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Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya

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  • Paul Glewwe
  • Michael Kremer
  • Sylvie Moulin

Abstract

A randomized evaluation suggests that a program which provided official textbooks to randomly selected rural Kenyan primary schools did not increase test scores for the average student. In contrast, the previous literature suggests that textbook provision has a large impact on test scores. Disaggregating the results by students? initial academic achievement suggests a potential explanation for the lack of an overall impact. Textbooks increased scores for students with high initial academic achievement and increased the probability that the students who had made it to the selective final year of primary school would go on to secondary school. However, students with weaker academic backgrounds did not benefit from the textbooks. Many pupils could not read the textbooks, which are written in English, most students? third language. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Kenyan education system and curricular materials are oriented to the academically strongest students rather than to typical students. More generally, many students may be left behind in societies that combine 1) a centralized, unified education system; 2) the heterogeneity in student preparation associated with rapid expansion of education; and 3) disproportionate elite power.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13300.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Publication status: published as Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-35, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13300

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  1. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Leigh Linden, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomised Experiments in India," Working Papers id:360, eSocialSciences.
  2. Hanushek, Eric A, 1995. "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 227-46, August.
  3. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  4. Pritchett, Lant & Filmer, Deon, 1999. "What education production functions really show: a positive theory of education expenditures," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 223-239, April.
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