Can training for principals improve student learning? Experimental evidence from Argentina

Last registered on February 07, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Can training for principals improve student learning? Experimental evidence from Argentina
Initial registration date
February 06, 2020
Last updated
February 07, 2020, 1:38 PM EST



Primary Investigator

New York University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
New York University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This paper presents one of the first evaluations of a principal-training program in a developing country. We randomly assigned 100 public primary schools in the Province of Salta, Argentina to a treatment group in which school principals attended a six-week, intensive, training workshop provided by an international foundation, or to a business-as-usual control group.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Freel, Samuel and Alejandro Ganimian. 2020. "Can training for principals improve student learning? Experimental evidence from Argentina." AEA RCT Registry. February 07.
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Experimental Details


The Leadership and Innovation Program (LIP) is an intensive, six-week course to provide school principals with training on leadership, innovation, communication, and technology. It was developed by the Varkey Foundation (VF), a United Kingdom education nonprofit with offices in Argentina, Dubai, Ghana, and Uganda best known for its Global Teaching Prize. To date, LIP has reached 6,544 principals and teachers across 3,591 schools in the Provinces of Corrientes, Jujuy, Mendoza, and Salta in Argentina. The VF aims to reach 15,000 principals.

To participate, principals have to: (a) be tenured public officials (i.e., they cannot be interim or substitute principals); (b) not be close to the age of retirement; (c) not be the only teacher at their school; and (d) be able to take six weeks off regular duties to participate full-time. Principals may send a vice-principal on their behalf, and they may also invite a teacher.

The training course consists of six modules, each with four to seven sessions, including: (a) “educational leadership for organizational development and school reform” (i.e., how to build and empower teams); (b) “managing technology integration” (i.e., how to plan, manage, and sustain information technology systems); (c) “leading and managing learning, creativity, and curriculum innovation” (i.e., how to manage curriculum development); (d) “educational leadership for quality assurance and to improve performance in the teaching and learning process” (i.e., how to hold teachers accountable for effective instruction); (e) “leading teacher professional development” (i.e., how to identify strengths and areas for improvement); and (f) “leading and developing community relations” (i.e., how to develop links between the school and its surrounding community). In each module, participants complete readings, attend presentations, and engage in activities (e.g., developing a diagnostic of their school). Training facilitators assess participants at the end of each module and offer formative feedback. Participants are also expected to propose a “school innovation project” to improve their school.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
principal-reported school-management practices, student-reported well-being, and student achievement on the national student assessment
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We randomly assigned the 100 sampled schools to one of two experimental groups, stratifying our randomization by geographic location and school category to maximize statistical power. First, we grouped schools into six strata based on these two variables. Then, we randomly assigned schools within each stratum to: (a) a “treatment” group, whose principals were invited to participate in the program in 2018; and (b) a “control” group, whose principals were offered the opportunity to participate in the program in 2019, after our study. This process resulted in 52 treatment and 48 control schools.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
~100 observations at the principal/vice-principal/teacher level (there are 100 schools and up to two participants per school) ~5,000 students across participating schools
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
52 treatment schools and 48 control schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials