How effective are computer-based teacher training programs? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in El Salvador
Last registered on April 17, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
How effective are computer-based teacher training programs? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in El Salvador
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004092
Initial registration date
April 11, 2019
Last updated
April 17, 2019 8:19 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Bern
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
PI Affiliation
University of Bern
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-03-11
End date
2019-09-06
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This research builds on a pre-study that assessed the content knowledge in mathematics of a representative sample of primary school teachers in Morazan, El Salvador. The results of the pre-study show that the average math teacher scores less than 50% correct answers on an exam covering the official mathematics curriculum for second to sixth graders, i.e. the material they are supposed to teach. This randomized controlled trial aims at evaluating whether and to what extent the content knowledge of primary school teachers can be improved during a 5 months in-service teacher training. The teacher training program evaluated in this trial has two elements: 1) Self-studying using a computer-assisted learning software, and 2) participation in four workshops where the material covered in the self-study modules is recapped and discussed together with expert teachers. Importantly, both the software-based self-studying and the attendance in workshops are incentivized, meaning that the participants get compensated for each computer-assisted learning module they successfully complete as well as for their attendance in the monthly workshops.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Brunetti, Aymo et al. 2019. "How effective are computer-based teacher training programs? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in El Salvador." AEA RCT Registry. April 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4092/history/45102
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention is an in-service teacher training program implemented by the NGO Consciente. It targets voluntarily participating primary school teachers that teach basic math to students of grades 3 to 6.

The teacher training program has two elements: 1) Self-studying using computer-assisted learning software, and 2) participation in four workshops where the material covered in the self-study modules is recapped and discussed together with expert teachers.

Importantly, both the self-studying and the attendance in workshops are incentivized, meaning that the participants get compensated for each computer-assisted learning module they successfully complete as well as for their attendance in the monthly workshops.
Intervention Start Date
2019-04-11
Intervention End Date
2019-08-23
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Math skills of primary school teachers measured via pencil and paper assessments covering the local curriculum of grades 2 -- 6.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Starting point are all primary schools in Morazan, excluding the 50 smallest schools with only one or two teachers covering grades 3--6. The NGO sent out invitations to all eligible teachers in these schools, who were asked to register via telephone, internet or filling out a registration form.

Based on these registrations the applicants were invited to an information meeting in March 2019, where an unannounced baseline math assessment was conducted. Some of the applicants took exactly the same assessment during a representative survey in September 2018 (about 6 months before), and therefore only completed the registration and received additional information about the program.

Based on the baseline assessments, the worst performing applicant of every school was selected; applicants were informed that participation in the March-meeting did not guarantee admission to the program, but the pre-selection criteria were not communicated to them. Following this procedure 175 teachers from 175 different schools across Morazan remained in the sample.

Stratifying on baseline scores and teacher gender, the 175 teachers were randomly assigned to the either the control or treatment group. This gives 87 teachers that participate in the program and 88 teachers constituting the control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in the office using Stata (Version 14.0/SE).
Randomization Unit
We randomize on the teacher level stratifying on their gender and baseline score. However, the pre-selection based on the baseline score leaves only one teacher per school in the sample.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
175 teachers (and schools)
Sample size: planned number of observations
88 teachers (and schools) in the control group, 87 teachers (and schools) in the treatment group.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
88 teachers (and schools) in the control group, 87 teachers (and schools) in the treatment group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE = 0.2--0.27 standard deviations. Calculations based on formula by Bloom (2007) and the following parameter values: power=80%; alpha (level of significance)=0.1; R-squared : 0.5--0.7; P (share of control units)=0.5; n (total observations)=175
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethikkommission der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Bern
IRB Approval Date
2019-03-28
IRB Approval Number
052019