OLA was developed in 2011-12 by literacy experts in collaboration with EDC’s International Development Division, to meet the need for a youth-focused assessment of reading skills in post-conflict and under-resourced environments. The initial version of the assessment was developed in English and field tested in Liberia, with subsequent adaptations and field tests in Rwanda (in Kinyarwanda) and Mali (in Bambara).
In the summer of 2013, EDC convened a panel of international reading and assessment experts to review the instrument and the data. The panel included experts from the fields of international assessment, psychometrics, adult literacy, and second-language acquisition. (The panel of experts came from the Center for Applied Linguistics; UNESCO’s Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Program, and the Center for Global Assessment Education Testing Service. It included several academic reading specialists and psychometricians, as well as international and US experts with experience in less-developed countries, including in conflict- and/or crisis-affected environments.) The panel made a number of helpful suggestions aimed at strengthening OLA’s literacy assessments and the demographic questionnaire and approved the instrument as a tool for measuring gains in basic reading skills in the most challenging environments. Their recommendations have been incorporated into the latest version of OLA.
OLA is part of EDC’s toolkit for early reading programs for children and youth. For more information on ReadRightNow!, go to http://rrn.edc.org/.