In India, Revealing the Children Left Behind

Right now, all over rural India, this is happening: Two local volunteers with a few days’ training come into the village. They knock on randomly selected doors, asking to see all children ages 6 to 16 who live there. In the front yard of the house, they test the children one by one in reading and math. A crowd gathers: parents, neighbors, sometimes the whole village. Children jump up and down, shouting, “Test me! Test me!”

Each test is a single sheet of paper. The reading sheet — here’s an example in Hindi and here’s one in English (PDF), and there are 15 other languages as well — has four sections. The volunteers ask children to read letters, words, a short paragraph and a longer story. The math sheet has single-digit and double-digit number recognition, two-digit subtraction with borrowing, and division on the level of, for example, 673 divided by eight.

The volunteers record the highest level in reading and math the child can manage comfortably. Then they to go another house: 20 chosen at random from various parts of the village.

During October and November, volunteers will test between 600,000 and 700,000 children, including some in every rural district in India. <Read more.>

Via Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times.

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