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Heterogeneous treatment effects in the low track: Revisiting the Kenyan primary school experiment

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  • Cummins, Joseph R.

Abstract

I present results from a partial re-analysis of the Kenyan school tracking experiment first described in Duflo, Dupas and Kremer (2011). My results suggest that, in a developing country school system with state-employed teachers, tracking can reduce short-run test scores of initially low-ability students with high learning potential. The highest scoring students subjected only to the tracking intervention scored well below comparable students in untracked classrooms at the end of the intervention. In contrast, students assigned to tracking under the experimental alternative teacher intervention experienced gains from tracking that increased across the outcome distribution. These alternative teachers were drawn from local areas, exhibited significantly higher effort levels and faced different incentives to produce learning. I conclude that although Pareto-improvements in test scores from tracking are possible, they are not guaranteed.

Suggested Citation

  • Cummins, Joseph R., 2017. "Heterogeneous treatment effects in the low track: Revisiting the Kenyan primary school experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 40-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:56:y:2017:i:c:p:40-51
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2016.11.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Erik O. Kimbrough & Andrew D. McGee & Hitoshi Shigeoka, 2017. "How Do Peers Impact Learning? An Experimental Investigation of Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Ability Tracking," NBER Working Papers 23439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brown, Annette N. & Wood, Benjamin Douglas Kuflick, 2017. "Which tests not witch hunts: a diagnostic approach for conducting replication research," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-77, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ability tracking; Human capital; Economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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