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Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India

Author

Listed:
  • Karthik Muralidharan
  • Abhijeet Singh
  • Alejandro J. Ganimian

Abstract

We present experimental evidence on the impact of a personalized technology-aided after-school instruction program on learning outcomes. Our setting is middle-school grades in urban India, where a lottery provided winning students with a voucher to cover program costs. We find that lottery winners scored 0.36σ higher in math and 0.22σ higher in Hindi relative to lottery losers after just 4.5-months of access to the program. IV estimates suggest that attending the program for 90 days would increase math and Hindi test scores by 0.59σ and 0.36σ respectively. We find similar absolute test score gains for all students, but the relative gain was much greater for academically-weaker students because their rate of learning in the control group was close to zero. We show that the program was able to effectively cater to the very wide variation in student learning levels within a single grade by precisely targeting instruction to the level of student preparation. The program was cost effective, both in terms of productivity per dollar and unit of time. Our results suggest that well-designed technology-aided instruction programs can sharply improve productivity in delivering education.

Suggested Citation

  • Karthik Muralidharan & Abhijeet Singh & Alejandro J. Ganimian, 2016. "Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India," NBER Working Papers 22923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22923
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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..
    2. Facundo Albornoz & María Victoria Anauati & Melina Furman & Mariana Luzuriaga & María Eugenia Podestá & Inés Taylor, 2017. "Training to teach science: experimental evidence from Argentina," Discussion Papers 2017-08, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    3. Gilligan, Daniel O. & Karachiwalla, Naureen & Kasirye, Ibrahim & Lucas, Adrienne & Neal, Derek, 2018. "Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 11516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:nbr:nberch:13934 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Aaron Chatterji, 2017. "Innovation and American K-12 Education," NBER Working Papers 23531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:175-187 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Clair Null & Clemencia Cosentino & Swetha Sridharan & Laura Meyer, "undated". "Policies and Programs to Improve Secondary Education in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 516e420e637c4851b15e6a3f6, Mathematica Policy Research.
    8. repec:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:103-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Karthik Muralidharan & Paul Niehaus, 2017. "Experimentation at Scale," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 103-124, Fall.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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