The Receptive and Expressive Language Module (RELM)
The main objective of the Receptive and Expressive Language Module (RELM) is to assess pertinent aspects of receptive and productive language skills in students in preprimary and primary grades across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The RELM examines critical components of students' linguistic abilities and how these relate to reading competency.
The RELM is proposed as a module for the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) but can also be implemented as a stand-alone module. The intent is that the RELM will help users to disentangle floor effects (or zero scores) for EGRA and, thus, drill down on the key components affecting reading comprehension.
The RELM focuses on measuring receptive and expressive language abilities.
The need to measure various facets of language for better understanding of reading comprehension is critical in LMICs, where millions of children learn to read in languages they may not speak or use at home. A solid empirical understanding of language abilities in such multilingual contexts can help disentangle the reasons for low literacy rates and work toward solving the learning poverty crisis.
The RELM is grounded on the Simple View of Reading (SVR) Framework (adapted by AIR, 2021), illustrated in Figure 1. This model postulates that reading is supported by two pillars: language comprehension, or “the ability to construct meaning from spoken representations of language,” and decoding, or “the ability to recognize written representations of words” - and their sub-skills (Hoover and Gough, 1990). While most existing EGRA sub-tasks focus on the decoding pillar of the SVR, the RELM focuses primarily on the language comprehension pillar. The RELM operationalizes linguistic comprehension by measuring listening comprehension and vocabulary in its receptive and expressive form.
- University of Notre Dame
- American Institutes for Research
Focuses on student’s ability to identify nouns in stimulus sheets of four images, each corresponding to nouns they hear from the assessors in the language of assessment
Measures student’s ability to say nouns or verbs in the language of assessment corresponding to the isolated images shown to them
Listening Comprehension (two options)
Multiple Choice: the student listens to a story (read to them by an assessor), and answers multiple choice comprehension questions (also presented aurally)
Picture Matching: students listen to a sentence or a simple story, assessor presents a set of 4 pictures, and students match which picture best represents the target sentence/story
Led by USAID, the University of Notre Dame, and the American Institutes for Research, this workstream adopts an iterative process for tool development. Following a build-test-learn-improve approach, the second round of RELM data collection will be informed by learnings from the first round of data collection. It will include Universal Design for Assessment (UDA) considerations. The RELM toolkit, including the adaptation guide and training materials, will be finalized after Phase 2 piloting.
Current Partnership Locations
- The Philippines
For more information, contact SHARE USAID Agreement Officer Representative Dr. Elena Walls (firstname.lastname@example.org), University of Notre Dame Lead Investigator Dr. Fernanda Soares (email@example.com), or USAID RELM Point of Contact Anne Angarola (firstname.lastname@example.org).