This paper summarises evidence from a DFID-funded review by Nag, Chiat,
Torgerson and Snowling (2014) Literacy, Foundation Learning and
Assessment in Developing Countries. It includes
evidence extracted from 260 papers following a comprehensive search of
the literature from 1990 to January, 2013.
- Language is the vehicle of classroom instruction. In the multilingual
contexts of developing countries, children with low proficiency in the
school language are disadvantaged.
- Strong foundations in oral language are essential to enable fluent
reading with understanding.
- Interventions targeting language skills are beneficial for literacy
development and, if delivered early, they can provide a scaffold for
learning across the curriculum.
- Literacy-related assessment in the early grades has focused on symbol
knowledge, and to a lesser extent phonological awareness, but not on
the critical skills of vocabulary and grammar.
- Assessment of numeracy focuses on arithmetic operations and seldom
includes mathematical reasoning.
- Teaching of numeracy privileges the school language. Children’s
performance improves when teachers support their reading (and
comprehension) of problems and they are permitted to give the solution
in the home language.
Anon. Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries. DFID, London, UK (2014) 12 pp.