ACR GCD leads workshop in Rwanda to support the first adapted Early Grade Reading Assessment for children with disabilities

The landmark workshop in Kigali focused on creating accessible early grade reading assessments for children who are deaf and children who are blind

ACR GCD leads workshop in Rwanda to support the first adapted Early Grade Reading Assessment for children with disabilities

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) led an early grade reading assessment (EGRA) adaptation workshop in Rwanda in partnership with School-to-School International and in collaboration with USAID and the Rwandan Ministry of Education.

The workshop, which was hosted between January 28 and February 6, 2023, was created with the goal of adapting existing early grade reading assessments in Rwanda for children with disabilities. 

Participants included representatives from USAID Rwanda, the Rwandan Ministry of Education, organizations of persons with disabilities, including individuals who are deaf and individuals who are blind, and teachers. 

EGRAs are used worldwide to assess the level of reading ability for children. Traditionally, EGRAs are administered orally to evaluate foundational literacy skills when a child has not yet acquired basic reading fluency and comprehension. 

This traditional format creates barriers to equal access for children with disabilities because it assumes that learners can hear orally delivered instructions, see written text and respond orally. The EGRA workshop adapted the Soma Umenye baseline assessment for children who are blind, low vision, and deaf or hard of hearing. 

The workshop had three main goals: to develop Kinyarwanda-language EGRA tools for Primary 1 to Primary 3 learners who are deaf or hard of hearing and who are blind or low vision, to develop new Rwandan sign language subtasks, and to build the capacity of workshop participants to conduct similar adaptations in Rwanda. As a result of the workshop, braille, large print, and Rwandan sign language accommodations were added and pre-tested to make the EGRA more inclusive. A small group discussion was also held to pave the way for eventual accommodations to be done for learners with intellectual disabilities.

All children can learn to read,” said Valerie Siwotso, senior program manager at ACR GCD. “But we need to work together so that children have access to accessible reading materials and all children are included in assessments.”

As a result of the workshop, the EGRA tools will be finalized and piloted in Rwanda to ensure that all children have equal opportunities to learn to read. 

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By Jamie Brian. All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development is a partnership between USAID, World Vision and the Australian Government.