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Disrupting education? Experimental evidence on technology-aided instruction in India

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  • Muralidharan, K.
  • Singh, A.
  • Ganimian, A. J.

Abstract

Technology-aided instruction has the potential to sharply increase productivity in delivering education, but its promise has yet to be realized. This paper presents experimental evidence on the impact of a technology-aided after-school instruction program on secondary school learning outcomes in urban India. We report five main findings. First, students in this setting are several grade-levels behind their enrolled grade, and this gap grows with every grade. Second, the offer of the program led to large increases in student test scores of 0.36? in math and 0.22? in Hindi over a 4.5-month period, which represent a two-fold increase in math and a 2.5 times increase in Hindi test score value-added relative to non-participants. IV estimates suggest that attending the program for 90 days increases math and Hindi test scores by of 0.59? and 0.36? respectively. Third, absolute treatment effects are large and similar at all levels of baseline scores, but the relative gain is much greater for academically weaker students because their ?business as usual? rate of learning is close to zero. Fourth, we show that the program precisely targets instruction to students? preparation level, thus catering to wide variation within a single grade. Fifth, the program is highly 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 education by relaxing multiple constraints to effective teaching and learning.

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  • Muralidharan, K. & Singh, A. & Ganimian, A. J., 2016. "Disrupting education? Experimental evidence on technology-aided instruction in India," Working Paper 467377, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  • Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:467377
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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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