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Mobile assessment as part of EGRA project
Impact

Tangerine® – Mobile Learning Assessments, Data Collection, and Teacher Coaching Made Easy

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

Objective:

To improve both efficient monitoring of fieldwork and the quality and availability of data used for education decision making.

Approach:

RTI developed a mobile assessment and coaching tool called Tangerine, a first-of-its-kind software application optimized for offline data collection on low-cost Android tablets.

Impact:

Tangerine has changed how reading and mathematics assessments are carried out in low-resource settings. It has been used in 65 countries by more than 80 organizations and researchers. Tangerine has powered more than 2 million assessments and surveys in support of better data and evidence to improve education outcomes.

Since 2010, improving foundational literacy and numeracy 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, the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and others.

In support of this work and to improve upon paper-based data collection, 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 devices. The Tangerine application 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 initially designed the tool for use on RTI-implemented projects aimed at improving foundational learning, including assessing and improving early grade reading and mathematics skills. We quickly discovered the tool’s potential to improve both efficient monitoring of fieldwork and the quality and availability of data used for higher-level decision making.

Ministries of education and donor-supported international organizations looking for low-cost, effective solutions to measure the impact of their foundational learning improvement efforts often turn to Tangerine. To data the software has been used by more than 80 organizations spanning 65 countries and in over 100 language 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, and JavaScript. This intuitive and time-efficient application 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.

Tangerine is truly a community resource: programmers who make improvements to functionality must share those modifications, improving the source code for everyone.

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.
Learn More About Tangerine

Enabling educators to administer rapid assessments

Tangerine also serves as the base platform for the rollout of Tangerine:Teach, which puts the power of the application 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—if they ever see them at all.

Initially piloted under the USAID-funded Kenya Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Initiative and since deployed at scale in several other countries, including Bangladesh and the Kyrgyz Republic, Tangerine:Teach 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.

Tangerine:Teach can not only facilitate formative assessment of academic content but also integrate non-cognitive assessments as well as inclusive education and social-emotional learning items. Teachers can then use the output to inform and strengthen their approaches, including moving towards more holistic, differentiated, and inclusive instruction.

Learn more about Tangerine:Teach

Delivering data-driven guidance to help teacher coaches improve instruction

In 2017, RTI received a grant from Google.org to improve Tangerine:Coach, another innovative open source tool in the Tangerine suite.

Tangerine:Coach supports teacher coaches to conduct classroom visits—recording teacher observations, conducting rapid student assessments, and engaging with teachers in discussion and reflection. Tangerine:Coach allows instructional coaches to follow along with teachers as they advance through their lesson plans, take notes and observations about areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, and can even help the coach to provide constructive feedback for how teachers can improve their lesson delivery.

Geo-location tagging helps to ensure coaching visits occurred at the school during school hours. Like all of the Tangerine tools, Tangerine:Coach is customizable for each context. It is already used nationwide in Kenya and Sierra Leone for both primary and secondary education as well as in the Kyrgyz Republic and Liberia.

Learn more about Tangerine:Coach

Worldwide use in support of education improvement

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 80 organizations and researchers. With content in more than 100 languages and accommodating diverse scripts, this application has powered more than 2 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 low- and middle-income countries. 

Tangerine is a registered trademark of RTI International.