Action: Experimental Evidence on Activity-based Instruction in India
Last registered on June 21, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Action: Experimental Evidence on Activity-based Instruction in India
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003494
Initial registration date
January 17, 2019
Last updated
June 21, 2019 8:01 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
The World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
University of Minnesota
PI Affiliation
University of Minnesota
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-01-21
End date
2020-10-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The number of rigorous studies on “what works” to foster education in less developed countries has strongly increased, but there is surprisingly little evidence on how to improve child learning through changes in instructional practice. We study the effect of an innovative program in Karnataka, India, that promotes activity-based learning through teacher training, community engagement, and additional inputs. In a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), we will assign 98 administrative units (Gram Panchayats) and their 294 schools to either receiving the program,or not. Our primary outcome of interest is child learning, in mathematics, for students enrolled in grade four (at baseline). Sub-group analyses will focus on differential effects by students’ initial ability level, by gender, and by geographic location (i.e., by district). The study’s secondary analyses investigate changes in observed instructional behaviors and the program’s implementation fidelity.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
de Barros, Andreas et al. 2019. "Action: Experimental Evidence on Activity-based Instruction in India." AEA RCT Registry. June 21. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3494/history/48479
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention combines providing new learning materials, teacher training, and better classroom resources to improve the mathematics abilities of students in grade 1 through 5. This new environment in the treatment schools uses these new tools to cover all the topics in mathematics up to the fifth grade in an activity-based setup, while being aligned with there commended curriculum of the state government.
Intervention Start Date
2019-01-21
Intervention End Date
2020-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The study’s main outcome of interest is student learning, in mathematics. We will measure this outcome in two ways: (1) Student math scores on standardized, written tests, and (2) Student math scores on one-on-one tests (capturing basic skills).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
(1) Measures of sub-competencies; (2) Measures of instructional behaviors; (3) Measures of student behaviors; (4) Measures of teacher behaviors; (5) Community Engagement.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
To increase statistical power and to warrant balance across treatment and control units, we will conduct a stratified randomization. After the baseline test, within each district, baseline test scores will be used to create quadruplets of Gram Panchayats with similar academic performance. Thereafter, for each of these strata, two GPs will be selected to participate in the GKA program, while the other two GPs will remain as a “control”. Thus, 49 GPs and their selected schools will be assigned to receiving the program; the remaining 49 GPs and their selected schools will continue with “business-as-usual”. We repeat the above-mentioned randomization procedure ten times, to select the randomization with greatest balance. To this end, we select a vector of covariates – from India’s District Information System for Education (DISE) – that are predictive of baseline scores. Thereafter, we calculate t-statistics for each of the selected variables as well as the baseline score. We do so by estimating regressions of each characteristic on the treatment indicator and strata fixed effects. We then store away the most extreme of these t-statistics, and select the randomization where this value is smallest.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Gram Panchayat (GP)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
98 Gram Panchayats and 292 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
As per current enrollment numbers, we expect an overall student roster of 5,462 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
49 Gram Panchayats and 147 schools will be selected to receive the program; the remaining 49 Gram Panchayats and their 147 schools will continue with “business-as-usual”.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our calculations consider a power of 0.8 under the following assumptions: We use administrative enrollment numbers on the study’s roster of 98 GPs and 292 schools, assume that 14 percent of students are absent on the day of the baseline test, and further assume that 15 percent of baseline students cannot be followed up, at endline. Based on recent work by J-PAL SA colleagues, in Rajasthan Government schools (Ganimian et al. 2017), we expect that baseline data will explain 60% of the outcome variables’ variance, at endline. MDEs stay under 0.2 standard deviations, even for a (very conservative) intra-cluster correlation of 0.3.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Minnesota
IRB Approval Date
2018-10-10
IRB Approval Number
STUDY00004101
IRB Name
Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), Chennai, India
IRB Approval Date
2018-10-29
IRB Approval Number
IRB00007107; FWA00014616; IORG0005894
Analysis Plan

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