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Improving Teaching and Learning for Disadvantaged Students in Diverse Classrooms: Experiments on Teacher Incentives in Uganda
Last registered on June 15, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Improving Teaching and Learning for Disadvantaged Students in Diverse Classrooms: Experiments on Teacher Incentives in Uganda
Initial registration date
April 04, 2016
Last updated
June 15, 2018 2:56 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Delaware
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The study implements the Pay for Percentile (PFP) incentive system for primary class 6 (P6) math teachers in 151 government schools in rural Uganda. The intervention is designed to address two issues. First, teacher attendance and effort appear to be weak in many rural schools. Second, because the results of P7 leaving exams are publicized widely, schools face clear incentives to encourage weak P6 students to drop out. By comparing distributions of outcomes in the 151 treatment schools with outcomes in 151 control schools, we seek to determine whether PFP is an effective tool for improving teacher effort in ways that raise student achievement and mitigate educational triage.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Gilligan, Daniel et al. 2018. "Improving Teaching and Learning for Disadvantaged Students in Diverse Classrooms: Experiments on Teacher Incentives in Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. June 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1152-3.0.
Former Citation
Gilligan, Daniel et al. 2018. "Improving Teaching and Learning for Disadvantaged Students in Diverse Classrooms: Experiments on Teacher Incentives in Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. June 15. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1152/history/30785.
Experimental Details
We treat 151 P6 Math teachers with a variant of (PFP) that pays per-student bonuses. We place teachers in leagues based on approximate class size. We place students in leagues based on the results of a baseline test that we administer before we inform treatment teacher's about the program. We conduct follow up testing at the end of the school year.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Follow-up test scores – given initial baseline performance.
Student attendance on the date of follow-up testing
P6 Dropout Rates
Matriculation from P6 to P7
Teacher attendance on the date of the follow-up testing
Changes in Child Reports about teacher behavior
a) does teacher call on child in class
b) does teacher give extra help to child
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In late March and early April of 2016, near the start of the Ugandan school year, we will visit 302 government primary schools in rural Uganda. In all schools, we will administer a math test to P6 students that will cover material in the Ugandan math curriculum from levels P1 through P6. We will interview P6 students, the P6 math teacher, and the head teacher in each school.

In late October and November of 2016, near the end of the Ugandan school year, we will return to administer another test to the same students. The test will cover the same material, but we will not repeat any questions.

We will also administer the student, P6 teacher, and head teacher questionnaires again, possibly with additional items.

In 151 of the sample schools, the P6 math teacher will receive an incentive treatment. The incentive scheme is the Pay for Percentile (PFP) system described in Barlevy and Neal (2012). All students on the register, both those present and absent during the two days of testing, will affect the bonuses that treatment teachers earn.

PFP is an optimal mechanism from the standpoint of students. Thus, it does not contain any incentives for educational triage. The performance of each student contributes to a given teacher's bonus payment in a manner that should induce the teacher to increase effort directed to each of her students.

Teachers in control schools face clear incentives inherent in the Ugandan education system to direct their attention primarily to their best students. Primary schools in Uganda include seven levels, P1-P7. At each school, results on the primary leaving exam (PLE) at the end of P7 attract significant attention (and sanctions) from public officials and local residents, with particular focus on the number of students who score poorly. Therefore, many schools begin urging weaker students to leave school in P6. If weak students never enter P7, they will never take the PLE. Thus, they will never receive weak PLE marks, and their schools will report better PLE results.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Based on a list of schools from the Ministry of Education and the Uganda National Education Board, we conducted a validation exercise of rural government schools in the central region that reported P6 enrollment between 40 and 75. Through this process we identified rural government schools with one P6 stream and one P6 math teacher. Our validation sample contains schools from 325 parishes. We randomly chose one school per parish, and then we dropped 22 schools that were within 2KM of another selected school. Among the remaining 303 schools, we dropped another school due to missing data. Among our final sample of 302 schools, we defined blocks by estimated current P6 enrollment and school resource levels. Within blocks, we ordered schools by an index of school-level leaving exam performance in 2015, and then assigned treatment and control on an alternating basis.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
302 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
302 head teachers, 302 P6 teachers, 12,080 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 151 schools, head teachers, and P6 teachers. 6,040 students.
Treatment: 151 schools, head teachers, and P6 teachers. 6,040 students.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Internal Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Analysis Plan

MD5: f52ab5d21dfbd025f0c5bf9ba172b57f

SHA1: bb0b0505d001346e0f7672345253d4bc2364c923

Uploaded At: April 04, 2016

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)