How to administer the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) using SurveyCTO

This is a sibling resource to the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) as the two sets of assessments have a number of features in common. Those working in education may already be familiar with the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA). SurveyCTO's field plug-in support has allowed for the development of an EGMA solution. While EGMA data collection was possible using SurveyCTO before now, it required the use of a stopwatch for timing activities. Timing of activities, and several other helpful functionalities are now available using field plug-ins to help you easily and consistently administer EGMA assessments. You can now administer this important education assessment without compromise, while taking advantage of SurveyCTO's data quality and security features.

Note that this article won't tell you everything you need to know about EGMA. Please consult official EGMA guidelines for authoritative guidance.

Public beta: This field plug-in is a "public beta" meaning that it is still a work-in-progress. The version you can test now works well, but how it looks and some functionality are likely to change. Importantly, we're still open to user feedback, so please test the timed field plug-ins and let us know what you think (instructions below).

Supported EGMA activities

EGMA is made up of a number of standard subtask types. This resource deals with the following EGMA subtasks:

  • Number identification
  • Number discrimination
  • Missing number
  • Addition Level 1
  • Addition Level 2
  • Subtraction Level 1
  • Subtraction Level 2
  • Word problems

See the EGMA documentation for details on these subtasks. A number of field plug-ins are part of our EGMA solution, discussed in the next section.

Jumping straight in

If you're familiar with EGMA, you may want to jump straight in and test the field plug-ins along with a sample form. If you need help understanding how to deploy sample forms with attachments, see this article. Otherwise, here are your resources:

The EGMA sample form. This sample has been designed based on the core EGMA instrument in English, shared by RTI International. Either save a copy in your own Google Drive, or download as an Excel file.

  1. The following field plug-ins are also required by this sample form:
    1. The timed-grid-test field plug-in. This is a direct download link. For more details, see the field plug-in repository. This field plug-in is used to administer the number identification subtask, and can be used for addition and subtraction too. See the documentation.
    2. The timed-field-list field plug-in (also a direct download link). This field plug-in is required for a few different subtasks including number discrimination, missing numbers, addition, and subtraction. See the documentation.
    3. The timed-advanced field plug-in (direct download). This field plug-in is involved in the execution of level 2 addition and subtraction, and word problems. See the documentation.

Some familiarity with SurveyCTO will help too, but you should be able to jump right in, comparing what you see with the PDF from RTI International.

Preparation to deploy a timed EGMA subtask

Quickly prepare item lists for use with our EGMA sample form using these spreadsheet formulas.

The timed-field-list and the timed-grid-test field plug-ins are built on top of the select_multiple field type. In order to administer one of the subtasks facilitated by these, you will need to provide a list of items to use in your subtasks. While the timed-grid-test field plug-in takes a standard choice list, that list of items may not be laid out while planning the assessment in the same way as a choice list.

In the case of timed-field-list, the list of items to be assessed is fed in from another field. For example, the number discrimination test in the sample form's list of items is spread across two calculate fields named "nd_list1" and "nd_list2".

These lists of items were generated (including HTML formatting) using spreadsheet formulas that parse the items in an arrangement you'd recognize into the required item lists. 

Prepare choice lists quickly from grids of items using the formulas in this spreadsheet template. The spreadsheet has a tab for each subtask, but the general layout is the same. It includes:

  1.  A breakdown of the HTML used and an explanation of each tag used.
  2. A table containing the list of items to use.
  3. A column that uses formulas to combine the HTML and input.
  4. The required output lists. 

Your primary interaction with this template will be to change the input as required by your subtask and to copy the output to your form definition. Using the number discrimination sheet of the preparation spreadsheet as an example, I would copy "itemlist1" (cell B26) into the calculate field "nd_list1" on line 23 of the sample form. You would do the same for "nd_list2", copying the items in "itemlist2". You would then copy the content in "itemdisplay" (cell B23) into the calculate field "nd_all_labels" on line 59 of the sample form.

Timed subtask controls and options

The majority of the EGMA subtasks prescribe a time limit for each question or set of items to be tested. Each field plug-in provides the means for setting a time limit for each test. The full functionality of each plug-in can be found in the documentation (links above).

Subtasks using the timed-grid-test field plug-in

In any of the subtasks facilitated by timed-grid-test, you'll need to use the "start" button at the top to begin to start the subtask. As soon as you do, the play symbol will be exchanged for a countdown timer.

Assessors will listen to students attempt each item in the list of items, moving left-to-right, marking only the incorrect items. Omission / non-selection indicates that an item has been correctly attempted.If a child is struggling with an item for more than 5 seconds, the assessor asks them to move onto the next item.

To finish a subtask early before the time runs out, simply tap on the "finish" button in the bottom right. You would need to double-confirm finishing early for safety sake.

Note: When you finish early the assumption of the timed-grid-test field plug-in is that every item has been attempted. The number identification subtask has no early ending rule. Rather, the assessor should give the child 5 seconds to struggle on a number, until the overall time limit runs out. The assessor then marks the last attempted item, if time runs out. The "finish" button is only to be used when the child is faster than the allotted time.

If you administer EGMA in a right-to-left language, please contact us as below.


Subtasks using the timed-field-list plug-in

The timed-field-list field plug-in works with both select_one and select_multiple fields. Similar to timed-grid-test, it also needs a prepared list of items, but those are formatted differently (as discussed under the preparation heading above). 

You may need to split the list across two such fields for longer lists. You can see an example of this in our sample form. For the subtraction level 1 subtask, we split the 20 questions across two fields. The time is preserved moving from the first field to the next. The timed-field-list field plug-in has many parameters which can be used to control how the plug-in works; for an authoritative rundown of these, see the wiki.

Subtasks using this field plug-in will start automatically when you arrive on the screen. Tap on "CONTINUE" in the choice list of the instructional select_one field that precedes a subtask using timed-field-list to begin the subtask (the form will guide you).


Note: Some subtasks can be set-up using either the timed-grid-test field plug-in or the timed-field-list field plug-in. An example of this can be found in the sample form with the Addition Level 1 and Subtraction Level 1 subtasks. Though similar in execution, these tasks are prepared using different field plug-ins and it's really a matter of preference as to which method you use.

Additional tracking tasks

The addition level 2, subtraction level 2 and word problems are unique in that they use two choice lists. The tasks require the assessor to note the child's answer and whether the child used an aid in getting to the answer. Examples of aids that the child could use include fingers, tick marks and counters. As such, the first choice list is focussed on the question the child is responding to and the second choice list on the aids used by the child.

Assessors should record the inefficient aids a child uses, and then follow instructions based on that for a given subtask.

Feedback from you

As above, EGMA on SurveyCTO is still a work-in-progress. The field plug-ins that support it are stable and reliable, but could use some improvement. We would love to hear your feedback. Please write to support@surveycto.com and we'll get back to you.

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