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Evaluating the Impact of Social and Financial Education on Upper Primary School Children in Himachal Pradesh, India - A Cluster Randomized Trial
Last registered on October 18, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluating the Impact of Social and Financial Education on Upper Primary School Children in Himachal Pradesh, India - A Cluster Randomized Trial
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004870
Initial registration date
October 17, 2019
Last updated
October 18, 2019 10:51 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Sambodhi Research and Communications Private Limited
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Sambodhi Research and Communications Limited, India
PI Affiliation
Sambodhi Research and Communications Limited, India
PI Affiliation
Aflatoun International, The Netherlands
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-05-01
End date
2020-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This paper presents a research protocol for a cluster randomized trial to study the impact of an innovative social and financial skill teaching program for upper primary children aged between 9-16 years, across two districts in Himachal Pradesh, India. A total of 74 schools were randomly allocated to the treatment or control group. Outcomes to be measured are level of self-efficacy, knowledge of basic financial concepts, ability to solve simple financial tasks, level of patience and risk preference, amount of money saved, level of numerical ability, and knowledge on civil rights and responsibilities. The evaluation is funded by Echidna Giving.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
AVINANDAN, VIJAY et al. 2019. "Evaluating the Impact of Social and Financial Education on Upper Primary School Children in Himachal Pradesh, India - A Cluster Randomized Trial." AEA RCT Registry. October 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4870-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The teaching program consists of two products, namely; curriculum and instruction. The curriculum is designed by Aflatoun International (AI). AI works towards strengthening social and financial skills among students through a network of partner organizations globally. MelJol in India implements AI's teaching curriculum. Facilitators from MelJol deliver the instruction in a classroom setting. The intervention to be tested starts at the beginning of the academic year and consists of weekly 60-minute sessions for 6-8 months. The teaching curriculum is described in detail in a facilitator’s manual developed for the program. The curriculum is divided into 5 components, spanning 31 sessions, each lasting an hour, with Components 1 and 2 focusing on pro-social behaviors among children, articulated via self-understanding and exploration, and awareness on rights and responsibilities. While Components 3, 4, and 5 focus on financial literacy by teaching the concept of saving and spending, planning, and budgeting, and social and financial entrepreneurship.

The sessions are conducted as a part of extra-curricular activities during a school day. Participation in the sessions is voluntary, and in schools allocated for intervention, students in grades 6, 7, and 8 are encouraged to participate in the teaching program. Participating students are grouped with 15-20 students per group, termed as an “Aflatoun group.” No students are taken outside the classroom, and all students receive instruction from AI and MelJol trained facilitators. No intervention is provided to students in schools allocated to the control group.
Intervention Start Date
2019-06-01
Intervention End Date
2019-12-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The outcomes for students in grade 6, 7, 8 are – level of self-efficacy, knowledge on basic financial concepts, ability to solve simple financial tasks on paper, level of patience and risk preference, amount of money saved, level of numerical ability and knowledge on civil rights and responsibilities.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) developed by Schwarzer & Jerusalem (1995) will be used to measure the level of self-efficacy among students (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995). GSE consists of 10 items with a 4-point response scale. Responses to all ten items are summed with final score values ranging from 10 to 40: higher score indicates greater self-efficacy. Internal reliability for GSE is between 0.76 to 0.9 Cronbach’s alpha.

Knowledge of financial concepts and the ability to solve simple financial tasks on paper will be measured using a quiz designed by Berry, Karlan & Pradhan (2018) for evaluating similar programs (Berry, Karlan, & Pradhan, 2018). Knowledge of financial concepts will test student awareness on terms such as loans, investment, and functions of a bank. Ability to solve financial tasks will test student’s financial literacy using hypothetical “shop games” in which the child will be given a list of goods and prices and certain among of money, all of which must be spent on the available goods. There will be two “shop games,” and for each game, the index will include an indicator of whether the child correctly allocated the money, the absolute value of the difference between child’s allocation and correct allocation, and the number of seconds taken to respond.

Level of patience will be tested through “gift games” used by Andreoni et al. (2019), wherein students make a series of decisions in which they are asked to choose between a smaller amount of rewards on the day of the test at the end of the day (“at the end of the day TODAY”), and a larger amount of rewards on the week after the experiment (“in ONE WEEK”). The first option represents impatient behavior when the child chooses a smaller sooner (SS) choice, while the second option represents patience signified by choosing larger later (LL) choice (Andreoni, et al., 2019). Similarly, risk preference will be tested through “gift games,” wherein students will be asked to choose between a riskless and risky option for rewards (Alan & Ertac, 2014). Both patience and risk preference levels are associated with financial literacy and life outcomes (Mudzingir, Mwamba, Keyser, & Bara, 2019) (Castillo, Ferraro, Jordan, & Petrie, 2011). Both patience and risk preference tests were administered during the pre-test and saw a high rate of response and variation. Internal reliability for patience test stood at 0.84 and risk preference test at 0.9 Cronbach’s alpha.

The trial will include questions of whether the student makes spending plans every week, their frequency of saving, and the total amount of money saved. Their level of numerical ability will be measured using mathematical tests prescribed by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for students in grades 6 to 8 in India. Students will be first asked to solve two subtraction problems correctly, followed by one division problem. If the student correctly solves the division problem, s/he will be considered as proficient (at division level). If not, the student will be considered as being on an average level (at subtraction level). If the student is unable to solve subtraction problems, s/he will be asked to identify double-digit numbers correctly (at double-digit reading level). Students incorrectly answering double-digit reading level will be asked to identify single digits correctly (at single-digit level), which is considered as having the low numerical ability. Internal reliability for ASER numerical tests stands between 0.92 and 0.94 Cronbach’s alpha (Vagh, 2012).

Student’s knowledge of civil rights and responsibilities will be measured by testing whether the student is aware of concepts such as child and civil rights and responsibilities. The post-test will also include questions on whether students feel the rights are applicable for all socio-economic groups. All the tests will be administered using pen and paper by trained testers in a fixed order to all children.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We apply a two-arm CRT design, which allows a robust evaluation of intervention outcomes relative to an equivalent control group. The intervention is led by MelJol. Randomization is done by sourcing an initial list of 782 schools and their characteristics from Government of Himachal Pradesh. An eligibility-criteria for CRT was established to shortlist schools from the universe. Based on the eligibility criteria, the schools should:

1. Not be covered previously under AI’s training program;
2. Be co-educational;
3. Be government-owned and operated;
4. Have grades 6 to 8;
5. Have a minimum of 25 students across grade 6 to 8;
6. Have at least one full-time teacher;
7. Have at least one classroom in good condition;
8. Have at least one functional toilet for girls and boys or one common toilet;
9. Have functional electricity;
10. Have functional water;
11. Be located within 50 kilometers (km) from the district headquarters.

A total of 161 schools were found to be satisfying the eligibility criteria. Out of the 161 schools, a random list of 74 schools (stratified by district and block) were invited to participate in the program, comprising of the final study group. The 74 shortlisted schools were randomly allocated across treatment and control groups. The treatment group had 30, and the control group had 44 schools. The control group was over sampled by approximately 50% to achieve higher ex-ante power during the final analysis (Duflo, Glennerster, & Kremer, 2007).
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization was done using Stata 13.0.
Randomization Unit
School is the unit of randomization for this trial.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
74 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
1480 to 1500 pupils in grade 6,7, and 8 across 74 schools
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
30 treatment schools, 44 control schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The trial will aim to cover roughly 1480 students across 74 schools. No data with similar measures from the same group were available for the Indian context to calculate statistical power. Hence, we utilized data provided by Brunner et a. (2018), where the school intraclass correlations (ICC) for self-efficacy were 0.03 (Brunner, Keller, Wenger, Fischbach, & Ludtke, 2018). Based on the ICC, the sample size for the trial, with a statistical power on at least 80% and alpha = 0.05, should be large enough to detect an effect size of 0.19 of standard deviation (see figure 2). Evidence review in India observe that an increase in measures of less than 0.1 standard deviation is typically considered as small effect, while an increase of more than 0.3 standard deviations is considered a large effect, and an increase of more than 0.5 standard deviations a very large effect (Duflo, Hanna, & Ryan, 2012) (Muralidharan, 2012) (Banerjee, Cole, Duflo, & Linden, 2007).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Public Healthcare Society, India
IRB Approval Date
2019-04-04
IRB Approval Number
N/A