Discussion paper

DP11530 Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of “Teaching at the Right Level” in India

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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Citation

Duflo, E, A Banerjee, R Banerji, S Mukerji, M Shotland, M Walton and H Kannan (eds) (2016), “DP11530 Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of “Teaching at the Right Level” in India ”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 11530. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11530