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Do "Child-Friendly" Practices affect Learning? Evidence from Rural India

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  • Sushmita Nalini Das

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    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the effects of "child-friendly" practices on learning in rural India. These are a set of pedagogical practices intended to improve education outcomes by increasing children’s inclusion in their learning environment. They are widely promoted in international development circles, and are an increasingly important plank of Indian education policy. This paper offers the first quantitative evidence of their impact. Data is drawn from a survey of 12,576 primary school pupils in government schools in rural India. Incidence levels of six pedagogical practices, each representing a different aspect of child-friendliness described in Indian policy documents, are drawn from high-quality classroom observations. Estimates of their impact on low-stakes reading and maths test-scores are then generated using a school fixed effects value-added model. The main finding is that child-friendly practices, while well-intentioned, generally have insignificant effects on test-scores. Even in circumstances where the practices show some effects, they do not always have the positive impact which would be expected based on their popularity in policy discourse. Further, no strong evidence emerges that the practices differentially affect the test-scores of high and low ability pupil groups. These findings highlight substantial flaws in the content of the publically available evidence base which underlies important elements of Indian education policy, and the gains which could be made from more rigorous analysis at the policy formulation stage.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 14-03.

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    Date of creation: 06 Feb 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1403

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    Keywords: Child-Friendly practices; National Curriculum Framework; test-scores; primary education; value-added models; India;

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    1. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2006. "Teacher characteristics and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-059, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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    12. John Jerrim & Anna Vignoles, 2011. "The use (and misuse) of statistics in understanding social mobility: regression to the mean and the cognitive development of high ability children from disadvantaged homes," DoQSS Working Papers 11-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London, revised 20 Apr 2011.
    13. Thomas J. Kane & Eric S. Taylor & John H. Tyler & Amy L. Wooten, 2011. "Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 587-613.
    14. Monazza Aslam & Geeta Kingdon, 2007. "What can Teachers do to Raise Pupil Achievement?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    15. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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