Improving Task Completion by School Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis

Last registered on May 15, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Improving Task Completion by School Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005854
Initial registration date
May 13, 2020
Last updated
May 15, 2020, 2:19 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
IDEICE & PUCMM

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of California at Berkeley
PI Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-05-08
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We study whether neutral, positive, or negative reinforcement messages given to schools’ principals can improve their bureaucratic efficiency in times of crisis. Under the COVID-19 health emergency urgency, the Ministry of Education asked all school principals in the Dominican Republic to send a detailed file with detailed information on curricular completion prior to the crisis before May 8th 2020. Focusing on the group of school principals who did not complete the task on time, we randomize reinforcement mechanisms via e-mail to get them to comply with the task before a second due date. Three distinct groups are created for all those school principals who did not comply with the initial due date and for whom the Minister had a valid e-mail contact. All school principals in the control group received an e-mail reminding them of the importance of the task completion and informing them of a new due date for May 15th 2020. School principals in treatment group 1, further received information on the percentage of school principals in her district that had complied with the initial due date and the importance that they themselves complete it too. School principals in treatment group 2, further received information on the percentage of school principals in her district that had not complied with the initial due date and how this is hindering the Ministry to get the information needed.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Morales, Daniel, Catherine Rodríguez and Carlos Schmidt-Padilla. 2020. "Improving Task Completion by School Principals During the COVID-19 Crisis." AEA RCT Registry. May 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5854-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-05-12
Intervention End Date
2020-05-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome measure is schools' completion of a status report on their curricular offering prior to the start of the COVID-19 health emergency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary outcomes in our study include: (i) do these positive or negative reinforcement messages have differentiated impacts according to the percentage of schools that had completed the task in the broader school district; (ii) do these messages for school principals interact with those given to school district principals and to school district officials (AEARCTR-0005827); (iii) the quality of the status reports, (iv) post-campaign survey responses, among others.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This project coincides with efforts by the Dominican Ministry of Education to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of classes on 12 March on schools’ curricular completion. On 28 April 2020, the Ministry of Education launched an information gathering campaign and gave school district officials the directive to coordinate with schools to obtain a detailed status report of the curriculum covered prior to the suspension of classes. School principals also got a message about the necessity to complete the status reports on 30 April 2020. District officials and principals were told to submit the reports by May 8th 2020. A total of 5,540 schools sent at least on valid file to the Ministry before or on the due date. The remaining 5,665 schools either did not send the information or sent it in a format that could not be automatically processed by the technical team at the Ministry – i.e., principals did not follow the instructions given. Of these non-compliers, the Ministry had valid contact e-mails for 2,092 school principals.

We randomize these 2,092 school principals into three groups. The control group (697 school principals) received an email reminding them of the importance of complying with the task and a new second due date to do so: May 15th 2020. Treatment group 1 (698 school principals) received the same e-mail, with additional information on the percentage of school principals in her district who sent the information required on time. Treatment group 2 (697 school principals) received the same e-mail as the control group with the additional information on the percentage of school principals in her district who did not comply with the task.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer-based randomization.
Randomization Unit
School principals
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,092 school principals
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,092 school principals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Group 1---Control group: 697 school principals: e-mail reminding them of the importance of task completion and the new due date to comply with it.

Group 2---Treatment group 1: 698 school principals: e-mail reminding them of the importance of task completion and the new due date to comply with it. They further received information on the percentage of schools in her district that had complied with the task and the importance for them to join this group.

Group 3---Treatment group 2: 697 school principals: e-mail reminding them of the importance of task completion and the new due date to comply with it. They further received information on the percentage of schools in her district that had not complied with the task and how this hindered future planning strategies of the Ministry.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Instituto Dominicano de Evaluación e Investigación de la Calidad Educativa (IDEICE)
IRB Approval Date
2020-05-08
IRB Approval Number
N/A

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
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