In April 2014, we selected 495 non-government secondary schools from a list of schools in which BRAC was introducing the CB program for the first time to participate in our experiment. The selected schools are located in 49 districts (78 sub-districts) in which BRAC has the local resources to implement the experiment. From these 495 schools, our experiment includes 4,162 volunteer tutors (CBs). Between June and August of 2014, these volunteer tutors are matched with 5,730 grade 6 or 7 students from disadvantaged families.
Between January and February of 2015, we conduct a baseline survey on the CBs in our experiment. The survey collects information about their demographic, social, and economic characteristics, past academic achievement, as well as motivations/reasons for joining the program. The baseline survey also collects information about CBs’ students, such as the students’ performance in the grade 5 national public examination and the students’ socio-economic status.
We then assign each of the 495 schools randomly to one of three treatment groups. The three treatment groups are: (T1) performance-contingent public-recognition certificate group; (T2) performance-contingent private-recognition certificate group; and (T3) participation-based certificate group. In T1, tutors are offered a certificate of excellence awarded in a public ceremony if any of their students experiences gains in average grade points between grade-8 (or grade-7) and grade-5 examinations in mathematics and English. If their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In T2, tutors are also offered a certificate of excellence awarded conditioning on their students having achievement gains, but the certificate is awarded privately. Similarly, if their students do not experience achievement gains, they are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private. In T3, tutors are awarded a certificate of appreciation in private regardless of their students’ performance.
We announce the treatments to the CBs around April of 2015 by mail and phone. CBs are not informed about the other treatments they are not assigned to. Because randomization is at the school level and secondary schools in rural Bangladesh are generally located far from each other, the possibility of information spillover is low.
In late 2015, we collect information about the dropout status of volunteer tutors from the local BRAC offices. In early 2016, we conduct a final survey on 3,012 CBs, while BRAC RED team administers mathematics and English standardized tests on 3,024 randomly selected students of CBs. Between March and May 2016, we collect information about students’ performance in the in-school and national public examinations.