EGRA is a successful, paper-based literacy test. Its adoption worldwide by USAID, its relative simplicity, and its ease of use make it an effective tool to measure reading in the developing world. However, eEGRA affords several key advantages over its paper predecessor:
eEGRA is useful at the classroom level. eEGRA results are available immediately after test completion. They can be provided instantly to a teacher on a student-by-student basis, or aggregated into classroom or school-level data for an administrator. The results provide teachers with valuable insights into how to modify instruction. By comparison, paper EGRA results are rarely available below national or district level.
eEGRA is faster and more reliable. Data entry with eEGRA is completed in real time. The eEGRA interface locks input parameters to reduce errors and allows automatic, immediate analysis. Within the test, it regulates timed reading tasks with a pop-up timer window that greatly simplifies test marking. Finally, it standardizes the delivery of instructions via audio playback, ensuring that all children are measured by the same procedure.
eEGRA yields exportable data. eEGRA allows for quick export of data to statistical programs such as SPSS and SAS. This feature gives ministries of education the ability to analyze their own data, providing greater data ownership and sustainability.
A full-size laptop is not necessary to run eEGRA. Since the only requirement is that the machine run Microsoft Excel, a netbook can easily be sufficient. Appropriate machines can be purchased for between $200 and $600 and can then be used for purposes beyond administering eEGRA.
Training is available for eEGRA administrators to learn how to perform the test. A person only moderately familiar with computers may require an additional day or two beyond the normal training time for paper-based EGRA. A fluent computer user will not require any additional time.
eEGRA requires a source of electricity somewhere, though not necessarily in the classroom. A netbook will last a full day of testing on battery power. Administrators can recharge computers at night if they have access to electricity in their accommodation, or via a solar panel or car inverter.
Microsoft Excel is a well-established and stable platform, but in rare moments it can lose data. Also, computers are susceptible to theft and breakage. We have therefore built a simple export procedure so that the data can be time-stamped and backed up with a single click. It can then be easily moved to a flash drive for separate safekeeping.