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Peer Effects, Pupil-Teacher Ratios, and Teacher Incentives in Kenya
Last registered on August 11, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Peer Effects, Pupil-Teacher Ratios, and Teacher Incentives in Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001304
Initial registration date
August 11, 2016
Last updated
August 11, 2016 4:41 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
MIT
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2005-03-01
End date
2007-11-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
To the extent that students benefit from high-achieving peers, tracking will help strong students and hurt weak ones. However, all students
may benefit if tracking allows teachers to better tailor their instruction level. Lower-achieving pupils are particularly likely to benefit from tracking when teachers have incentives to teach to the top of the distribution. We propose a simple model nesting these effects and test its implications in a randomized tracking experiment conducted with 121 primary schools in Kenya. While the direct effect of high-achieving peers is positive, tracking benefited lower-achieving pupils indirectly by allowing teachers to teach to their level.
Registration Citation
Citation
Duflo, Esther, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer. 2016. "Peer Effects, Pupil-Teacher Ratios, and Teacher Incentives in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. August 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1304-1.0.
Former Citation
Duflo, Esther, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer. 2016. "Peer Effects, Pupil-Teacher Ratios, and Teacher Incentives in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. August 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1304/history/10129.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We evaluated three nested interventions that addressed the large class sizes and heterogeneity in student preparation in the Kenyan school system: (1) the addition of locally hired contract teachers to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio (ETP program); (2) the sorting of students by initial level of preparedness to reduce heterogeneity within the classroom (Tracking); and (3) the empowerment of parents within PTA committees through School-Based Management training (SBM).

(1) Extra Teacher Program (ETP): The ETP program provided funding to hire a local contract teacher to address classroom overcrowding. In each school, a meeting was held with parents and teachers to explain the program rules regarding the hiring of an additional teacher. School committees were responsible for hiring the contract teachers and were free to replace or keep the original contract teacher based on performance. The contract teachers were paid approximately one-quarter of the salary of regular civil service teachers, but had the same educational qualifications.

(2) Tracking: While in half of the ETP schools (the "non-tracking ETP schools"), students were divided into sections at random, in the other half (the "tracking ETP schools"), students were divided into sections based on students' level of preparedness (as measured by exam scores during the first term).

(3) School-Based Management (SBM) training:The training was designed to empower parents (within the PTA committee) to ensure a fair and objective recruiting process for the ETP teacher, as well as to monitor teachers' performance. Two parents of grade 1 students were asked to perform attendance checks on teachers on a regular basis.
Intervention Start Date
2005-05-01
Intervention End Date
2006-11-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Student test scores (measured by scores on a standardized math and language test)
- Teacher attendance
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Out of 210 primary schools, 140 were randomly assigned to receive the Extra Teacher Program (ETP). The remaining 70 schools served as a comparison group.

In 2005, the first year of the program, the ETP contract teacher was assigned to grade 1. Two sections were created for grade 1, one taught by regular civil service teachers (with multiple teachers rotating in an out of the class, teaching different subjects) and one taught exclusively by the contract teacher. As a result, average class size in grade 1 was only 44 in ETP schools, compared to 82 in comparison schools. In the second year of the program, the ETP teacher moved to grade 2, such that the cohort of first graders that benefitted from the ETP program continued to benefit once in grade 2.

While in half of the ETP schools (the "non-tracking ETP schools"), students were divided into sections at random, in the other half (the "tracking ETP schools"), students were divided into sections based on students' level of preparedness (as measured by exam scores during the first term). For all schools, which section was taught by the ETP contract teacher was then decided by random draw.

Finally, half of the schools assigned to ETP, including both tracking and non-tracking schools, were randomly selected to receive School-Based Management (SBM) training.

Standardized tests covering math and literacy questions were administered to each school just before the program ended and again one year later. Five unannounced visits were also made to each school to measure teacher effort and to observe the classroom environment.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done using a random number generator
Randomization Unit
School-level randomization (for assignment to Extra Teacher Program (ETP)), class-level randomization (for assignment to Contract teacher vs. regular teacher) and Individual-level randomization (for assignment into teaching sections, with ETP schools sampled for random sorting)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
210 primary schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
test scores: 10,000 pupils attendance: 15,000 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
70 schools control
36 schools ETP program with random assignment
34 schools ETP program with random assignment + SBM
34 schools ETP program with tracking (ability sorting)
36 schools ETP program with tracking (ability sorting) + SBM
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board for International Child Support (ICS)
IRB Approval Date
2005-02-28
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
MIT Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (MIT COUHES)
IRB Approval Date
2005-04-14
IRB Approval Number
0503001141
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
November 30, 2006, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
November 30, 2007, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
140 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
test scores: 9,989 pupils
attendance: 13,556 pupils
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
70 schools control 36 schools ETP program with random assignment 34 schools ETP program with random assignment + SBM 34 schools ETP program with tracking (ability sorting) 36 schools ETP program with tracking (ability sorting) + SBM
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
To the extent that students benefit from high-achieving peers, tracking will help strong students and hurt weak ones. However, all students
may benefit if tracking allows teachers to better tailor their instruction level. Lower-achieving pupils are particularly likely to benefit from tracking when teachers have incentives to teach to the top of the distribution. We propose a simple model nesting these effects and test its implications in a randomized tracking experiment conducted with 121 primary schools in Kenya. While the direct effect of high-achieving peers is positive, tracking benefited lower-achieving pupils indirectly by allowing teachers to teach to their level.
Citation
Duflo, Esther, Pascaline Dupas, and Michael Kremer. 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya." American Economic Review 101(5): 1739-74.
Abstract
Some education policymakers focus on bringing down pupil–teacher ratios. Others argue that resources will have limited impact without systematic reforms to education governance, teacher incentives, and pedagogy. We examine a program under which school committees at randomly selected Kenyan schools were funded to hire an additional teacher on an annual contract renewable conditional on performance, outside normal Ministry of Education civil-service channels, at one-quarter normal compensation levels. For students randomly assigned to stay with existing classes, test scores did not increase significantly, despite a reduction in class size from 82 to 44 on average. In contrast, scores increased for students assigned to be taught by locally hired contract teachers. One reason may be that contract teachers had low absence rates, while centrally-hired civil-service teachers in schools randomly assigned contract teachers endogenously reduced their effort. Civil-service teachers also captured rents for their families, with approximately 1/3 of contract teacher positions going to relatives of existing teachers. A governance program that empowered parents within school committees reduced both forms of capture. The best contract teachers obtained civil service jobs over time, and we estimate large potential dynamic benefits from supplementing a civil service system with locally-hired contract teachers brought in on a probationary basis and granted tenure conditional on performance.
Citation
Duflo, Esther, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer. 2015. "School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Experiemental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools." Journal of Public Economics 123:92-110.