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Kwena Basin Education Trust: Adapted Word Test Results For Grade 3 Learners (2019)

The 'Adapted Word Knowledge Test' is a literacy test which measures the number of words written by learners in 16 minutes. Learners are given a letter and asked to write words that start with that letter. They are given 4 minutes to write as many words as they can. This is done for 4 letters.

Grade 3 Kwena learners where compared to a group of First Language English speakers from a private school on this test. The Kwena learners are Pedi and IsiZulu first language speakers. 

The Kwena learners have been exposed to the Basic Concepts Programme and to an extended language development programme over the past 3-4years.

The results for two of the project schools (reflected in purple) are similar to the control school (reflected in orange), while one of the project schools was significantly weaker. This project school was also significantly weaker than the other project schools for Grade 1 and Grade 2 learners.

These results are most encouraging and suggest that most of the project learners are on par with their first language peers in the ability to generate and write words on this test.

The results are impressive for second/third language speakers from such a deeply rural context whose exposure to English is very limited. The language processing requirements of the test would have been a significant challenge to these learners; Their performance is thus indicative of the development of their English language skills.