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Improving educational outcomes in developing countries: Lessons from rigorous evaluations

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  • Murnane, RJ
  • Ganimian, A. J.

Abstract

In this article, we reviewed and interpreted the evidence from 223 rigorous impact evaluations of educational initiatives conducted in 56 low- and middle-income countries. We considered for inclusion in our review all studies in recent syntheses that have reached seemingly conflicting conclu- sions about which interventions improve educational outcomes. We grouped interventions based on their theory of action. We derived four lessons from the studies we review. First, reducing the costs of going to school and expanding schooling options increase attendance and attain- ment, but do not consistently increase student achievement. Second, pro- viding information about school quality, developmentally appropriate parenting practices, and the economic returns to schooling affects the actions of parents and the achievement of children and adolescents. Third, more or better resources improve student achievement only if they result in changes in children?s daily experiences at school. Fourth, well-designed incentives increase teacher effort and student achievement from very low levels, but low-skilled teachers need specific guidance to reach minimally acceptable levels of instruction.

Suggested Citation

  • Murnane, RJ & Ganimian, A. J., "undated". "Improving educational outcomes in developing countries: Lessons from rigorous evaluations," Working Paper 180186, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:180186
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    File URL: http://scholar.harvard.edu/alejandro_ganimian/node/180186
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    Cited by:

    1. Julia A. Barde & Juliana Walkiewicz, 2014. "Access to Piped Water and Human Capital Formation - Evidence from Brazilian Primary Schools," Discussion Paper Series 28, Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg, revised Jul 2014.
    2. Jan Bietenbeck & Marc Piopiunik & Simon Wiederhold, 2018. "Africa’s Skill Tragedy: Does Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Lead to Low Student Performance?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(3), pages 553-578.
    3. Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes & José D. Trujillo & Daniel Valderrama, 2015. "Are Public Libraries Improving Quality of Education? When the Provision of Public Goods is not Enough," Revista Desarrollo y Sociedad, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE, December.
    4. Harounan Kazianga & Leigh Linden & Ali Protik & Matt Sloan, 2016. "The Medium-Term Impacts of Girl-Friendly Schools: Seven-Year Evidence from School Construction in Burkina Faso," Development Working Papers 406, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 11 Nov 2016.
    5. De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E. & Holland,Peter Anthony & Troiano,Sara, 2015. "Understanding the trends in learning outcomes in Argentina, 2000 to 2012," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7518, The World Bank.
    6. Pedro Carneiro & Oswald Koussihouèdé & Nathalie Lahire & Costas Meghir & Corina Mommaerts, 2015. "Decentralizing education resources: school grants in Senegal," CeMMAP working papers CWP15/15, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Asim,Salman & Chase,Robert S. & Dar,Amit & Schmillen,Achim Daniel, 2015. "Improving education outcomes in South Asia : findings from a decade of impact evaluations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7362, The World Bank.
    8. Marine de Talancé, 2015. "Better Teachers, Better Results? Evidence from Rural Pakistan," Working Papers DT/2015/21, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    9. Paul Rodríguez Lesmes & José Trujillo & Daniel Valderrama, 2013. "Más allá de la infraestructura: el impacto de las bibliotecas públicas en la calidad de la educación," Documentos de Trabajo 010499, Universidad del Rosario.

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