US experts help improve early grade reading and math skills in Uzbekistan schools

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TASHKENT (TCA) — A team of five U.S. education experts have arrived in Uzbekistan to work with education experts from Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Public Education to develop reading and mathematics assessments for students in grades 2 and 4. The data from this assessment, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will be used to conduct a national-level survey of how well students are developing foundational skills in primary school. The survey results will provide Uzbekistan a comprehensive set of data on student outcomes that will inform strategies to improve teaching and learning so that all students have the opportunity to succeed, the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan said on October 11.

The Uzbekistan and U.S. team will develop more than 28 assessments for math and reading in eight local languages (Uzbek, Russian, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Tajik, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and English).

Forty staff from the central ministry and regional offices will be participating in the 8-day exercise, which will use the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA) as foundations for evaluating students’ skills and competencies. These assessments are the first component of the $50 million, five-year Development Objective Agreement (DOAG) that was signed between the Ministry and USAID on September 28, 2019, as the Ministry places greater emphasis on a competency-based approach to education.

Minister of Public Education Sherzod Shermatov addressed participants, noting “This is the first international assessment taking place in Uzbekistan that will help get an accurate gage of the learning outcomes in primary schools. This will assist the Ministry in developing new methodologies for improving the education system.”

This assessment is only one component of the overall education assistance the United States will provide to Uzbekistan.

USAID has enlisted RTI International to collaborate with Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Public Education during the workshop by providing reading, mathematics and assessment expertise. In November 2019, RTI International will work with the ministry to conduct a small-scale pilot of the EGRA and EGMA instruments, and then, based on that pilot, conduct the national-level in 2020.

Sergey Kwan

TCA