Mobile Monitoring for Teachers: Can Calls Improve Learning Outcomes for Primary School Students in Niger

Last registered on October 18, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Mobile Monitoring for Teachers: Can Calls Improve Learning Outcomes for Primary School Students in Niger
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003346
Initial registration date
September 22, 2018
Last updated
October 18, 2021, 4:50 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Tufts University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2019-01-19
End date
2022-10-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In remote rural areas of developing countries, teacher absenteeism is a widespread problem for both governmental and non-governmental programs, often due to long distances, remote monitoring budgets and weak institutions. Simple technologies, such as mobile phones, could potentially help policymakers to overcome the constraints associated with monitoring teachers' attendance. At the same time, mobile phones may not be effective in improving teacher attendance if they are not penalized for absenteeism, or increased monitoring via mobile phones crowds out intrinsic motivation. An experiment that called teachers, the village chief and two students in the context of an adult education program significantly increased students' test scores, although the mechanisms were difficult to disentangle. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and a research firm in Niger, this study will evaluate the impact of a mobile phone intervention on teacher attendance, motivation and student learning in the context of primary schools in Niger. Schools will be randomly assigned to one of two interventions designed to address the constraints associated with teacher attendance and performance in Niger, with a pure control
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Aker, Jenny. 2021. "Mobile Monitoring for Teachers: Can Calls Improve Learning Outcomes for Primary School Students in Niger." AEA RCT Registry. October 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3346-6.0
Former Citation
Aker, Jenny and Jenny Aker. 2021. "Mobile Monitoring for Teachers: Can Calls Improve Learning Outcomes for Primary School Students in Niger." AEA RCT Registry. October 18. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3346/history/101981
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Based upon previous work, there are two primary interventions. The first intervention is a simple monitoring call, whereby bi-weekly calls will be made the primary school teacher(s), the primary school principal, the village chief and the head of the PTA for the school. The calls will ask each stakeholder if class (taught by that teacher for that particular level) was held that week, the number of days held.

The second intervention is a motivational intervention, which will be implemented in a subset of mobile monitoring villages. In this case, randomly selected teachers in monitoring villages will receive a "motivational" message at the end of the monitoring call, thanking them for their work and encouraging them.

The third intervention is a series of pedagogical support calls, whereby teachers in select schools are provided with bi-weekly calls that provide pedagogical support to them in the area of math and reading.

The monitoring call will begin approximately 2 months after the start of the school year (January 2019, whereby the school year starts in October), and will occur every two weeks. The monitoring interventions will take place in 2019 and 2020, with pedagogical interventions in 2021/2022.
Intervention Start Date
2019-01-19
Intervention End Date
2021-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Teacher attendance (ie, intensive and extensive margin of attendance, as measured by logs taken by the school principal); timeliness of teacher attendance (ie, hours arrived and leaving); teaching quality (via a Stallings classroom observation method); teacher firing or movement; teacher motivation (as measured by an intrinsic motivation index and behavioral measures; students' attendance (number of students and number of days, according to teacher student attendance logs); students' test scores (as measured by the end of year exam); parental, principal and village chief knowledge about school activities.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Attendance of other (non-called) teachers within the classroom; experimental measures of teacher motivation; experimental measures of community knowledge of school activities; teachers' performance on bi-annual teaching exams
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
84 primary schools within the Tchadoua commune of the Maradi region in Niger will be stratified by rural and urban status and randomly assigned to one of three interventions:

1. Mobile calls. Weekly calls to targeted teachers, principal, village chief and the PTA president to ask questions about teacher attendance
2. Pedagogical calls
3. Pure control. No weekly calls.

A final, cross-cutting intervention (the motivational message) will be cross-cutting, whereby teachers will be randomly assigned to motivational messages within monitoring villages. Thus, a subset of teachers in monitoring schools will be chosen for this.

All monitoring visits conducted by the Ministry will occur normally.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization will be conducted in an office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The cluster is the school level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The total number of schools in the experimental design is 84. However, we will also collect teacher attendance and student outcome data data from 20 schools in a nearby commune as a means of measuring trends in teacher and student attendance and performance. These additional schools will be non-experimental assigned, but serve as an additional control group.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The units will be approximately 4200 students, 84 principals, 168 teachers, 1500 households.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be 42 schools in the pure control (no calls) and 42 schools in the mobile monitoring treatment. Among the 42 schools, there will be 42 schools that are assigned to the pedagogical calls (half in monitoring, half in control). These pedagogical calls will occur after the first year of the monitoring intervention.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Tufts University
IRB Approval Date
2018-01-06
IRB Approval Number
N/A