BRIEF

Evaluations - Education

October 6, 2016

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BASIC EDUCATION SERVICE DELIVERY

 

Education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest routes for reducing poverty and ensuring equal opportunities for girls. While the number of children attending school has surged in the last decade, about 60 million primary-age children, mostly in developing countries, remain out of school. Enrollment is not the only problem. Students attending school are not learning: More than one of every three primary school students in the world cannot read, write, or do basic mathematics. Education reforms have traditionally focused on increased spending to improve the quality of education. However, such policies have done little for student learning. As such, policy attention is focusing on accountability, information, and incentives for both public and private schools. SIEF-supported researchers are working with governments and non-governmental organizations around the world to measure the impact of innovative programs to strengthen the quality of education, providing policymakers with evidence they can use to improve the lives of their students and the well-being of their countries. Read more about the background to our impact evaluations on accountability and education in the Cluster Note. Here is the background information about our more recent call for proposals on early childhood development and on engaging non-state actors in education

 

PORTFOLIO OF IMPACT EVALUATIONS 

 

Bangladesh: Is Child Development Helped by an Extra Year of Preschool?

  • Principal Investigator - Shinsaku Nomura, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2016 - 2019
  • Evaluation: In Bangladesh, the government is considering extending preprimary school from one year for five year olds to two years started at age four. The evaluation of a Save the Children pilot preschool program aimed at four years olds will help build evidence about the usefulness of two years of preschool to improving children’s primary school readiness and the cost effectiveness of such a program.

 

Brazil: Using Teacher Feedback Program to Improve Learning: A SIEF-supported Impact Evaluation in Brazil

  • Principal Investigators - Barbara Bruns, World Bank; Leandro Costa, World Bank
  • Timeline: Completed
  • Evaluation: In Brazil, policy makers in the state of Ceara are looking at how providing information to schools about best teaching practices, as well as offering peer learning opportunities, can help boost the performance of less effective teachers. Researchers will evaluate the various methods in effort to locate low-cost alternatives to traditional, center-based training. 

 

Chad: Paying Community Teachers: Impact of the Payer and Transfer Mechanism

  • Principal investigators: Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University; Leigh Linden, University of Texas at Austin; Helene Cloutier, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2015 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Chad, almost all children go to primary school, but students perform poorly on assessments and many leave school before finishing. Teaching quality tends to be low, and many primary school teachers are contract teachers, not civil servants, and their payments are low and often delayed. As part of efforts to strengthen the education system, the Government of Chad is instituting a new way to pay contract teachers in rural parts of the country. The evaluation will measure the impact of different payment methods -- such as electronic payments through mobile phones -- on teacher behavior and student learning. 

 

Ghana: Supervision and Incentives for Increased Learning: The TCAI High Performance Program

  • Researchers: Annie Duflo, Innovations for Poverty Action; Jessica Kiessel, Innovations for Poverty Action; Moussa Blimpo, University of Oklahoma
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evalution:  Ghana has made major strides in education in recent years, registering a completion rate of nearly 100 percent for primary school and 81% for junior high in 2010-11. Despite large investments in basic education, however, learning outcomes have proven far from satisfactory. Fewer than one-third of primary school children have tested proficient in English or mathematics in recent years, and one-fifth of third-graders were unable to read a single word in English in a 2009 assessment. As part of a campaign to improve the quality of education, the Government is seeking to increase the amount of time primary school teachers spend using targeted instruction, which groups students by ability rather than grade. The evaluation will examine how increased training and supervision in this area impacts teacher performance and student success.

 

Guinea: Performance-Based Incentives for Teachers in Guinea

  • Principal investigators: Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; Deon Filmer, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: As in many developing countries, educating the poorest students in Guinea remains a challenge. Often, providing additional funding to schools is not enough to improve learning. The Government of Guinea aims to improve student learning by enhancing teacher performance through an incentive pilot scheme that includes a financial reward, social recognition, and teacher training. Third and fourth-grade teachers from 420 schools participated in the pilot. Researchers will evaluate the impact of these incentives on student achievement.

 

Haiti: Education Service Delivery Support

  • Principal Investigators: Moussa Blimpo, University of Oklahoma; Melissa Adelman, World Bank; David Evans, World Bank; Noah Yarrow, World Bank
  • Timeline: Completed
  • Evaluation: In Haiti, policy makers are looking for ways to increase teacher accountability in the education sector. Researchers are working with the Ministry of Education on a program that uses cell phone cameras and wireless internet connections to verify teacher attendance. The evaluation will help determine whether the cell-phone monitoring has an effect on teacher attendance, and ultimately, student learning. 

 

India: Non-Financial Extrinsic and Intrinsic Teacher Motivation in Government and Private Schools in India

  • Principal investigators: Sangeeta Goyal, World Bank; Andrew Fraker, IDinsight; Neil Buddy Shah, IDinsight; Ronald Abraham, IDinsight; Deeptha Umapathy, IDInsight; Sangeeta Dey, World Bank; Lant Pritchett, Harvard University
  • Timeline:  2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In India, the rise in enrollment has been accompanied by a steady drop in student achievement:  the proportion of third-graders who know how to do subtraction, for example, decreased from 45 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2011. One reason is that the quality of teachers is low, with teachers themselves scoring poorly on math and language tests. To strengthen learning outcomes, NGOs seeking to boost education outcomes are experimenting with non-financial incentives to better motivate teachers using extrinsic motivation such as public recognition, as well as intrinsic motivations such as monthly meetings to help foster a sense of community and responsibility. The evaluation will gauge the cost-effectiveness of these strategies and their impact on teacher and student performance in both government and affordable private schools.

 

Mexico: Impact Evaluation of a Low Cost Private School Model

  • Principal investigator: Lucrecia Santibanez, RAND Corporation
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: Many public schools in Mexico are failing to educate students, particularly schools in poorer areas. Recent tests show that most 15-year-olds do not have basic competency in math, and almost 20 percent do not have basic reading skills. Reforms to improve education in Mexico move slowly, and parents rarely have a voice. This research will evaluate the impact of Christel House de Mexico, a low-cost, rigorous private school for poor children that also works to ensure parental commitment. This study will provide new research to address the knowledge gap in the literature on the impact of private provision of high-quality, affordable schooling for the poor in developing country contexts. 

 

Mexico: Increasing Education Accountability through Community-Based Pedagogical Assistants

  • Principal Investigators:  Ciro Avitabile, World Bank; David Evans, World Bank; Peter Holland, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In Mexico, where there is a large discrepancy in the quality of education between urban and rural schools, policy makers are looking for ways to decentralize decision making and encourage parents in indigenous communities to get more involved in their children’s schooling. As part of this effort, researchers are evaluating the effects of a program in Chiapas, one of the poorest states in Mexico,  that sends mobile pedagogical assistants to underperforming remote primary schools to give parents information about the schools and provide classroom support to teachers. The assistants, who are recent university graduates, review school performance, distribute education information throughout the community, and tutor struggling students. Researchers will evaluate the effects of the program on student learning. 

 

Mozambique: Randomized Impact Evaluation of Various Early Literacy Interventions in Mozambique

  • Principal investigators: Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank; Sophie Naudeau, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: Studies have shown that teacher training combined with accountability strategies can result in improved student learning outcomes in early grades. More research is needed to disentangle the effect of the public information and training. The Government of Mozambique has implemented a pilot program to raise student achievement through teacher training and by providing families with information about reading test results. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies on educational outcomes.

 

Nigeria: Understanding the Dynamics of Information for Accountability

  • Researchers: Olatunde Adekola, World Bank; Marie-Helene Cloutier, World Bank; Robert Garlick, Duke University; M. Abul Azad Alam, World Bank
  • Timeline: 2014 - 2018
  • Evaluation: Nigeria has launched key reforms in education, including a program making basic education compulsory. Enrollment rates, especially among the poorest families, are still insufficient in basic and secondary education, and the quality of schooling remains low.  In 2006, as part of a new round of reforms, the government unveiled a ten-year plan to improve access, equity and quality in education. One initiative aimed at high schools will provide parents with more information about the academic performance of their children’s schools using a combination of school meetings, flyers, text messages and phone calls.  Researchers will evaluate the impacts of this initiative, as well as the frequency of information delivery, on student performance and parent, teacher and school behavior. 

 

Pakistan: Community Engagement for School Committees in Pakistan

  • Principal investigators:  Salman Asim, World Bank; Margo Hoftijizer, World Bank; Umbreen Arif, World Bank
  • Timeline:  2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: Governments in developing countries often support school-based management committees as a way to get parents and community members more involved in education in order to improve the quality and ensure community voices are heard. However, it’s unclear how useful these committees are and how to get them to work more effectively.  This evaluation in Pakistan aims to measure the effect of  different approaches to boost parental involvement in attempts to improve school functioning and student learning.

 

Pakistan: Investing in the Education Market: Strengthening Private Schools for the Rural Poor

  • Principal investigators: Tahir Andrabi, Pomona College; Asim Khwaja, Harvard University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In developing countries, low-cost private schools often offer better education than public schools. But in Pakistan, several external conditions are constraining low-cost private school growth and effectiveness, including access to credit and technical resources. Researchers will seek to overcome these constraints by implementing a project that offers three models of financial support to schools: grants, loans, and equity financing.

 

Rwanda: Selection and Motivational Impacts of Performance Contracts for Rwandan Primary School Teachers

  • Principal Investigators: Owen Ozier, World Bank; Clare Leaver, University of Oxford; Pieter Serneels, University of East Anglia; Andrew Zeitlin, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: Pay-for-performance programs have become an increasingly popular way to boost teacher incetives and improve student learning. But little is known about the effects of these programs on the overall composition of a country’s teacher corps, especially in low income countries. Does the salary boost create incentives for more skilled and passionate young professionals to become teachers? Or does it have the opposite effect, in that it minimizes intrinsic motivation and instead attracts people interested only in a more attractive salary? Researchers are working with the Ministry of education to measure the impact of pay-for-performance in order to help recruit and keep better teachers. 

 

Senegal: Using Koranic Schools to Improve Education for Boys and Girls

  • Principal investigator: Jean Paul Pétraud, IMPAQ
  • Timeline: 2015-2019
  • Evaluation: Children in religious-based Koranic schools in Senegal, known as Daaras, don’t receive the basic education curriculum that is used in the formal, state sponsored education system. The Government of Senegal wants to boost academic achievement in Koranic schools, and is piloting a program to improve teaching through financial incentives, contributing to the cost of teaching materials and school infrastructure, and training and paying French-language teachers. The evaluation will measure the impact of this program on children’s learning, providing the government and donors with evidence they can use for future decision making.

 

Tanzania: Designing Effective Teacher Incentive Programs

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Deon Filmer, World Bank; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Tanzania, where teacher quality remains low, national test scores have dropped in recent years, and teacher absenteeism remains a challenge, policy makers are interested in exploring the ways in which performance-based incentives can improve learning.  The Ministry of Education has launched a program to improve teacher motivation through incentives, such as recognition, awards and prizes. The evaluation will compare the impact of short- and long-term incentive programs on teacher behavior and student learning. It will also examine the effectiveness of incentives aimed directly at students.

 

Tanzania: Testing Information-for-Accountability and Teacher Incentive Interventions for Improving Education Service Delivery

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Deon Filmer, World Bank; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2015
  • Evaluation: In Tanzania, student learning has been hampered by high rates of teacher absenteeism. The Government of Tanzania seeks to address these problems through non-financial performance-based incentives for teachers and improved information to community members and families on student and school performance. Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches.

 

Uganda: Contrasting Efficiency of Education Service Delivery in Public and Private Sectors

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank, James Habyarimana, Georgetown University, Felipe Barrera, Harvard University
  • Timeline: 2013 - 2017
  • Evaluation: In 2007, Uganda became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to implement a universal secondary education program, and since then, enrollment has jumped by 400 percent. To accommodate the surge in student numbers, the Government began building public-private partnerships and providing financing to private schools. Despite the increasing importance of private schools, however, little analysis has been done on the quality of education they deliver. The Ministry of Education and Sports is exploring ways to improve teaching in both public and private schools by providing teachers with feedback, practical tips and rewards. The evaluation will measure how these actions impact teacher and student performance in private schools, and the findings will be compared with a similar public school initiative.

 

Uganda: Does Class-Size Mediate the Effectiveness of Teacher Quality Interventions?

  • Principal investigators: Shwetlena Sabarwal, World Bank; Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Harvard University; James Habyarimana, Georgetown University
  • Timeline: 2012 - 2016
  • Evaluation: In Uganda, enrollment in primary and secondary schools is increasing rapidly without corresponding increases in the number of teachers. Researchers will study the impact of class size on teaching quality and learning through pilot programs that reduce the number of students in classes by running separate and shorter teaching shifts and give performance-based incentives, teaching tips and feedback to teachers.