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Building Citizen Competencies from the Classroom: Experimental Evidence from Colombia
Last registered on September 20, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Building Citizen Competencies from the Classroom: Experimental Evidence from Colombia
Initial registration date
September 14, 2018
Last updated
September 20, 2018 1:04 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
CAF - Development Bank of Latin America
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes
PI Affiliation
CAF - Development Bank of Latin America
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
After long years of confrontation between armed groups and increased urban violence, Colombia must filled the left holes in order to overcome the negative consequences of this former reality. A crucial challenge faced by policymakers in Colombia is to promote and enhance a culture of peace. Education has proven to be an effective path to attain this goal; it helps to transform misconceptions and develop skills and knowledge that can create peaceful relationships from early years of life in spite of any violent context. Since 2003, the Ministry of Education have been working on establishing a culture of peace in the country. Even though different interventions have been applied, experimental evidence about their effectiveness is limited. Along with the Ministry of Education, we conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a specialized teacher’s training on student's citizenship competencies. By changing the learning environments at the school, the program ("Modelo de Formación para la Ciudadanía: estrategias que contribuyen a educar para la paz or MFC") seeks to build and consolidate, along with teachers and school staff, strategies that enhance citizenship competencies in students for the exercise of human rights. The program was implemented in public schools located in municipalities prioritized for post-conflict programs.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
CAF, Pilar, Lesbia Maris and Catherine Rodríguez. 2018. "Building Citizen Competencies from the Classroom: Experimental Evidence from Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. September 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3116-1.0.
Former Citation
CAF, Pilar et al. 2018. "Building Citizen Competencies from the Classroom: Experimental Evidence from Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. September 20. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3116/history/34449.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
MFC offers specialized in situ training to enhance teachers’ competencies to promote education for peace and citizenship competencies on students. It also aims to strengthen Education Secretariats to institutionalize those practices at the local and department level.

The program comprises three phases (1) classroom, (2) school and (3) community:
1.The first phase starts at the classroom level, analyzing current pedagogical practices of teachers and promoting effective tools to develop citizenship competencies on students.
2.The second phase focuses on working on institutional management practices at the school level in order to assure that all spaces available at the school are effective opportunities for students to experience democracy along with other members of the school community.
3.The third phase further extends the exercise of citizenship to Education Secretariats and other plausible public and private allies, focusing on social mobilization and participatory practices, which aim is to establish links of collaboration between different members of the communities.

Each phase contains three main cycles: (1) understanding the context, (2) training and assistance, and (3) articulation. The first two cycles relate to specialized teacher training and classroom strategies, and the last one has a broader objective, which is to apply this knowledge beyond classroom environments, and strengthen the work conducted by teachers in the classroom at the school and community level.

Some of the primary topics that are discuss during the training are the following:
1) Education for peace and human rights: it highlights the relevance of acquiring values and developing attitudes, skills, and behaviors that lead to more inclusive and cooperative environments. In addition, it focuses on how to consider conflict as a mechanism for positive change, advice on how to handle conflicting situations in the classroom, and abilities necessary to achieve it.
2) Socio-emotional, cognitive and communicational abilities: how to identify, manage and learn from our own emotions -and others’- to ensure favorable interpersonal relationships, not only with students, but also with all school employees. It also puts emphasis on understanding other people’s circumstances, by developing empathy and mutual understanding.
3) Pedagogical style: education for peace’s approach centers on encouraging structured pedagogical practices that stimulate student’s participation in class. In order to achieve that, teachers have to prepare in advance the class’s structure and the main goal of every activity. Thus, preparation goes beyond “annual planning”; every day and every class must be carefully analyzed in order to achieve its higher ends.
4) Class planning: offers support and suggestions for class activities that promote citizenship competencies, such as collaborative strategies, conversations, ethic, and citizen’s fundamental values.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Impacts on learning environment:
1) School environment
2) General teaching efficacy
3) Teaching planning

Teaching practices and impact on students' citizenship competencies:
1) Emotion management
2) Empathy
3) Active listening
4) Conflict resolution
5) Prosocial behavior
6) Argumentation
7) Multiperspectivism
8) Systemic Thinking.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
To collect the information on the relevant variables the research team, along with the team in charge of MFC at the Ministry of Education (MEN), designed two different instruments for students: one for 4th and 5th graders, and the other for 9th and 10th graders. Additionally, we designed an instrument for teachers. We will also create specific index variables to measure the later outcomes from a larger set of questions asked.

The questions included in our surveys come from instruments validated previously by experts in the country, including those obtained from questionnaires from ICFES (Colombian Institute for the Evaluation of Education) as well as from prior work from knowledgeable researchers in the area such as those used by Chaux et al. (2017) and others. Moreover, before collecting the survey in June 2018, we conducted a pilot survey in the end of 2017 that allowed us to test all questions and adjust them according to the recommendations that emerged from the analysis. Nonetheless, once we receive the complete data, we will analyze again how reliable is the information conveyed in the final instruments.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We expect MFC to increase the citizenship competencies of benefitted students through in-depth training of their teachers. Thus, it is expected that the causal mechanism that explains the outcomes of interest will be the change in teachers' competencies and teaching strategies.

We will test the impact of PCC on teachers in ten domains:
1) Emotion management
2) Empathy
3) Active listening
4) Conflict resolution
5) Prosocial behavior
6) Argumentation
7) Multiperspectivism
8) Systemic Thinking
9) Teaching styles
10) School environment.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary outcomes will be collected from an instrument for teachers designed by research team and the Ministry of Education (MEN).
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
To identify the impact of the model, we randomized schools into treatment or control groups. The Ministry of Education restricted to 88 the number of treated schools that could take part in the pilot. Hence, the size of the experiment is 176 schools. From the initially focalized 281 schools, we randomly selected 88 to be part of the treatment group and 88 to be part of the control group. In addition, we selected 52 replacement schools for the treatment group and 53 for the control group, in case one of the originally selected schools could not participate in the program and/or survey. Finally, we stratified by the urban status of schools (urban, rural and mixed), as we could expect impacts to be different in different urban/rural settings
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using Stata
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
176 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
Within each school we will survey at least one classroom from 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th grades. If approximately 15-20 students are present per grade surveyed, we expect at least 60-80 students per school for a total of observations between 10560 and 14080 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
88 schools will be part of the treatment group and 88 schools of the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We estimate different MDESs under the following basic assumptions: 1) Sample size within clusters: We estimate MDESs under 25, 40, 100 and 200 students per school. 2) Intra-school correlation: We assume an intraclass correlation between 0.2 and 0.7. 3) Proportion of variance explained by cluster level covariates: we estimate MDESs without controls, with controls explaining 20% and with controls explaining 40% of variation in dependent variables of interest. We combined the different assumptions and obtained in total 54 different plausible values of MDESs that range from 0.18 to 0.35 standard deviations.
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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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)