Ability to Read and to Understand a Written Text
INDICATOR PHRASING: % of target group members aged 18 years or more who can read a provided text and correctly understand its meaning
What is its purpose?
The indicator measures the proportion of adult target group members who can read a provided text and correctly understand its meaning. It can be used to measure the results of activities which focus on improving adult literacy.
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
Calculate the indicator's value by using the following methodology:
1) In many areas, people speak up to several different languages (e.g. the official language and local languages). Therefore, your first step is to decide on which language you will test. This is likely to be the language that your education activities focus on.
2) Prepare three short examples of a written text that the target group members might be exposed to in their daily life and should be able to understand. This can include, for example, information about a service offered by the government, instructions on how to use a certain product or a section on the conditions of a simple work agreement. Ensure that each text is:
- Brief: it should be no longer than 4 short sentences
- Easy to read: ensure that the text is written using large, easy-to-read fonts
- Simple: it should not contain any NGO jargon, technical terms and words that many people might not be familiar with
- Relevant to the respondents’ lives: ensure that the text is about topics that the respondents can relate to and know about from their own lives
Be aware that in some countries, the Ministry of Education has standardised texts to test people’s literacy – if available and appropriate to the context of your intervention, consider using them.
3) Conduct interviews with a representative sample of target group members aged 18 years or more, asking them the following questions:
RECOMMENDED SURVEY QUESTIONS (Q) AND POSSIBLE ANSWERS (A)
Q1: Do you have difficulty seeing clearly if you don’t wear glasses?
A1: yes / no / is not sure
(ask the following questions only if the previous answer is NO)
Q2: Are you able to read text in [specify the tested language]?
A2: yes / no / with difficulties
(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES or WITH DIFFICULTIES)
Q3: Provide the enumerator with the first text and ask: Can you please read this text to me?
1) the respondent is able to read the text
2) the respondent is NOT able to read the text
(ask the following question only if the respondent could read the text, even if it was with difficulty)
Q4: Can you please tell me in your own words what the text is about? What is it saying? If you like, you can review the text once more.
1) the respondent understands the meaning of the text
2) the respondent does NOT understand the meaning of the text
Repeat Q3 and Q4 for the two remaining texts.
To calculate the indicator’s value:
- count the number of people who could read and correctly explain the meaning of at least two out of three of the provided texts
- divide this number by the total number of surveyed people who do NOT have difficulties seeing without having glasses
- multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage
Disaggregate the data by gender, age groups, ethnicity and other vulnerability factors.
1) It is important that you do not test the reading skills of people who do not see clearly (question 1). Even if these people could bring their glasses, you might not know whether their inability to read the text is due to their illiteracy or because they are not using the right type of glasses.