Zambia continues to place high importance on learning achievement. To help the Ministry of General Education (MOGE) monitor the progress of Zambian early grade readers, DevTech is partnering with the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) to implement the USAID funded Education Data activity. The key project outputs include the management of two, large-scale, early grade reading assessments (EGRAs). A baseline was conducted in 2018 and a midline is expected in 2020 in five target provinces to understand the reading ability of Grade 2 learners where another USAID funded project “Let’s Read” is being implemented.

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The USAID Education Data activity not only conducts assessments to understand learning achievement but also fosters learning within ECZ to transfer greater technical oversight to its staff to deliver a midline EGRA and future assessments. How is this being achieved? Between July and December 2018, the Education Data activity carried out a capacity assessment of existing staff at ECZ to determine human resource gaps where skills training would be required. Based on the results of this assessment and in close partnership with ECZ, five skills workshops were designed to strengthen the capacity in ten distinct skills which are essential for conducting large-scale EGRAs.

The first of the series of skills training workshops was conducted and is demonstrating hope for promoting stronger local capacity on the path to self-reliance. The Education Data activity facilitated a 7-day hands-on skills development workshop in psychometrics and test equating for seven participants of the ECZ research unit.

Workshop participants shared their reflections on “learning”:

  • Good learning experience. I work on test development and research. Now I have an opportunity and need to read so that I learn more.

  • It has been very educational. I am a person responsible for test development. I heard about terms like “item discrimination” and “item difficulty.” During this workshop I now know how these terms are used. The course has been an eye opener but I need more time to practice.

  • The workshop has been very engaging and useful!

  • It has been very challenging as well as supportive and educational!

  • The training has come at the right time. I am a master’s student in research and this workshop has helped a lot. … I need to read and practice.

  • Three days have been interactive. The pace of the workshop was accommodating. I enjoy statistics and the training has helped us to explain assessment scores. I’m now confident to handle tasks of this nature. A lot of information was given!

  • From baseline to this skills training workshop our relationship is growing and there is a lot that we need to learn and do together until we successfully complete the midline survey. *

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As part of the midline EGRA, ECZ alongside Education Data activity staff will apply the skills developed as part of this workshop to ensure that there are reliable, valid, and equitable relationships between the baseline and midline score scales.

You can read more about the Zambia Education Data Activity here.