An Examination of Early Grade Reading Assessments in Central Asia: Using Factor Analysis to Determine the Latent Data Structure in Kyrgyz, Russian, and Tajik

Todd Drummond, American Councils for International Education

Full text available for purchase: Reading and Writing (2021).


The early grade reading assessment (EGRA) is frequently used in low and middle-income countries to inform the state of reading outcomes and reading instruction. Although the EGRA has been administered in languages with varying orthographies and scripts, there is little research on the cross-linguistic comparability of the psychometric properties of its subskills in a wide range of languages and diverse writing systems.

In this study, Grade 2 and 4 assessment results in the Kyrgyz, Russian, and Tajik languages from the Kyrgyz Republic (4,751 pupils) and Tajikistan (4,328 pupils) were analyzed to determine the number and nature of the underlying EGRA constructs. These three languages represent very different languages families but all three use the Cyrillic or modified Cyrillic script. Principal axis factor analysis was employed on nationally representative samples to factor analyze reading results on nine reading subtasks for Grade 2 and seven reading subtasks for Grade 4.

The results for all three languages indicate that the data structure confirms two common underlying reading constructs: decoding and language comprehension. By focusing our investigation on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, we go beyond the “anglocentricities” and monolingualism inherent in the theoretical base that informs the development of many EGRAs. This is important not only for programmatic decision making and impact evaluation outcome measure identification, but also for the development and definition of literacy metrics that may be used in the measurement of the Sustainable Development Goals and other international development benchmarks.