The TaRL testing tool assesses foundational reading and mathematics skills (number recognition and basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). When creating assessment tools, TaRL implementers are guided by the following principles:

  • Achievable Learning Goals: Many children across the world fail to acquire foundational skills in the first years of schooling, but still manage to progress through the schooling system. By the time they reach middle to upper primary school the grade-level learning goals are often unachievable. The first step for governments and NGOs adopting TaRL is to identify achievable foundational skill goals for children. These goals will determine the difficulty of the upper limit of the test. For example, in TaRL reading tests there is a story which children may be asked to read – test designers will need to decide at what level the story should be set (for example a grade 2 or 3 level story). These decisions should be based on what most children can realistically achieve, rather than what is prescribed by the curriculum. The tool should then be crafted around these learning goals.
  • Simplicity: TaRL assessment tools are easy to use and interpret. This ensures that everyone within the system is able to identify what children can do and understand how children are progressing throughout TaRL implementation. Instructors can easily assess all children and use the results to target teaching to the needs of the child.
  • Speed: Since assessments in TaRL are done one-on-one with every child, the assessment tools should not have too many levels or items. This ensures that the tool is short but efficient, and that more time is devoted to teaching and learning as opposed to assessments.
  • Contextual Reality: To ensure the focus remains on reading skills, the text used in each section of the reading assessment should be based on concepts, themes, and settings which are familiar to the children.

Click here to see an example of how assessment tools are created.

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