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Community Contribution

How Evidence is Informing Solutions to South Africa's Early Grade Reading Crisis

Kirthi Rao and Deeksha Ahuja

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) works with research teams to promote evidence use and impact. We have been monitoring evidence use in 3ie-supported impact evaluations since 2015. In 2018, we adopted contribution tracing because it can be standardized and is more robust and rigorous than our previous approaches. This method applies Bayesian updating to traditional process tracing to reduce subjectivity and increase confidence and consistency in making evidence use claims. In this case, 3ie supported the Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS) evaluation pilot in North West Province in South Africa. Through contribution tracing, we were able to trace the influence of the EGRS evaluation from 2013 to its effects into 2019.

Here we describe how the 3ie stakeholder engagement and evidence uptake plan was used by researchers to plan for maximum evidence uptake. The researchers used the multi-stakeholder steering committee and committed to the National Evaluation Policy Framework (NEPF) which resulted in greater collaboration and opportunities for continuous learning and adaptation.

As a result of the evidence from this impact evaluation funded by 3ie, USAID used the evidence to commission another evaluation in Mpumalanga Province to investigate different modes of coaching, and USAID reconfigured its Reading Support Program to extend EGRS implementation and evaluation across all foundation phase classes in two districts of North West Province.

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