The Early Grade Reading Study II is a Randomised Control Trial that evaluated two early grade reading interventions in 180 primary schools in two districts in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. The interventions focused on early learning of English as a second language and were implemented with Grade 1 teachers in 2017, Grade 2 teachers in 2018, and Grade 3 teachers in 2019. Across all three years of implementation, the study attempted to measure the causal impact on learner reading performance and investigated the change mechanisms of a structured pedagogic programme. Data on the interventions and outcomes was collected in 2017 (waves 1 and 2), 2018 (wave 3) and 2019 (wave 4) with assessments of the same learners in each each wave, as well as interviews with the learners' parents and teachers, and their school principles. The teacher interviews included short English reading tests.
Kind of Data
Qualitative and quantitative data
Unit of Analysis
Version 1: Edited, anonymised data for non-commercial use
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The Early Grade Reading Study focused on the early learning of English as a second language. In the study, learner assessments collected data on the following:
English Word Recognition and Oral Reading Fluency; English Oral and Written Reading Comprehension; English Productive Vocabulary and Oral Comprehension; Letter Recognition; Home Language Oral Reading Fluency and comprehension
The study also collected data from parents, teachers and principals, using a separate questionnaire for each.
The parent questionnaire collected data on parents' highest level of education, home-language, English spoken and read at home, and learners' television viewing, as well as ownership of household goods, and in-country travel. Parents were also asked about learner's school absenteeism.
The teacher questionnaire collected data on teachers' age and sex, qualifications and experience, and reading habits. Teachers were also asked about their class sizes, multi-grade classes, learner absenteeism, and school days missed. Data was also collected on preferred teaching areas, the challenges teachers face in teaching English as a second language, support and development they receive from the school, and their use of technology for teaching. The teacher survey included a short English language test. The enumerator collecting data from teachers also recorded information on classroom facilities and materials.
The school principle questionnaire elicted data on principals' age, and the school's EMIS number, the number of Grade one learners and Grade 1-3 teachers, parents' employment status and attendance at school meetings, and school infrastructure. Data was also elicited on the foundation phase and challenges faced in teaching English as a second language. During the principal's interview enumerators also recorded information on teacher attendance and the condition of the school grounds and buildings.
Producers and sponsors
Department of Basic Education
University of the Witwatersrand
US Agency for International Development
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Ethics approval for the study was granted by the University of the Witwatersrand Human Research Ethics Committee (Non-medical) on 20 May 2016.
Consent: The study provided consent forms for the parents of learners for Wave 1 data collection, and for teachers and principals for data collection in each wave. In Wave 1 an information sheet was also provided to parents to inform them about the study.
Data Collection Notes
The same learners were assessed in each wave to allow for longitudinal tracking of learners during the study. Wave 1 data collection took place at the beginning of the learners' Grade 1 year and Wave 2 at the end of their Grade 1 year in 2017. Wave 3 data was collected at the end of their Grade 2 year (2018), and wave 4 at the end of Grade 3 (2019).
Data was collected with the following instruments:
Learner Assessment forms:
A Baseline Learner Assessment form (Grade 1) in Wave 1
A Midline Learner Assessment form (end of Grade 1) in Wave 2
A Grade 2 Learner Assessment form in Wave 3
A Grade 3 Learner Assessment form in Wave 4
A Parent Questionnaire
A Teacher Questionnaire
A Principal Questionnaire
The instruments were in English, isiZulu and siSwati. The Study used different Learner Assessment forms each year.The principal and teacher questionnaires were also revised each year.
University of Cape Town
Licensed use files, available for non-commercial use only
Department of Basic Education and the University of the Witwatersrand. Early Grade Reading Study 2017, Wave 1 [dataset]. Version 1. Pretoria: DBE and Wits [producers], 2020. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/rwtx-mn87