Tangerine® – Mobile Learning Assessments Made Easy

Transforming the way teachers, coaches, and researchers assess and observe literacy and numeracy in low-income countries


Since 2010, improving early grade reading has been a top priority for RTI and for many bilateral and multilateral donors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), The World Bank, UK Aid and others. In support of this work and to improve upon paper forms of assessment, RTI developed a mobile assessment and coaching tool we dubbed Tangerine. Open source for all users, Tangerine is a first-of-its-kind software application optimized for offline data collection on low-cost Android tablets. The Tangerine app is used primarily to record data from early grade reading and mathematics assessments and to enhance coaching feedback for teachers, students, and school administrators.

Our experts designed the tool for use on RTI projects directed at improving early grade reading and mathematics—to improve both efficient monitoring of fieldwork and the quality and availability of data used for higher level decision making.

Ministries of education and a wide variety of donor-supported international organizations looking for optimal solutions to measure the impact of their early grade education efforts often turn to Tangerine. To date the software has been used by more than 50 organizations spanning 65 countries worldwide.

Open-Source Platform for Timely Data Collection and Analysis

Tangerine builds on the capabilities of other open source tools such as the Android Operating System, CouchDB, JavaScript. This intuitive and time-efficient app simplifies and bridges data collection and data analysis of early grade reading and math assessments, classroom observation data, and an increasing array of learning metric surveys.

With Tangerine,

  • Data are available immediately upon upload from tablets, instead of several weeks or even months later, when manual entry of data from paper forms is typically complete.
  • Learning Assessment data quality is improved by using an internal timer during assessments—supplanting the use of stopwatches by administrators of paper assessments—and by ensuring that results are complete, with minimal discrepancies.
  • Data collections are made more efficient by integrating student assessments on the same platform as school survey instruments.
  • Local partners are able to use a cutting-edge tool for mobile data collection and to access timely and reliable data for education decision making.

Enabling Educators to Administer Rapid Assessments

Tangerine also serves as the base platform for the rollout of Tangerine:Class, which puts the power of the app directly into the hands of teachers and the education staff who support and coach them. Usually, when national assessments are undertaken in education, it takes a long time before teachers and school administrators see the results—much less any results that specifically assess their individual classrooms.

Initially piloted under the USAID-funded Kenya Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Initiative, Tangerine:Class enables educators to

  • Conduct continuous, formative assessments in the classroom
  • Create profiles of individual students and track their progress over time, employing simple charts and graphs that make results easy to understand
  • Integrate student assessments into school visit protocols for administrators tasked with providing pedagogical support to teachers, thus facilitating monitoring.

Delivering Data-Driven Guidance to Help Teacher Coaches Improve Instruction

In 2017 RTI launched a new partnership with Google.org to improve Tangerine:Tutor, another  innovative open source tool in the Tangerine suite.

Tangerine:Tutor supports Curriculum Support Officers (the coaches in Kenyan’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology) who use the tool throughout Kenya to support  classroom visits—recording teacher observations and conducting rapid student assessments.

Under RTI’s partnership with Google.org, we are building on the results of pilot tests and rigorous controlled studies led by our experts in Kenya. The enhanced tool will combine data from coaching visits to offer tailored feedback, relevant videos, and instructional apps to reinforce quality classroom practice.

When complete, the technical infrastructure underlying Tangerine:Tutor will enable its use by education systems in Malawi, Uganda, and elsewhere—extending the potential value and impact of our technology to improve early grade instruction in low resource countries around the world.

Worldwide Use in Support of Early Grade Learning

Tangerine has changed how early grade reading and mathematics assessments are carried out in low resource settings.

To date, Tangerine has been used in 65 countries by more than 50 organizations and researchers. With content available in more than 100 languages, this application has powered more than 1 million assessments and surveys in support of better research and improved education outcomes for early learners. Its widespread use and track record for reliability has established Tangerine as an appropriate and effective data collection tool supporting both improved learning and education research in the developing world. 

Tangerine is a registered trademark of RTI International.