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Andreas de Barros on Large-scale efforts to improve teaching and child learning in India

WIDER Seminar Series

Andreas de Barros presents at the WIDER Seminar Series on 14 December 2022.

Large-scale efforts to improve teaching and child learning: Experimental evidence from India

Co-authors: Johanna Fajardo-Gonzalez, Paul Glewwe, and Ashwini Sankar


Full paper here.

The authors study a large program that seeks to improve mathematics learning in public primary schools in India. In a cluster-randomized trial, two treatment arms promoted activity-based instruction by providing teaching materials and teacher training. One of these arms also promoted community engagement through community-led student contests. A third arm remained untreated. After 13 months, the program’s combined effect had at most small, statistically insignificant impacts on learning. School value-added models suggest a negative relationship between activity-based instruction and test score gains. The addition of contests worsened instructional quality (especially classroom culture), and they rule out that the contests added even small improvements in learning.

About the presenter

Andreas de Barros is a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT’s Department of Economics, where he works with Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa and J-PAL South Asia. Andy's research specializes in program evaluation and evidence-based education policy in less-developed countries. His current projects focus on teaching quality as a key determinant of student learning, and on the potential of educational technology to improve instruction. He is on the 2022-23 job market.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.

The Seminar Series events take place on Wednesdays. All those interested are invited to register and attend via Zoom.