Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries. Education rigorous literature review.

Abstract

Developing countries face distinct challenges in providing access to quality education. Educational provision also varies markedly in terms of teacher training, teaching and learning resources, school attendance, and motivation of parents, teachers and children for schooling. Against this backdrop, the authors consider the available evidence on foundation learning and literacy in order to identify key components for intervention that are appropriate to specific cultural and linguistic contexts.

The review was informed by research conducted in economically developed countries, but the focus of the narrative review was on literature from developing countries (low- and lower-middle income countries), published from 1990 to January 2013.

The review was commissioned to address issues pertaining to foundation learning and literacy. Evidence on language and literacy learning from early childhood to Grade 8 (approximately 3-13 years), when the ability to read with understanding should be in place, was included, as was mathematical reasoning and numeracy learning up to Grade 2 (approximately 3-8 years) as an example of a foundation skill critical to the development of numerical and scientific thinking. In conducting the review, within-child factors were covered, including cognitive and language skills, and contextual factors including home language and literacy environment, community practices and quality of opportunity as well as the social stratifiers and economic drivers that influence non-enrolment, poor attendance, and dropout. A rigorous evaluation of interventions was conducted.

Citation

Nag, S.; Chiat, S.; Torgerson, C.; Snowling, M.J. Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries. Education rigorous literature review. Department for International Development (DFID), London, UK (2014) iv + 81 pp.

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