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How much can we remedy very low learning levels in rural parts of low-income countries? Impact and generalizability of a multi-pronged para-teacher intervention from a cluster-randomized trial in the Gambia

Author

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  • Eble, Alex
  • Frost, Chris
  • Camara, Alpha
  • Bouy, Baboucarr
  • Bah, Momodou
  • Sivaraman, Maitri
  • Hsieh, Pei-Tseng Jenny
  • Jayanty, Chitra
  • Brady, Tony
  • Gawron, Piotr
  • Vansteelandt, Stijn
  • Boone, Peter
  • Elbourne, Diana

Abstract

Despite large schooling and learning gains in many developing countries, children in highly deprived areas are often unlikely to achieve even basic literacy and numeracy. We study how much of this problem can be resolved using a multi-pronged intervention combining three interventions known to be separately effective. We conducted a cluster-randomized trial in The Gambia evaluating a literacy and numeracy intervention designed for primary-aged children in remote parts of poor countries. The intervention combines para teachers delivering after-school supplementary classes, scripted lesson plans, and frequent monitoring focusing on improving teacher practice (coaching). A similar intervention previously demonstrated large learning gains in rural India. After three academic years, Gambian children allocated to the intervention scored 46 percentage points (3.2 SD) better on a combined literacy and numeracy test than control children. Our results demonstrate that, in this type of area, aggressive interventions can yield far greater learning gains than previously shown.

Suggested Citation

  • Eble, Alex & Frost, Chris & Camara, Alpha & Bouy, Baboucarr & Bah, Momodou & Sivaraman, Maitri & Hsieh, Pei-Tseng Jenny & Jayanty, Chitra & Brady, Tony & Gawron, Piotr & Vansteelandt, Stijn & Boone, P, 2021. "How much can we remedy very low learning levels in rural parts of low-income countries? Impact and generalizability of a multi-pronged para-teacher intervention from a cluster-randomized trial in the ," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:148:y:2021:i:c:s0304387820301140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102539
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    3. Hilmy, Masyhur, 2022. "The Impact of Sending Top College Graduates to Rural Primary Schools," ADBI Working Papers 1328, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. Johnston, Jamie & Ksoll, Christopher, 2022. "Effectiveness of interactive satellite-transmitted instruction: Experimental evidence from Ghanaian primary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).

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