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Improving Early-Grade Literacy in East Africa: Experimental Evidence from Kenya and Uganda

  • Adrienne M. Lucas

    ()

    (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)

  • Patrick J. McEwan

    ()

    (Wellesley College)

  • Moses Ngware

    (African Population and Health Research Center)

  • Moses Oketch

    (African Population and Health Research Center)

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 program, 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 0.2s. We find a smaller effect (0.08s) on a Kenyan literacy test in Swahili. We find no evidence that differential effects are explained by baseline differences in students or classrooms, or by implementation fidelity. We conclude that differences between countries can likely be attributed to differential effective exposure to the literacy treatment in the tested languages. Students in Kenya were tested in Swahili, which is not necessarily the primary language of instruction, despite official policy.

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File URL: http://www.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/files/ECON/PDFs/RePEc/dlw/WorkingPapers/2013/UDWP13-03.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Delaware, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-03.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:13-03.
Contact details of provider: Postal: Purnell Hall, Newark, Delaware 19716
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Web page: http://www.lerner.udel.edu/departments/economics/department-economics/
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