Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects of Community-Based Education in Afghanistan

Last registered on October 05, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects of Community-Based Education in Afghanistan
Initial registration date
October 01, 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
October 05, 2021, 11:35 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

NYU Politics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
NYU Steinhardt
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
EGAP Registration ID: 20160615AB
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects (ALSE) is a mixed-method, randomized controlled trial that aims to expand and deepen understanding of the best ways to provision community-based education that is both effective and sustainable. Evidence produced by this comprehensive impact evaluation will offer critical insights into the institutionalization of access to schooling.

Registration Citation

Burde, Dana, Joel Middleton and Cyrus Samii. 2021. "Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects of Community-Based Education in Afghanistan." AEA RCT Registry. October 05.
Sponsors & Partners


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Experimental Details


The main intervention being studied is the provision of community-based schools. 44 communities constituted the control group and the remaining 112 were divided equally into one of 4 variations of the community-based schools treatment. The four treatment arms differed in terms of two components: 1) whether the community received additional enhancements and 2) whether teacher recruitment emphasized the importance of obtaining a qualified teacher or a teacher from within the community.

NB: the current registration does not consider a "phase II" treatment that was activated only as of 2017 and therefore is not relevant for the study being characterized here. The phase II study is registered separately.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcomes are children's school attendance and their scores on standardized math and verbal tests.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
School attendance was measured at each of the outcome measurement waves through surveys with parents, asking whether their child had been attending school regularly over the previous school year. Test scores were obtained using tests based on the EGMA/EGRA standardized tests, adapted to the Afghan context.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
A variety of secondary outcomes measured at the child, household, community, and school level:
Parents'/community leaders' trust in service providing institutions
Barriers to children's access to education
Parents'/community leaders' advocacy for children’s education
Parents'/community leaders' capacity to aid in educating children
Parental assistance in learning
Parent/community leaders' demand for education
Parent satisfaction with educational opportunities
Teacher capacity
Teacher motivation
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
These outcomes were measured through surveys administered to heads of households, community leaders, and teachers.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The sample consisted of 156 communities, with approximately 3000 households and 5000 children aged 6-11. Treatments were randomly assigned using a fractional factorial design (control condition and then 8 variants of the treatment condition). Randomized assigned was implemented using a restricted randomization in which a treatment assignment was randomly selected from a set of candidate randomizations that met a covariate balance criterion (F-test of a multivariate regression yielding a p-value greater than 0.20). Baseline and outcome measurements were obtained in waves at the start/end of each academic year starting in Fall 2014 and continuing through Fall 2018.
Experimental Design Details
For more details on the design, refer to the registration and pre-analysis plan posted to the EGAP registry:
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office on a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization unit was the community (either an individual village or a cluster of villages), each of which contained at most one school.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
156 communities
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 3000 households and 5000 children aged 6-11
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 44
Treatment variation 1: 28
Treatment variation 2: 28
Treatment variation 2: 28
Treatment variation 2: 28
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For child-level primary outcomes presented in terms of control group standard deviations, and assuming 80% power, 95% confidence, two-tailed tests, and no covariate adjustment, the MDES values for a test of treatment (pooling all variations) versus control are as follows: ICC 0.0, MDES 0.084 ICC 0.1, MDES 0.177 ICC 0.3, MDES 0.282 ICC 0.7, MDES 0.419

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
New York University IRB/University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan originally posted to EGAP registry in June 2016

MD5: 49a16e3b43c79f2da17b25a22ec29e97

SHA1: 82cb37a8392478ca74297aa2ef51adc9c4e7cdaa

Uploaded At: October 01, 2021


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2015, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2016, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
156 communities
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
5036 households and 6484 children, with 4741 between 6-11 years old, and then 149 teachers and 179 community leaders (for clusters that included multiple villages, we interviewed all leaders)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
44 control, and then 112 to community based schools treatment, evenly divided (28 each) between the 4 variations.
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

This paper uses a "principal strata" approach to decompose treatment effects and interpret why a schooling intervention that yielded exceptional initial effects yielded substantially smaller effects in a replication years later. The specific application is a set of 2008 and 2015 replications of an intervention aiming to increase primary education for girls in rural Afghanistan. The intervention offers a new schooling option, and as such, its effects depend on how individuals use alternatives that already exist. The principal strata approach accounts variation in use patterns when comparing effects across the replications. Our findings show that even though the share of girls for whom the intervention would be valuable dropped considerably in 2015 as compared to 2008, the intervention was even more efficaciousness for those who continued to benefit from it.
Burde, Dana, et al. "How to Account for Alternatives When Comparing Effects: Revisiting'Bringing Education to Afghan Girls'." arXiv preprint arXiv:2106.15076 (2021).

Reports & Other Materials