AVSI - Ivory Coast. (2016). Integrated Support for Sustainable School Canteens and Early Grade Reading in Ivory Coast (2016-2020). Ivory Coast: Gulemetova, M., Dessein, M.L. & Safarha, E.
This report presents the evaluation plan and baseline levels of key reading indicators for the Integrated Support for Sustainable School Canteens and Early Grade Reading program (ISSSC&EGRP) implemented by the World Food Program (WFP) in collaboration with AVSI in Ivory Coast. The program is funded by US Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole Program. The main activities of ISSSC&EGRP are setting up school canteens and providing school lunches in Ivory Coast. Additional activities include supporting the Ivory Coast Ministry of Education (MENET) to operationalize a new reading instruction method. The combined goal of ISSSC&EGRP is to reduce hunger and improve the reading skills of young children in Ivory Coast. The program began in 2016 and continue until 2020.
WFP and AVSI partnered with the National Statistical Institute (INS) to design the overall evaluation of the ISSSC&EGRP and to collect baseline data in April 2016. However, given INS's lack of experience in measuring reading proficiency, WFP and AVSI also contracted with IMPAQ International to partner with INS and support the evaluation team. IMPAQ worked closely with AVSI, WFP, and INS to design and implement an evaluation study to measure the progress of the program on reading indicators.
The IMPAQ team designed an evaluation of the reading component of the program, and developed, adapted, and calibrated a student reading assessment to fit the educational context in Ivory Coast. Researchers developed a student questionnaire and provided training and support to enumerators to administer the reading assessment. Researchers also selected a sample of program and control schools in which INS field teams collected the students' data. Finally, they performed descriptive and statistical analyses. The key findings include:
- Very few students can read at grade level: only 5 percent of first graders passed the acceptable reading threshold for the grade.
- The reading proficiency levels were low across all grades: 14 percent of second graders, 22 percent of third graders, 11 percent of fourth graders, 6 percent of fifth graders, and 8 percent of sixth graders read at grade level.
- Girls demonstrated lower reading skills than boys across all grades.
- There were substantial regional differences in the proportion of students who demonstrated grade-level reading ability.
- One in three students reported that they read at home with a parent or a sibling.
- Regardless of the low parental engagement in reading, three out of four students reported that they liked reading.