Strengthening School Management in a School Reopening Context. Evidence from Peru

Last registered on July 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Strengthening School Management in a School Reopening Context. Evidence from Peru
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007955
Initial registration date
July 14, 2021
Last updated
July 15, 2021, 10:10 AM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
The World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
The World Bank

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-05-01
End date
2021-12-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many developing countries have faced prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent evidence has shown that school closures during a public health crisis can cause short-term detrimental effects on students’ achievement (Bandiera et al 2020; Archibong and Annan 2020). School closures can also be negatively associated with students’ outcomes in the long term. Estimations indicate that the average current student might expect around 3% lower career earnings, under the most optimistic scenario in which schools immediately returned to 2019 performance levels (Hanushek and Woessmann, 2020).

The quality of school leadership and the practices that school leaders implement are potentially important areas of intervention that can help mitigate the negative and long-lasting effects of school closures and prepare for the process of school reopening. Prior work has documented a positive relationship between the quality of day-to-day school management practices and student outcomes (Bloom et al. 2015, Dobbie and Fryer 2015, Fryer 2017, Leaver et al, 2019, Lemos et al, 2021) and also shown that school leaders “matter” (Coelli and Green, 2011; Lavy and Boiko, 2017; Walsh and Dotter, 2020; Munoz and Prem, 2020).

Considering the relevance of effective school leadership in episodes of crisis, this project aims to rigorously explore the impact of school operations management on students’ outcomes and the mechanisms explaining these results. We explore this analysis in the context of Peru, a country with important underlying weaknesses in school management. In partnership with the MoE, this project will experimentally evaluate the impact of a training program designed by the NGO Global School Leaders and adapted to the local context.

The program aims to increase school attendance and reduce dropout in a school reopening context through an improvement of principals’ skills related to school organization and communication with teachers and parents. It also aims to improve principals' mental health. Specifically, the intervention attempts to indirectly improve teacher’s motivation and performance and to change parents’ (and teachers’) perception of risk in sending their children back to school by training and supporting school principals' school operational management practices.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Avitabile, Ciro, Lelys Dinarte and Renata Lemos. 2021. "Strengthening School Management in a School Reopening Context. Evidence from Peru." AEA RCT Registry. July 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7955-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
In this study, we study the intervention Leadership for Renewal (LFR). It consists of a training program developed by the NGO Global School Leaders (GSL) that aims to enable school principals to lead effectively through this crisis, beginning with preparing for school re-opening. The LFR baseline program aims to directly affect school organization and structural communication with parents.

The research team worked with GSL to ensure the program is adapted to the local context and more focused on modules that will improve school organization in coordination with guidance from health authorities and improve communication with parents in a consistent and structured manner. In this sense, the adjusted program includes a total of six mentor-led sessions and three learning circles. The mentor-led sessions are the following: (i) leadership for wellbeing, (ii) community support, (iii) preparing the school for reopening, (iv) preparing staff for reopening, (v) ITC tools for management, (vi) tools for communication.

The intervention will follow a cascade approach. As the first step, in coordination with GSL and The Varkey Foundation, a number of local staff (UGEL specialists) will be trained to become program coaches. Then, these trained coaches will deliver the training to the group of principals working in schools that will be assigned to the treatment group. The content will be delivered through intensive virtual workshops aimed at building school principals’ skills for improving teaching and learning. All sessions will be covered in approximately 2 weeks. Then, during the learning circles, principals will be able to discuss their reopening plans, particularly those related to school organization and communication with families. Each learning circle has a duration of 1 hour.
Intervention Start Date
2021-05-28
Intervention End Date
2021-09-10

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
At the school level: Probability of reopening.
At the course level: school attendance.
At the principal level: attendance, mental health, communication, and management skills
At the teacher level: attendance, mental health
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
At the principal level: expectations/beliefs, perceptions of risk.
At the teacher level: expectations/beliefs, perceptions of risk, and perceptions about principals' communication and management skills.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Using a sample of 2,005 schools, we have randomly assigned them to the following groups:
- Treatment group (T): 1,123 schools will be randomly allocated to receive the training from the UGEL specialists. They will also participate in an intensive data collection activity.
- Control (C): 580 schools will be randomly assigned to a control group. They will not receive the training from the UGEL specialists but will participate in the intensive data collection activity.
- Pure control (PC): To address concerns about the Hawthorne effects--that is, principals and teachers can change their behavior in terms of how they report the data due to the intensity of the data collection process--we will randomly assign 302 schools to a pure control group that will neither receive the training nor will report any data. From these schools, we will collect administrative data on their reopening status.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done in-office by a computer using a self-coded script developed by the researchers.
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit will be schools.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,005 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
Principals: 2,005 Teachers: 4,010
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,123 schools training
580 schools control group
302 schools pure control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With this sample size, we expect to identify an MDE of 0.078SD for the intervention and 0.09SD for the Hawthorne effect.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action IRB-USA
IRB Approval Date
2021-05-21
IRB Approval Number
15718