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Targeted Teaching to Improve Learning in Secondary School
Last registered on January 05, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Targeted Teaching to Improve Learning in Secondary School
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004138
Initial registration date
December 29, 2019
Last updated
January 05, 2020 11:38 PM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Minnesota
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Delaware
PI Affiliation
University of Delaware
PI Affiliation
University of Massachusetts
PI Affiliation
University of Minnesota
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-06-24
End date
2020-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Although India has made tremendous progress in expanding access to primary and secondary school, a large number of children who are enrolled in Class 9 lack basic foundational skills. Previous work using a randomized controlled trial in Uttar Pradesh, India using specialized training periods—“camps”—demonstrated substantial increases in student learning for primary school students (Banerjee et al., 2016). These results suggest that remedial camps are a promising approach to improving overall educational attainment and transforming student outcomes.

The Secondary School Readiness Program (SSRP), developed by the Kusuma Trust (KT), consists of a series of camps that prepare students in class 9 with the skills that they need to pass their board exams. These camps occur in three phases depending upon student learning levels, and are tailored towards remedial learners. These camps operate within the typical school day and use existing teachers, making this approach potentially cost-effective as well as the program is planned to scale up across the state.

As programs scale-up, tension emerges between harmonizing content to ensure uniform implementation and allowing flexibility to adapt to school-specific needs and conditions. On the one hand, monitoring teachers and enforcing a set schedule and lesson plan can ensure teachers follow best practices and implement programs as designed. On the other hand, teachers may be best informed on how to adapt a program to optimally meet the needs of their students and the school. We propose to measure the impact of implementing SSRP in two different ways: 1) Standard SSRP as currently designed, and 2) Flexible SSRP, where teachers choose which lessons to adopt in their classrooms. We will evaluate the SSRP Program using a randomized control trial.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Beg, Sabrin et al. 2020. "Targeted Teaching to Improve Learning in Secondary School." AEA RCT Registry. January 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4138-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The “Utkarsh” or SSRP intervention is a government-led remedial and grade-level program for 9th grade students , and focuses on 4 subjects: Odia, English, Math and Science. The program consists of three phases, each targeting a different “learning level”, designed to bring the lowest level learners to grade level and improve the grade-level knowledge of all students within a single school year. The first phase, the Foundation Camp (FC), targets the weakest students, those with a 3rd grade or lower learning level, and builds their foundational skills. The second phase, the Supported Learning Phase (SLP), adds medium-level students, or those with learning level at approximately 5th grade, and develops applications of foundational knowledge. The final phase, Consolidation Camp (CC), includes the entire class and focuses on grade-level material in preparation for the transition to 10th grade and the Class 10 board exams. These sessions operate within the typical school day with existing teachers.

We evaluate two models of the SSRP intervention, the Standard SSRP and the Flexible SSRP.
The Standard SSRP includes a fixed curriculum for each of learning phases. Teachers are provided materials for the SSRP lessons during the training and implement the program’s topics and lesson plans according to the pre-specified schedule. The Flexible SSRP differs from the standard version by offering more autonomy to teachers to adapt topics and/or timelines according to the needs of their students. Specifically, in the second and longest phase of the program, the Supported Learning Phase (SLP), teachers can choose which SSRP lessons to implement and in which order. This is facilitated through the use of a worksheet which tracks the lessons that teachers choose to implement. The other two phases of the program (FC and CC) are implemented as usual.
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-01
Intervention End Date
2019-12-21
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Student test scores
2. Attendance by students, teachers, and headmasters
3. Program compliance and fidelity (comparing between treatment arms)

See PAP for details.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
See PAP for a full list of secondary outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will randomly select 300 schools from two districts of Odisha and randomly assign 200 of them to receive the SSRP (“treatment” schools, split into 100 Standard and 100 Flexible SSRP schools) and the other 100 to be control schools. The Odisha government will implement the SSRP treatments in treatment schools. We will conduct a set of baseline exams and surveys in all schools in June 2019 and endline exams and surveys in all schools in December 2019-January 2020. In addition to baseline and endline surveys, we will also conduct a monitoring visit to schools where we will collect information on classroom procedures, child attendance and engagement, teacher attendance and feedback.

Monitoring visits: We will visit all the schools once during the study. During the monitoring visits we will observe the third class period of the school and document certain aspects of a regular day in the schools, such as teaching practices, teacher feedback where we will capture the overall impression of the classroom activities to gain information related to teaching style, problem solving methods and communication feedback; and what activities the students are engaged in. We will also survey the teachers teaching the SSRP lessons in treatment schools, teachers teaching regular classes in Math, English, Science, and Odia for control schools, and the headmasters, in each school to measure teaching practices more generally.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer based
Randomization Unit
School
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
6000 students (20 students per school) 1200 teachers (4 teachers per school) 300 headmaster (1 headmaster per school)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1. Standard SSRP - 100 schools
2. Flexible SSRP - 100 schools
3. Control - 100 schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our primary outcome is student performance on the four program subjects. Assuming a conservative estimate of 30 percent attrition and a 0.4 increase in R-squared with the inclusion of baseline test scores, we estimate that our minimum detectable effect (MDE) is 0.17 standard deviations for Science and Odia and 0.18 standard deviations for Math and English. This is based on controlling for all available baseline scores when analyzing effects on endline test scores. In sum, we are adequately powered to detect meaningful differences in test scores between study arms – both between each of the treatment arms and the control arm, as well as comparing the treatment arms with one another.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institute of Financial Management and Research
IRB Approval Date
2019-12-04
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS