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Layering Technology to Boost Impact: Can Phone Calls Boost the Effectiveness of TV-based instruction?
Initial registration date
June 14, 2020
June 15, 2020 11:43 AM EDT
Consultant, World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Assistant Professor, University of Konstanz
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Senior Economist, Education Global Practice The World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Schools at all levels have been closed across much of the world due to Covid-19. This situation poses a significant threat to student learning, attachment to schools, and their mental health. To minimize the loss of school days, many governments are implementing distance learning programs through radio or TV in the developing countries. The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has started broadcasting pre-recorded classes through a designated TV channel (Sangsad TV) from 29 March 2020 for secondary students (grades 6-10) . The program titled ‘My school at home’ will run each day from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm broadcasting classes on different subjects for each grade.
While it is possible for TV/radio-based distance learning to be effective, many of the challenges of in-person education (such as student engagement and reaching students at their level) are exacerbated with distance learning. We therefore propose to test an intervention with SMS and phone call-based reminder of TV broadcast, and another intervention with incentives based on weekly quizzes along with SMS and phone call-based reminder, to improve student’s engagement and learning from the TV-based distance learning in Bangladesh. The impact evaluation will focus on assessing whether in the treatment groups students’ engagement with the TV-based learning and performance are on average better than the students in the control group using baseline and endline data. Registration Citation
Biswas, Kumar et al. 2020. "Layering Technology to Boost Impact: Can Phone Calls Boost the Effectiveness of TV-based instruction?." AEA RCT Registry. June 15.
To minimize the loss of school days, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has started broadcasting pre-recorded classes through a designated TV channel (Sangsad TV) from 29 March 2020 for secondary students (grades 6-10). The program titled ‘My school at home’ will run each day from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm broadcasting classes on different subjects for each grade. We plan to assess impact of two treatment groups where Treatment 1 involves nudging of parents and students via weekly SMS message and phones call to watch TV lessons. Treatment 2 also engages students directly through quizzes and incentives beside nudging.
Treatment group 1: Parents receive weekly text message and phone call as reminder for their children to participate in the TV broadcasts. Students receive weekly phone calls as reminder of the weekly TV broadcasts.
Treatment group 2: Beside text messages and phone calls to parents and only phone calls to students as reminder, students will also participate in weekly quizzes covering some of the broadcast content. Based on the student’s performance, student's parent will receive a phone top-up of BDT 100 and student will receive a certificate from the Secondary Education Development Program. When school reopens, Secondary Education Development Program will also produce a documentary where best performing students will be invited to participate. Because surveying households at baseline to assess engagement is itself a form of nudge treatment, we propose two control groups. One, the “basic control group,” will receive a baseline call (where we will gather basic covariates) and participate in the endline assessment. The other, a “pure control group,” will not participate in the baseline, but will only be assessed at the endline, relying on random assignment for comparability.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Self-reported hours of viewing/studying at the student level.
2. Student performance in a short quiz at endline on the broadcasted materials.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Students will be asked about the time spent watching the TV broadcasts and studying/practicing the broadcast materials later at home.
2. Students will participate in a short quiz of 8-10 questions at the endline. Total correct answers will provide the students' performance.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Students' motivation levels and satisfaction with the TV lessons.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Our questionnaire includes a set of questions on motivation levels and satisfaction with the TV lessons. We will use these questions to indicate how motivated and satisfied students are with the TV lessons.
At first, we will administer a pre-baseline of randomly selected 10,000-15,000 grade 9 students from Dhaka and Mymensingh division, from the list of stipend recipient from the government to identify students who have access to the broadcasting channel "Sangshad TV". From them, we will randomly select 1,500 students for the intervention dividing the students equally into 3 groups: 1 control and 2 treatment groups. We will also administer a baseline survey of randomly selected 500 students from the students who do not have access to "Sangshad TV".
For "pure control group", we will randomly select 500 grade 9 students from Dhaka and Mymensingh division, from the remaining stipend recipients from the government (excluding only the students who have already participated in the pre-baseline).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization done in office by a computer using Stata.
Randomization is done at the student level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 students per group (2 treatment groups, 1 control group and 1 pure control group).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.2 SD of weekly quiz score.
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Institute of Health Economics, University of Dhaka
IRB Approval Date