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Public Call for the Connected Education Program
Last registered on March 08, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Public Call for the Connected Education Program
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003933
Initial registration date
March 07, 2019
Last updated
March 08, 2019 3:56 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Fundação Getulio Vargas
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
BNDES
PI Affiliation
BNDES
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-04-27
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study analyzes the impact of a comprehensive technology project in Brazilian public schools. This project is the first structured initiative with the objective of fostering the adoption of technology within a larger policy, the “Connected Education Program.” This initiative – called Public Call for the Connected Education Program – provides additional funds for a group of randomly selected schools to implement the program. These additional funds are at least 300% higher than what this group of schools was receiving from other sources to implement technology projects. The Connected Education Program was developed under the premise that the potential of technology in education is only achieved by integrating four dimensions – vision, infrastructure, expertise and content – which must be in balance. This study focuses on two key research questions. First, does the “Public Call for the Connected Education Program” lead to an improvement in student learning? Second, what are the mechanisms of change? We will conduct a randomized controlled trial within the municipalities selected to receive the intervention. Our study is designed as a matched-pair cluster randomization with three levels (municipalities, schools and students) and treatment at level two (schools). Within the municipalities selected to receive support we have randomized 50% of the municipal schools to receive the treatment. Within the schools, we will evaluate school, teachers and students’ outcomes. The evaluation will focus on students of the 5th grade municipal schools. Our key hypothesis is that the interaction between the four dimensions is what will generate the intervention’s impact.
Registration Citation
Citation
Cruz, Tassia, Daniel Grimaldi and Fabio Roitman. 2019. "Public Call for the Connected Education Program." AEA RCT Registry. March 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3933-1.0.
Former Citation
Cruz, Tassia, Daniel Grimaldi and Fabio Roitman. 2019. "Public Call for the Connected Education Program." AEA RCT Registry. March 08. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3933/history/42825.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
This Public Call is the result of a partnership between the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Ministry of Education (MEC). The objective of this Public Call is to select projects for the implementation and use of digital technologies for public education within the scope of the Connected Education Program, in order to support its adoption in public education networks. Projects should include actions and/or investments integrated into the four structuring dimensions of the Program - "vision / training / digital educational resources / infrastructure" - to provide for investments that can be allocated to: (i) educational and intangible resources such as infrastructure, equipment, services, knowledge acquisition, training and improvement for professionals and managers of education, tools, methodologies, practices and contents; (ii) governance, planning, social mobilization and management of public education networks and schools; (iii) innovative initiatives for education in the third millennium. Each Brazilian state submitted a joint proposal with two municipalities to the Public Call.
Intervention Start Date
2019-01-01
Intervention End Date
2020-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main goal is to analyze student learning’ outcomes. For this analysis, we will use the publicly available SAEB (Brazilian Basic Education Assessment System) results in Math and Reading for 5th grade students. In addition to SAEB results, we will collect data on the number of years students in the treated schools have attended that school from 2019 to 2021.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
In addition to our main question, we are interested in analyzing the mechanisms of change of the program. We have divided the indicators of mechanisms in three groups. First, the immediate outputs, referring to the availability, use and appropriation of technology by school principals, teachers and students. Second, the intermediate results, referring to the changes in behavior by teachers and school principals. Third, the students’ changes in engagement and motivation.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
To calculate the availability of technology in the schools, we will use the Brazilian School Census information. To assess the use and appropriation of technology, we will adopt several measures, including administrative data (SAEB questionnaires) and primary data collection. We will collect data on the use of technology by teachers and school principals using a questionnaire prepared by CIEB (Innovation Center for Brazilian Education - http://www.cieb.net.br/) for this purpose. A baseline of this questionnaire was applied to all municipal and state systems that sent proposals to BNDES to participate in this project.
For the intermediate results, we will look at two transmission channels: The first transmission channel refers to the use of teacher time, and the second refers to efficiency in school administration. We plan to collect information about the teacher use of time in the classroom using the TEACH instrument of classroom observation (http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/949541542659103528/Teach-Observer-Manual). We have also proposed the Trial partners to use the World Management Survey to evaluate efficiency in school administration.
The third mechanism of change indicates variations in student behavior. For the changes in student behavior, we will also collect primary data with questionnaires about students’ socioemotional measures with a questionnaire prepared specifically for evaluating students’ engagement and motivation due to technology use, and another questionnaire designed to evaluate the Big Five Personality Traits.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
As the main sponsor, BNDES has compromised to conduct a randomized controlled trial within the municipalities selected to receive the intervention. Our assessment is designed in three levels (municipalities, schools and students) with treatment at level two (schools). Within the municipalities selected to receive support we have randomly selected 50% of the municipal schools to receive the treatment. Within the schools, we will evaluate student outcomes. The randomized evaluation will focus on 5th grade students of municipal schools.
Treated schools are those that receive the four dimensions of the Program – vision, infrastructure, expertise and content – versus the results of schools in the municipalities that do not receive these four dimensions (control schools). Our key hypothesis is that the interaction between the four dimensions is what will lead to the intervention’s impact. The control group may be affected by transversal or ad hoc actions, but will not be supported by a coordinated effort that considers the balance of the four dimensions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The random selection of schools was done through public lottery. We randomly assigned each school to a group of numbers of the public lottery, which were publicly disclosed by BNDES. The schools were selected in two stages. The first-stage selection was to deal with municipalities with an odd number of schools. In these cases, the public lottery results of December 1st, 2018 have determined one school to be assigned to treatment. Next, we paired the schools according to the predicted 2019 results, and each school in the pair was randomly assigned to be part of group one or two (referring to odd and even numbers, respectively). The public lottery results of December 5th, 2018 have determined the final treatment assignment.
Randomization Unit
School
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
There are 332 schools in the 11 municipalities of the sample, to be randomized to treatment and control. In 2017, 295 schools of these had 5th grade students (which is the focus of our study).
Sample size: planned number of observations
There are 14,328 students in 5th grade of the 295 municipal schools.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 170 treatment schools and 162 control schools in the 11 municipalities. For the focus of our study, there are 150 treatment schools and 145 control schools with 5th grade (in 2017).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our MDES is of 0.0301 standard deviations of 5th grade math performance in SAEB.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Comitê de Conformidade Ética em Pesquisas Envolvendo Seres Humanos – CEPH/FGV
IRB Approval Date
2018-06-13
IRB Approval Number
31.2018