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BRIEF November 28, 2017

Innovation in Data Production

This theme addresses the need to establish strong baselines and a monitoring system for poverty alleviation, shared prosperity and sustainability goals.

Five projects were completed and eight are ongoing under this theme.

The five completed projects focus on the areas of developing advanced methods of data analysis and improving survey capability. Many of these projects work closely with local partners and help strengthen local capacity.

Project Highlight

Measuring and Analyzing Teacher Knowledge and Behavior

Human capital is critical for individuals to access higher productivity activities and earn higher incomes in those activities. More and more evidence points to the importance of the quality of education—not just the quantity—in determining opportunities. This research aims to (i) enhance global knowledge on the relationship between teacher behaviors and student performance, and (ii) provide empirically-based guidance on how to collect information on teacher performance along dimensions that matter for determining student performance.

The research is structured in two parts. The first exploits existing data to analyze the relationship between “what teachers know,” “what teachers do,” and learning outcomes, with the goal of better understanding how teachers' abilities and behaviors contribute to students’ success. The second part attempts to refine or revise the current survey approaches to observing classroom behaviors and capturing “what teachers do.” The goal is to improve the measurement of teachers’ performance in the classroom.

Data analysis on seven Sub-Saharan African countries (Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda) finds that students receive two hours and fifty minutes of teaching per day, or just over half the scheduled time.

In addition, a large share of teachers does not master the curricula of the students they are teaching; basic pedagogical knowledge is low; and the use of good teaching practices is rare.

The analysis finds significant and large positive effects of teacher content and pedagogical knowledge on student achievement. These findings point to the huge shortcomings in teacher quality and an urgent need for improvements in education service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This research project has had an impact on two World Bank Operations, The Third Punjab Education Sector Project, and Improving the Quality of Initial and Primary Education in Uruguay. In both projects, the government has requested to use the draft of the new classroom observation tool developed in this project to enhance their supervision (Punjab) and assess the impact of their professional development program (Uruguay).

The findings of this project sparked interest in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice for improving the measurement tools used in operations. Two new initiatives were born: (i) SABER Service Delivery, which aims to develop a suite of tools to measure service delivery in schools, and (ii) Teach, an initiative to develop a new open-source classroom observation tool that would be used to monitor and support teachers’ professional development.

Last Updated: Dec 08, 2017


Deon Filmer

Director, Development Research Group