Past studies suggest that effective policy interventions to improve learning, particularly for first generation learners, must address in some measure the psychological dimensions of inequality which might affect these students. Our study aims to study policy interventions which take into account these psychological factors, through randomized experiments in education. Randomized evaluations allow us to test alternative treatments that can increase learning as well as student satisfaction and motivation. In particular, we are interested in understanding how a powerful alternative pedagogic method of group learning (cooperative learning) can affect learning outcomes among students, with particular focus given to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Our study will make a significant contribution to the understanding of (a) how learning outcomes can be improved and (b) how policymakers can ensure that the benefits of post-primary education reach all sections of the populations, which is central to the idea of shared prosperity. Not only is the project very relevant for education policy makers in India, it is also academically important. We know very little about what precisely is the role of cooperative learning methods and mixing of students in handling educational and social diversity and evaluating whether such methods can help increase learning and reduce gaps in learning outcomes is likely to be an important contribution.