School Inspections, Bureaucrats, and School Quality: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania

Last registered on April 13, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

School Inspections, Bureaucrats, and School Quality: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania
Initial registration date
April 13, 2020
Last updated
April 13, 2020, 12:22 PM EDT


Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Georgetown University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The government of Tanzania has recently reformed its school inspection program, reframing the formerly punitive function as a friendly source of support to schools, now called the School Quality Assurance (SQA) program. A key part of the reform is to replace the traditional school inspections with Whole School Visits (WSVs), conducted by $3-4$ School Quality Assurance Officers (SQAOs). Each SQA visit produces a set of diagnostics and recommendations across a range of domains that are shared with all stakeholders. The Ward Education Officers (WEOs) are then responsible for conducting follow-up visits to the schools to monitor compliance to these recommendations. We propose a randomized evaluation of the SQA program, as well as an additional treatment to increase monitoring and oversight by the WEOs. Out of a nationally representative sample of $397$ schools we randomly assign $198$ schools to receive the WSVs. Moreover, in half of these schools, also randomly assigned, WEOs are encouraged through text-based reminders to engage head teachers on how they are addressing the recommendations of the SQAOs. We collected baseline data in February-March 2019, midline data in Februray-March 2020, and plan to conduct endline data in November 2020. We will estimate the impact of these interventions on the beliefs and behaviors of the Ward Education Officers, head teachers, teachers, and the school community, as well as the learning outcomes of a cohort of students who were in grade 2 and 3 at baseline.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

CILLIERS, Jacobus and James Habyarimana. 2020. "School Inspections, Bureaucrats, and School Quality: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania." AEA RCT Registry. April 13.
Experimental Details


1. School Quality Assurance Officers, previously known as school inspectors, visit schools for 2-3 days, and provide an assessment of overall school quality as well as recommendations for improvement. They share this report with the school, and also government.
2. Ward Education Officers receive a text message summarizing the main recommendations and encouraging to conduct follow-up visits at the schools.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Beliefs of school quality, quality of school management, teaching quality, and student learning.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The program is evaluated using a cluster randomized control trial, with a random phased-in design and randomization taking place at the ward level. Out of a nationally representative sample of 397 wards, 198 wards are randomly assigned to treatment, and 199 wards are assigned to control. We then randomly sampled one school in each ward to participate in the study. The treatment schools are assigned to receive a Whole School Visit at some point between April and November 2019. In (randomly assigned) half of the treatment schools Ward Education Officers receive regular text messages informing them of the recommendations made at the WSV. The remaining 199 schools are assigned to only receive WSVs after the completion of the planned endline data collection in November 2020.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Ward level (one school sampled per ward)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
397 schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
397 schools, 3,970 teachers, and 7,940 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1. Whole School Visits only: 99 schools
2. Whole School Visits and text messages sent to the Ward Education Officers: 99 schools.
3. Control: 199 schools.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Georgetown University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
2016-0705 - Big Results Now in Education
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan: School Inspections, Bureaucrats, and School Quality: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania

MD5: 79e26cd8bb299004004b1479677bee54

SHA1: f8363535a976f26cbb7634f1140b9847a176ded2

Uploaded At: April 12, 2020


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information


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