Reach 5: Reducing barriers to high school enrollment in Chiapas, Mexico
Last registered on June 10, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Reach 5: Reducing barriers to high school enrollment in Chiapas, Mexico
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003036
Initial registration date
June 07, 2018
Last updated
June 10, 2018 10:16 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UCSD
PI Affiliation
UCSD
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2017-09-18
End date
2019-01-14
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Escalera Foundation provides lower-secondary students in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, with vouchers that cover the cost of high school admission exam fees. Escalera works on areas where, on average, only 55% of students continue to high school. To increase enrollment rates, Escalera created the program REACH in 2013, which they have implemented in four successive years (waves). Previous waves of REACH show that subsidizing enrollment and admission exam fees can increase enrollment rates by up to 6 percentage points, on average.

One key difference between the fifth wave of REACH and previous ones is that this year (2018), Escalera will no longer cover the cost of enrollment fees, as the recent education reform in Mexico made them illegal. Hence, vouchers will only pay for admission exam fees. We hypothesize that they still represent an important and oftentimes prohibitive cost for students in marginalized areas of Chiapas. To test the effectiveness of the vouchers, the program was randomly assigned at the school (telesecundaria) level and vouchers were delivered to the students of selected schools by Escalera’s staff. Students can use these vouchers to pay for the total cost (6 to 13 USD, approximately) of the exam in any high school of the state. We will compare enrollment rates between students in treatment schools and control schools to assess the impact of vouchers on high school enrollment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Floca, Melissa, Melissa Floca and zaira razu aznar. 2018. "Reach 5: Reducing barriers to high school enrollment in Chiapas, Mexico." AEA RCT Registry. June 10. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3036/history/30603
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Escalera Foundation provides lower-secondary students from rural, predominantly indigenous areas of Chiapas, Mexico, with vouchers to cover the total cost of high school admission exams (6 to 13 USD, approximately). The vouchers are delivered by Escalera's staff directly to the students in randomly selected schools (telesecundarias).
Intervention Start Date
2018-02-19
Intervention End Date
2018-09-03
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Enrollment in high school
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
To test the effectiveness of the vouchers, Escalera implemented two simultaneous experiments. One with schools that voluntarily signed up in the program (opt-in schools) and one with schools that did not sign up (subsample schools) but were still offered the program. We will compare the impact of the program between opt-in and subsample schools. This will provide Escalera with information on how to best focus their efforts and target voucher beneficiaries.
Experimental Design Details
1. Opt-in schools: In previous years, numerous schools rejected outside programs such as REACH out of protest against the education reform recently approved in Mexico (some teachers believed that REACH as associated with the reform). We want to find out if implementing the program in schools that voluntarily apply to participate decreases rejection rates and increases the probability of making a positive impact. To invite teachers, principals, or parents to enroll their telesecundarias in REACH 5, Escalera advertised the program through different media (September to December 2017). School representatives enrolled their school online, filling out a form with basic information on the school: name, location, and approximate number of students . Both in the announcement of the program and in the enrollment forms, school representatives were clearly informed that enrolling the school did not guarantee receiving the program, and that REACH beneficiaries would be selected at random through a raffle. They were also informed that teachers from schools that applied to the program would receive a gift card with 20 USD, regardless of treatment status. 2. Subsample schools: Vouchers were also offered to students from a random subsample of 500 schools that did not sign up to receive the program. This subsample was selected among all the telesecundarias in Chiapas (approximately 1,4000) and excludes all of the opt-in schools (438), and all of the schools that Escalera categorized as “conflict area” (120 schools in areas with social and/or political unrest and with a history of rejecting the program). Gift cards were not distributed among teachers from subsample schools.
Randomization Method
Schools were randomized in office by a computer, using Stata. We constructed a randomized block design, blocking by main language spoken in the community where the school is located.
Randomization Unit
Clusters (schools)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
438 opt-in schools
500 subsample schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
13,140 students in opt-in schools 15,000 students in subsample schools
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Opt-in schools: 221 treatment and 217 control
Subsample schools: 251 treatment and 249 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE of 6 percentage points change in enrollment rates (expected change from 55% enrollment to 61% enrollment).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers