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Evaluation of a technology-aided instruction platform (Mindspark) in government schools in Rajasthan
Last registered on August 16, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluation of a technology-aided instruction platform (Mindspark) in government schools in Rajasthan
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002546
Initial registration date
April 28, 2020
Last updated
August 16, 2020 11:30 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California, San Diego
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Stockholm School of Economics
PI Affiliation
University of California, San Diego
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-08-01
End date
2021-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The problem of low productivity of instruction in government schools in India (“the learning crisis”) is well documented. This study focuses on the increased use of technology in education, which is frequently proposed for improving this low productivity, but where the evidence base for the effectiveness of such policies remains mixed. We are evaluating the impact of a technology-led intervention (Mindspark), developed by Education Initiatives (EI) which provides personalized instruction to students in grades 1-8 which is individually customized to their level of achievement on student learning. We use a randomized control trial method to evaluate the impact of the program on classroom processes and student learning in Adarsh (consolidated) schools in four districts of Rajasthan over three academic years. This trial builds on promising results reported in Muralidharan, Singh and Ganimian (2019) in out-of-school settings in Delhi. The primary outcomes for this study will be student achievement, which will be measured directly using independently-designed student assessments in language and mathematics. In addition, we will be collecting data on program usage from the software as well as information on program implementation through direct observations and interviews with students and teachers.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Muralidharan, Karthik, Karthik Muralidharan and Abhijeet Singh. 2020. "Evaluation of a technology-aided instruction platform (Mindspark) in government schools in Rajasthan." AEA RCT Registry. August 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2546-1.1.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention in the schools is being implemented by EI in partnership with Government of Rajasthan. Mindspark program (developed by EI) provides personalized instruction using a software (reflecting over 10 years of product development by EI) to students which is individually customized to their level of achievement. The software aims to address several constraints:
• Adaptive instruction addresses the twin constraints of (a) the mismatch between curricular expectations and actual academic levels of students and (b) the wide spread of achievement levels in a single grade, which make delivery of any single curriculum difficult;
• Engaging interactive content, often game-based, aims to improve student attention;
• Real-time assessment and grading allows for immediate feedback to students and continuous diagnostics about student comprehension
• Careful analyses of patterns of student errors, enabled by “big data”, allow for precisely targeting content to clarify specific areas of misunderstanding.

Each class in grades 1-8 to will receive at least four class periods (two per subject of Hindi and Math) per school week in a laboratory class in the school. Each class period is of 40-minute duration.

Intervention Start Date
2017-08-21
Intervention End Date
2020-03-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Student learning levels in Math and Hindi (local language)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will administer independent tests of student achievement which will be designed to capture a broad range of ability. These will be scored using Item Response Theory methods.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study is based on a sample of 80 Adarsh schools across four districts in Rajasthan. The selection of these schools from the population of Adarsh schools in these four districts is based on certain defined criteria by the Education Initiatives based on the infrastructural readiness of the Adarsh schools to accept the Mindspark programs. 40 schools from this sample was randomly assigned to the receive the treatment. The remaining 40 schools are pure controls.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office on computer, using Stata
Randomization Unit
Schools
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
80 Schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
Total number of schools: 80 Total number of students in grades 1-8: 166*80= 13,050 (average of 163 students per school) Total number of teachers in grades 1-8 teaching Math and Hindi: 7*80=560
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
40 Treatment schools, 40 control schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institute of Financial Management and Research
IRB Approval Date
2017-08-14
IRB Approval Number
IRB00007107
IRB Name
University of California, San Diego
IRB Approval Date
2017-10-06
IRB Approval Number
171561SX