LitScan 360: An innovative digital tool to improve global reading outcomes

Recently, FHI 360 demonstrated LitScan 360, a digital tool currently being developed to provide a rapid assessment of the factors that shape early grade reading. The presentation was made by FHI 360’s Carol DeShano da Silva and Jodi Lis at the mEducation Alliance International Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which brought together 90 organizations from 20 countries engaged in the field of mobile technologies and education.

What is LitScan 360? How does it work?

LitScan 360 is a tool based on Literacy 360°, FHI 360’s comprehensive, child-centered approach to literacy improvement in primary schools. The LitScan 360 app can be used on a tablet or smartphone. It collects customized data on the factors that affect literacy, such as teachers, instruction, materials, school leadership, school curriculum, policy, community and family, as well as societal practices and beliefs related to inclusive education, gender, language and culture.

Who can use LitScan 360?

Because administering LitScan 360 requires little experience collecting or analyzing data, nearly anyone can use it. It is appropriate for use with all target populations in countries where literacy is a focus of educational programming. LitScan 360 is aimed at helping ministries of education, educational stakeholders or communities to better understand what influences early grade reading in their specific contexts.

Why is LitScan 360 needed?

250 million children cannot read, write or count well, even those with at least four years in school. Poor reading skills are linked to student repetition, dropout rates and underperformance in other subjects. The data collected through LitScan 360 can inform the creation of targeted interventions and the more efficient allocation of resources for literacy programs.

How will LitScan 360 improve literacy outcomes globally?

The tool provides a holistic picture of the factors that shape whether and how a child learns to read and write. It can be adapted to collect national, systemic data or targeted, locally relevant data on literacy. The process of administering LitScan 360 has been developed to foster awareness and engagement around literacy improvement. Educational stakeholders can also use LitScan 360 results to mobilize individuals to improve literacy outcomes in their nations or communities. The tool can provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation of efforts to improve literacy.

What other technology tools is FHI 360 using to track data in education?

FHI 360 developed the “Kmobile” schools app, which has been used to identify and provide school and learning site information in 14 countries. It has tracked more than 1.8 million students in more than 5,000 schools, including in refugee camps and South Sudan.

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