leaders Project, implemented in partnership with the education intuitions in Macedonia conducted early assessment with EGRA and EGMA instruments of 3,000 students in 103 primary schools in Macedonia.
The main objective of the study was to explore the existing situation in the schools, and based on the identified needs and findings to plan appropriately the future activities in the schools, tailoring the training modules to the needs of teachers for professional development and involvement of families and local communities in promoting the reading and mathematics skills in early grade students.
The application of EGRA and EGMA in Macedonia has demonstrated that these early grade assessments provide critically important information for opening a policy dialogue in order to inform education stakeholders of the current status of students’ reading performance, to review education programs and policy in the country and to raise awareness about the importance of reading in the early grades for all future learning. EGRA and EGMA may be incorporated into the set of instruments used as part of the regularly scheduled assessments on national level in other European countries as well in line with the recommendations of the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy (2012) for early screening and intervention to identify speech and language difficulties when there is still time to eradicate them. The findings of the study can be used as a starting point for replicating these assessments in European context and based on the results each country may examine the most effective and efficient ways to improve reading and mathematics skills in Europe.
Abadzi, H. (2007) “Instructional Time Loss and Consequences,” The World Bank, Independent Evaluation Group. Abadzi, H, L. Crouch, M. Echegaray, C. Pasco, and J. Sampe, (2005) “Monitoring Basic Skills Acquisition through Rapid Learning Assessments: A Case Study from Perú,” Prospects, Issue 134, 35(2). Aleksova, A. and Mitevski, B. (2006) TIMSS 2003 National Report on student achievements in Macedonia: Bureau for Development of Education, Skopje. Aleksova, A. and Mitevski, N. (2000) TIMSS-R 1999 National Report on student achievements in Macedonia: Bureau for Development of Education, Skopje. EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy (2012) Final Report: Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/school/doc/literacy-report_en.pdf. Government of the Republic of Macedonia (2009) Report on the Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: United Nations Development Program http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/MDG/english/MDG%20Country%20Reports/Former%20Yugoslav%20Republic%20of%20Macedonia/MDG%20Report%2009%20ENG.pdf Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald A. Tindal. (2006) Oral reading fluency norms: A valuable assessment tool for reading teachers,” The Reading Teacher, 59(7): 636–644. doi:10.1598/RT.59.7.3. Lameva, B. and Ramadani, R. (2013) TIMSS 2011 National Report on student achievements in Macedonia: Bureau for Development of Education, Skopje. Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Foy, P., & Drucker, K.T. (2012) TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College. Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Gonzalez, E.J., & Kennedy, A.M. (2003) PIRLS 2001 International Report: IEA’s Study of Reading Literacy Achievement in Primary Schools, Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College. Naceva, B. and Mickovska, G. (2003) PIRLS 2001 National Report on student achievements in Macedonia: Bureau for Development of Education, Skopje. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/upload/report_pdf.pdf National Literacy Panel. (2004). National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth: Progress report. Retrieved from http://www.cal.org/natl-litpanel/reports/progress.pdf Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: Committee on Preventing of Reading Difficulties in Young Children and National Academy Press. Torgesen, J. K. (1998). Catch them before they fall: Identification and assessment to prevent reading failure in young children. America Educator/American Federation of Teachers, 22, 32-39.
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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