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A cost-benefit analysis of different uses of technologies and pedagogical approaches in education
Last registered on April 08, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
A cost-benefit analysis of different uses of technologies and pedagogical approaches in education
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000337
Initial registration date
April 08, 2014
Last updated
April 08, 2014 9:56 AM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2012-04-02
End date
2012-09-10
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We created a pedagogical intervention designed to give students a more active role in the learning of geometry –one of three units of the seventh grade curriculum or about three months of teaching. A key aspect of this change relies on providing them with guided opportunities to explore and discover. In mathematics, a potentially important lever in this process is the use of technology. Our experiment explores a gradient of technologies that could complement this pedagogical approach. We randomly assigned the 85 participating schools to one of five conditions: (1) status-quo (i.e., control); (2) active learning; (3) active learning and an interactive whiteboard; (4) active learning and a computer lab; (5) active learning and a laptop for every child in the classroom. All students (18,000) and teachers (190) in the seventh grade of these schools participated in the experiment.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Berlinski, Samuel and Matias Busso. 2014. "A cost-benefit analysis of different uses of technologies and pedagogical approaches in education." AEA RCT Registry. April 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.337-1.0.
Former Citation
Berlinski, Samuel and Matias Busso. 2014. "A cost-benefit analysis of different uses of technologies and pedagogical approaches in education." AEA RCT Registry. April 08. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/337/history/1500.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention has two ingredients. First, a pedagogical intervention that fosters active learning in math. Second, we explore how three technologies (interactive whiteboard, computer labs, and a laptop for every child in the classroom) interact with the pedagogical approach. The intervention included teacher professional development, development and distribution of materials (teacher manuals and students workbooks), equipment for the classroom, and development of applets to be used in the technology arms.
Intervention Start Date
2012-05-17
Intervention End Date
2012-09-05
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main outcome of interest is a psychometrically valid test of geometry which measures the impact of this intervention. The objective of the test was not only to measure the content knowledge of the students but also their mastery of higher-order geometric practices that require, for example, that students pick, compare, justify or refute conjectures and propositions.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will test the impact of our intervention using a randomized controlled trial. We will form five groups of schools: 20 control schools, 20 schools that receive the active learning curriculum, 15 schools that receive active learning and interactive whiteboards, 15 schools that receive active learning and computer labs, and 15 schools that receive active learning and one laptop per student.

We will then contrast the difference in outcomes after the intervention took place. In particular, we are interested in studying the effect of the active learning curriculum on geometry test scores and the effect of adding technology (and keeping the pedagogical approach constant). Since we study technologies that vary in cost we are also interested on the differential effect of the technologies.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer
Randomization Unit
School
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
85
Sample size: planned number of observations
6000 students and 185 teachers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
20 schools in control, 20 schools in active learning curriculum, 15 schools in smartboards, 15 schools in computer labs, 15 schools in one laptop per student. We planned to surveyed and administered tests to approximately 70 students per school.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Consejo Superior de Educación de Costa Rica
IRB Approval Date
2012-02-15
IRB Approval Number
CSE-SG-168-2012
IRB Name
Fundacion Omar Dengo
IRB Approval Date
2012-01-19
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
September 05, 2012, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
September 10, 2012, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
85 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
4157
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
20 schools in control, 20 schools in active learning curriculum, 15 in smart-boards, 15 in computer labs and 15 in on laptop per student
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No

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Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers