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Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of "Teaching at the Right Level" in India

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  • Banerjee, Abhijit
  • Banerji, Rukmini
  • Berry, James
  • Duflo, Esther
  • Kannan, Harini
  • Mukerji, Shobhini
  • Shotland, Marc
  • Walton, Michael

Abstract

Previous randomized studies have shown that addressing children's current learning gaps, rather than following an over-ambitious uniform curriculum, can lead to significant learning gains. In this study, we evaluate a series of efforts to scale up the NGO Pratham's approach to teaching children according to their actual learning level, in four Indian States. While this approach was previously shown to be extremely effective when implemented with community volunteers outside of school, the objective of these new scale-up evaluations was to develop a model that could be implemented within the government school system. In the first two instances (Bihar and Uttarakhand), the methodology was not adopted by government schoolteachers, despite well-received training sessions and Pratham support. Motivated by the quantitative and qualitative analysis of these early attempts, we adapted the approach and designed large-scale experiments in the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to test two new scale-up models. In Haryana, teachers received support from government resource persons trained by Pratham, and implemented the approach during a dedicated hour. In Uttar Pradesh, Pratham volunteers implemented high-intensity, short-burst "learning camps" for 40 days, in school and during school hours, with additional 10-day summer camps. Both models proved effective, with gains in language of 0.15 standard deviation in Haryana, and 0.70 standard deviations in Uttar Pradesh, on all students enrolled in these schools at baseline. These two models provide blueprints that can be replicated inside other government systems.

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  • Banerjee, Abhijit & Banerji, Rukmini & Berry, James & Duflo, Esther & Kannan, Harini & Mukerji, Shobhini & Shotland, Marc & Walton, Michael, 2016. "Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of "Teaching at the Right Level" in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 11530, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11530
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    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
    2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Rukmini Banerji & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Stuti Khemani, 2010. "Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Education in India," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-30, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karthik Muralidharan & Abhijeet Singh & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2019. "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(4), pages 1426-1460, April.
    2. Eiji Koazuka, 2018. "Enlightening Communities and Parents for Improving Student Learning Evidence from Randomized Experiment in Niger," Working Papers 166, JICA Research Institute.
    3. Sawada Yasuyuki & Mahmud Minhaj & Seki Mai & Le An & Kawarazaki Hikaru, 2017. "Individualized Self-learning Program to Improve Primary Education: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment in Bangladesh," Working Papers 156, JICA Research Institute.
    4. Abhijit Banerjee & Rukmini Banerji & James Berry & Esther Duflo & Harini Kannan & Shobhini Mukerji & Marc Shotland & Michael Walton, 2017. "From Proof of Concept to Scalable Policies: Challenges and Solutions, with an Application," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 73-102, Fall.
    5. Tim Klausmann, 2021. "Feedback in Homogeneous Ability Groups: A Field Experiment," Working Papers 2114, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    6. Cameron, Lisa & Olivia, Susan & Shah, Manisha, 2019. "Scaling up sanitation: Evidence from an RCT in Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 1-16.
    7. Bellés Obrero, Cristina & Lombardi, María, 2019. "Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 12600, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Juan F. Castro & Lucciano Villacorta, 2020. "Too Hard, Too Easy, or Just Right: Dynamic Complementarity and Substitutability in The Production of Skill," Working Papers 175, Peruvian Economic Association.
    9. Victor Lavy & Assaf Kott & Genia Rachkovski, 2018. "Does Remedial Education at Late Childhood Pay Off After All? Long-Run Consequences for University Schooling, Labor Market Outcomes and Inter-Generational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 25332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Annie Duflo & Jessica Kiessel & Adrienne Lucas, 2020. "Experimental Evidence on Alternative Policies to Increase Learning at Scale," NBER Working Papers 27298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Dobrescu, Isabella & Faravelli, Marco & Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Motta, Alberto, 2019. "Rank Incentives and Social Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 12437, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Francisco Gallego & Emma Näslund-Hadley & Mariana Alfonso, 2017. "Tailoring Instruction to Improve Mathematics Skills in Preschools: A Randomized Evaluation," Documentos de Trabajo 487, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    13. Eduard Marinov, 2019. "The 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 78-116.
    14. Cristina Bellés-Obrero & María Lombardi, 2020. "Teacher Performance Pay and Student Learning: Evidence from a Nationwide Program in Peru," Department of Economics Working Papers wp_gob_2020_04, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    15. de Hoyos, Rafael, 2020. "Equal opportunities to enhance growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    16. Bold, Tessa & Kimenyi, Mwangi & Mwabu, Germano & Ng’ang’a, Alice & Sandefur, Justin, 2018. "Experimental evidence on scaling up education reforms in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 1-20.
    17. Piper, Benjamin & Simmons Zuilkowski, Stephanie & Dubeck, Margaret & Jepkemei, Evelyn & King, Simon J., 2018. "Identifying the essential ingredients to literacy and numeracy improvement: Teacher professional development and coaching, student textbooks, and structured teachers’ guides," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 324-336.
    18. Angrist, Noam & de Barros, Andreas & Bhula, Radhika & Chakera, Shiraz & Cummiskey, Chris & DeStefano, Joseph & Floretta, John & Kaffenberger, Michelle & Piper, Benjamin & Stern, Jonathan, 2021. "Building back better to avert a learning catastrophe: Estimating learning loss from COVID-19 school shutdowns in Africa and facilitating short-term and long-term learning recovery," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    19. Perera, Marcelo & Aboal, Diego, 2019. "The impact of a mathematics computer-assisted learning platform on students' mathematics test scores," MERIT Working Papers 2019-007, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    20. Chaisemartin, Clement de & Navarrete, Nicolas, 2019. "The direct and spillover effects of a mental health program for disruptive students," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 401, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    21. Bau, Natalie & Das, Jishnu & Yi Chang, Andres, 2021. "New evidence on learning trajectories in a low-income setting," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    22. Yasuyuki Sawada & Minhaj Mahmud & Mai Seki & An Le & Hikaru Kawarazaki, 2019. "Fighting the Learning Crisis in Developing Countries: A Randomized Experiment of Self-Learning at the Right Level," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-1127, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    23. Juan F. Castro, 2017. "Revisiting Dynamic Complementarity in the Production of Cognitive Skill and its Implications for a Cognitive Achievement Gap Decomposition," Working Papers 2017-105, Peruvian Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; India;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O35 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Social Innovation

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