Adopting Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) at Scale: Training and Supporting Teachers and Families to Use CAL Technologies in Puerto Rico Public Schools

Last registered on August 31, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Adopting Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) at Scale: Training and Supporting Teachers and Families to Use CAL Technologies in Puerto Rico Public Schools
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007720
Initial registration date
August 30, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 31, 2021, 1:29 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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

Request Information

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Toronto

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Toronto
PI Affiliation
University of Puerto Rico
PI Affiliation
University of Toronto

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-08-01
End date
2024-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Educators and policymakers are facing growing disparities in academic achievement between high and low-income students, differences that appear to have increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A promising cost-effective strategy to address this issue is the use of Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) technologies, which help students progress through topics at their own pace while receiving feedback and support. However, whether CAL interventions can be scaled up effectively remains a first-order question. Our project is a collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Education to experimentally evaluate the impact of a large-scale training and coaching program to support mathematics teachers to use Khan Academy, one of the most popular mathematics-oriented CAL educational platforms. The program will be gradually phased-in and offered at scale to the population of fourth to eighth grade Mathematics teachers in the system’s approximately 650 primary and middle schools. We will also test whether complementary technology-enabled behavioral interventions can promote its use via parental involvement. The study will examine the program’s impact on math achievement in elementary and secondary school classrooms, as well as student, teacher, and parent experiences with the program.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bobonis, Gustavo J. et al. 2021. "Adopting Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) at Scale: Training and Supporting Teachers and Families to Use CAL Technologies in Puerto Rico Public Schools." AEA RCT Registry. August 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7720
Sponsors & Partners

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

Request Information
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) is seeking to introduce teaching reforms in Mathematics to improve educational outcomes in the territory. The study will rigorously evaluate - via a randomized controlled trial - the impact of the ATEMA (Aplicación de la tecnología en la enseñanza de matemáticas) Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) program. The ATEMA program is a teacher training and coaching program designed to support math teachers to use one of the most popular mathematics-oriented CAL educational platforms, Khan Academy (KA). The program will be gradually phased-in and offered at scale to the overall population of approximately 1,630 fourth to eighth-grade math teachers in the PRDE’s approximately 670 primary and middle schools over a three-year period (Academic Years 2021-22 through 2023-24). The overarching objective is to implement a scalable program, designed to function well whether classes are taught online or in person, to improve student achievement and experience in a manner which is free, easy to use, encourages engagement, and which also improves teacher satisfaction and workload.

We will support the PRDE’s development of and test an in-class or virtual program that incorporates KA into in-person or online grades 4-8 math classrooms, particularly as a tool for reinforcing classroom instruction and greater personalization. The training and support of each cohort of teachers will take place over the course of one academic year (approximately 20 hours), and will comprise of three types of sessions: (i) an initial six-hour session before the start of the academic year; (ii) a second session focused on incorporating KA into the class content; and (iii) 18 weekly sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. The program will also include a second treatment component that will establish teacher-parent communication with actionable suggestions, based on KA administrative data, to increase students’ use of and engagement with the platform.
Intervention Start Date
2021-08-01
Intervention End Date
2024-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcomes of interest will be student math achievement; specifically, a student level index of standardized test scores as administered by the PRDE. Test scores will be normalized according to the distribution of scores in control group schools in each grade.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Additional secondary outcomes of interest will aid in measuring, quantitatively and qualitatively, student, teacher, and parent experiences with the program via Khan Academy usage, online interviews, and surveys. We will also measure academic performance in other subjects (i.e., Spanish, English, Science) to determine substitution or complementarities in cross-subject study efforts and performance.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The proposed design comprises two stages. Approximately 670 PRDE schools will be stratified by academic level (i.e., primary, middle school), PRDE region, and performance (below or above the median school) at baseline. All schools within each stratum will be randomly assigned to one of three main experimental arms:
1. Cohort 1 – Teaching with Khan (ATEMA) program (AY 2021-22)
2. Cohort 2 – ATEMA program (AY 2022-23)
3. Cohort 3 – Status Quo.

Each of the arms of this stepped-wedge design will be composed of 223-224 schools, with teachers in all schools invited to participate in the ATEMA program by the end of the third year. Eligible teachers in each school will be invited to enroll, and we will engage school principals to encourage their staff to participate. The randomization of the complementary engagement intervention with parents is also at the school level with half of the schools eligible for the ATEMA program (112 schools) receiving this treatment each year.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization of the first treatment was done by a computer in Stata 11. The randomization was run 100 times following Banerjee et al. (2017). Balance checks were performed on variables including school and teachers characteristics. The code used a max-min p-value criteria, keeping the randomization with the largest minimum p-value among the 45 variables used for balance checks.
Randomization Unit
For treatments 1 and 2, the unit of randomization is the school.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
There is a total of 671 schools in the sample.
Sample size: planned number of observations
For test scores outcomes, there is an average of 160 students per school. This represents a total of approximately 104,000 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
For the first treatment, this is a phase-out design with three cohorts of schools. Cohort 1 – Teaching with Khan (ATEMA) program (AY 2021-22); Cohort 2 – ATEMA program (AY 2022-23); and Cohort 3 – Status Quo. There are approximately 223-224 schools per cohort eligible to participate in the program in each academic year. For the second treatment, the randomization is also performed at the school level, with half of the schools in the TwK program receiving the complementary parental engagement intervention. This accounts for a total of 112 schools each year in the TwK program that also receive the parental engagement treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Puerto Rico
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-09
IRB Approval Number
2021050008