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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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    File URL: http://scholar.harvard.edu/alejandro_ganimian/node/467377
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    1. World Bank, 2019. "Sri Lanka Human Capital Development," World Bank Other Operational Studies 32800, The World Bank.
    2. Anandi Mani & Emma Riley, 2019. "Social networks, role models, peer effects, and aspirations," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-120, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. 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.
    4. Daniel O. Gilligan & Naureen Karachiwalla & Ibrahim Kasirye & Adrienne M. Lucas & Derek Neal, 2018. "Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools," NBER Working Papers 24911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14223 is not listed on IDEAS
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    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
    • 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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