STEM career mentoring for secondary school students in Bhutan

Last registered on April 06, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
STEM career mentoring for secondary school students in Bhutan
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008837
Initial registration date
January 18, 2022

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
January 19, 2022, 12:21 PM EST

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

Last updated
April 06, 2022, 9:13 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Asian Development Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2021-08-01
End date
2022-02-15
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Bhutanese students are required to choose among four academic streams when they complete lower secondary school education. Only students in Science stream can apply for STEM degrees in college. Bhutan Ministry of Education and Asian Development Bank conduct an experiment to examine the effects of providing career mentoring to students who are about to decide which academic track to follow at upper secondary school. Our treatment involves one-to-one meetings between mentors who are students currently pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in STEM subjects in college and lower secondary school students. These meetings provide students with information about the importance of STEM education, student life, labor market information and job prospects of STEM students, as well as entry requirements and application process to Science stream at upper secondary school.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Hayashi, Ryotaro. 2022. "STEM career mentoring for secondary school students in Bhutan." AEA RCT Registry. April 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8837
Sponsors & Partners

Sponsors

Partner

Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Mentors meet with students four times to discuss career path and share information about the importance of STEM education, student life, labor market information and job prospects of STEM students, as well as the entry requirements and application process to Science stream at upper secondary school.
Intervention Start Date
2021-11-01
Intervention End Date
2021-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Actual educational choice after graduating from lower secondary school
Preferences on higher secondary education
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will create a single index of each outcome.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Test score in the lower secondary school graduation exam “Bhutan Secondary Education Certificate” (BSEC)

[Other intermediary outcomes]
Preferences on university-level education
Attitude to science and technology
Gender norm related to STEM and employment
Subjective knowledge on Science stream at upper secondary school regarding admission and future career path
Objective knowledge about entry requirements and application process to Science stream at upper secondary school
Expected satisfaction on Science stream
Beliefs about approval of parents, peers, and society if enrolling in Science stream
Beliefs about peers’ preferences on higher secondary education
Subjective assessment of ability to enroll and complete Science stream
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We will create a single index of each outcome.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our study subjects are grade 10 students in 76 lower secondary schools in Bhutan. The mentoring program is provided through two-stage randomization. The first-stage randomization is at school level: 39 schools are randomly selected as treatment schools; 37 schools as control schools. The second-stage is at student level: in treatment schools, randomly selected students, referred to as treatment students, are offered the mentoring program. Treatment students are randomly paired with mentors. In control schools there are no treatment students.

We conduct a census survey of students at the baseline and endline.
Experimental Design Details
The selection of our study subjects, mentors, randomization, and data collection are conducted as follows:

Study Subjects
Our study subjects are all the grade 10 students (equivalent to lower secondary school seniors) who satisfy the following criteria:
(i) The student should go to one of the 76 lower secondary schools that are in proximity STEM colleges. We consider proximity as less than 3-hour drive distance, which is based on Google Map.
(ii) The student should complete the baseline survey.

Mentor recruitment
We recruit about 200 mentors who satisfy the following criteria:
(i) The mentor should be currently pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in STEM subjects in six colleges and schools, including College of Natural Resources, College of Science and Technology, Gyelpzhing College of Information Technology, Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, Sherubtse College, and Royal Thimphu College.
(ii) The mentors should have secured a minimum of 65% in overall academic performance in grade 12.

Randomization
(i) We randomly choose 36 schools from the list of 76 lower secondary schools, stratified by geographic area, school size (total students), and public/private status.
(ii) From these schools, we randomly choose 1000 students (treatment students). The number of treatment students chosen from each school depends on mentor availability in the same geographic area.
(iii) Treatment students are randomly paired with mentors in the same geographic area. Each mentor has at most five mentees.
Data collection
(i) The baseline survey: We collect the information about students (e.g., demographics and other baseline information including academic performance, preferences about STEM-related education and future employment, as well as subjective assessment on their knowledge about different aspects of upper secondary education by academic stream) in the online survey. It is a census survey, although it is expected that some students will not take the survey.
(ii) The endline survey: We collect similar information about students in the online survey, with additional questions on knowledge about entry requirements and application process to Science stream in upper secondary school. It is a census survey, although it is expected that some students will not take the survey.
(iii) The mentor report form: We collect information on the mentoring progress on identifying career issues, understanding the importance of STEM education, understanding the courses/study options, understanding the life of a typical student, understanding the career path of graduates, and the entry requirements and admission process to Science stream.
(iv) Administrative data on test score in the lower secondary school graduation exam “Bhutan Secondary Education Certificate” (BSEC) will be shared by the Ministry of Education in Spring 2022.
(v) We will collect the data about their actual educational choices from the Ministry of Education in Summer-Fall 2022.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in Stata.
Randomization Unit
School and Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
76 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
6,000 students (grade 10)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
37 schools control (total 2,600 students), 39 schools (total 3,400 students) with students chosen to be participating in the mentoring program. In 39 treated schools, 1,000 students are selected for the treatment, and 2,400 are not.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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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