Improving Education and Gender Attitudes: A cluster RCT of Growth Mindset and Girl Rising among Adolescents in Bangladesh

Last registered on May 09, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Improving Education and Gender Attitudes: A cluster RCT of Growth Mindset and Girl Rising among Adolescents in Bangladesh
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009214
Initial registration date
May 08, 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
May 09, 2022, 8:33 PM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
George Washington University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
George Washington University
PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
George Washington University
PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
Overseas Development Institute
PI Affiliation
Overseas Development Institute
PI Affiliation
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development
PI Affiliation
BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-02-17
End date
2023-06-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
While enrollment in secondary school has increased significantly in the past 20 years, net enrollment rates remain below 70% in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2021). Factors such as engagement in paid work and early marriage draw adolescents away from schooling during these critical years of development. In Bangladesh, where a reverse gender-gap in enrollment has emerged in recent years at both the primary and early secondary levels, gender inequities remain in the intrahousehold allocation of educational resources, with boys receiving greater investment in the quality of schooling (Xu, Sonchoy, and Fujii, 2022). Furthermore, at the secondary level, dropout rates among girls outpace boys at 42% compared to 33% (GIRL Center Research Brief, 2020; BANBEIS 2018). Furthermore, recent school closures due to the covid-19 pandemic threaten to undo progress in enrollment and widen disparities in investment, especially for girls and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Adolescents in LMICs are disproportionately affected due to longer durations of school closures and lower access to distance learning modalities (World Bank, 2020; Baird et al., 202), and adolescents in Bangladesh are among the most negatively affected globally, with complete school closures that lasted 63 weeks.

We are piloting evidence-based approaches among adolescents in Bangladesh to promote re-enrollment, increase secondary school completion, and promote gender equitable behavior. This research evaluates, through a school-based cluster Randomized Controlled Trial (cRCT) with 109 schools, two interventions that were virtually-delivered during covid-19-related school closures: (1) a gender-neutral Growth Mindset (GM) programming around malleable intelligence and (2) Girl Rising (GR) programming that focuses on gender norms around girls’ education that is layered on top of the GM programming. We layer GR on GM in order to test whether programming that speaks particularly to the constrains faced by adolescent girls has additional positive impacts on adolescent outcomes.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Asaduzzaman, T.M. et al. 2022. "Improving Education and Gender Attitudes: A cluster RCT of Growth Mindset and Girl Rising among Adolescents in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. May 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9214
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
There are two main interventions:

1. Eight weeks of group-based Growth Mindset Programming (GM) delivered via phone: Growth mindset is rooted in Carol Dweck’s pioneering research on malleable intelligence; when children (and adults) have a growth mindset, they believe that their ability depends on effort and are not constrained by fixed intelligence – the belief that talents are innate (Dweck, 2008). Adolescents were organized into groups of 3 students, according to school of attendance, gender, and grade and engaged in an eight-week intervention between April 5 and June 3, 2021. In week one, students participate in a group call where a facilitator reads an essay on malleable intelligence followed by discussion. In week two, students write a letter to a friend explaining malleable intelligence, and there is a second group call to discuss the contents of the letter. In weeks three to seven, students receive true/false statements around growth mindset concepts via SMS, with a final wrap up group call occurring in week eight. In weeks five and seven, there are additional refresher group calls to review concepts. Adolescents received a certificate of completion at the end of the intervention.

2. Eight weeks of group-based Girl Rising programming (GR) delivered via phone, in combination with videos and a companion story book: Girl rising is a gender sensitization program that uses powerful storytelling tools to build adolescents' voice and agency and underscore the importance of education. The objective of the intervention is to create awareness of gender-based discrimination, change dominant gendered perceptions, promote gender-equitable attitudes, and provide tools to participants to translate attitude change and greater aspirations into behavior change (Vyas 2020). Adolescents were organized into groups of 3 students, according to school of attendance, gender, and grade and engaged in an eight-week intervention between September 27 and November 20, 2021. Adolescents are provided a physical story book with six stories of six girls from six countries, accompanied by six companion videos, shedding light on a variety of gender-based issues, such as early marriage. The first week of the intervention introduced the programming structure and stories. Weeks two through seven comprise of adolescents reading and watching an assigned story, followed by a group phone call of 20-25 minutes with a facilitator to discuss the story. In the final week of the intervention, adolescents write their own stories and engage in a final group call.
Intervention Start Date
2021-04-05
Intervention End Date
2021-11-20

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Education and learning measured by: (1) a binary indicator for grade 10 completion (highest grade completed >=10); (2) an index comprised of (i) a binary indicator for currently enrolled in school; (ii) proportion of time spent at school or studying in a typical day (hours in a typical day/24); and (iii) learning measured by total scores on reading and math tests.

Socioemotional Skills measured by an index comprised of: (i) a grit scale (generated from seven items following Alan, Boneva, and Ertac [2019]); (ii) a malleability scale (generated from six items following Alan, Boneva, and Ertac [2019]; and (iii) a growth mindset scale (generated from four items from the World Bank STEP survey [2014]).

Gender Attitudes measured an index comprised of: (i) a scale of 4 education gender attitudes; (ii) an IAT score of gender bias around education and domestic work; and (iii) a scale of gender equitable responses to a vignette around early marriage, street harassment, gender roles, and mobility.

All indexes are constructed by standardizing each component to the mean and standard deviation in the control group and taking the unweighted mean of the standardized components.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Aspirations measured by an index comprised of: (i) a binary indicator for aspire to university education; (ii) a binary indicator for aspire to professional career; (iii) a binary indicator for set an education-related goal in the next week; (iv) a binary indicator for set an education-related goal in the next year; and (v) a binary indicator for adolescent has a role model outside the household.

Socioemotional skills measured by an index comprised of: (i) confidence and curiosity scale of eight items developed by Jukes (2018); and (ii) degree of control the adolescent feels over their lives (scale 1-10)

Economic Empowerment measured by: (1) an index comprised of (i) proportion of time spent in domestic work or caring for others; (ii) proportion of time spent in paid work; (2) a binary indicator for being married; (3) a binary indicator for being engaged in paid work; (4) an index comprised of (i) a binary indicator for having money the adolescent controls; and (ii) a binary indicator that the adolescent has savings

Psychosocial well-being measured by a binary indicator of minimal depression (PHQ-9<=4);

Social inclusion measured by a binary indicator that the adolescent has a trusted friend.

Gender attitudes measured by an index comprised of (i) a stereotypical roles scale comprised of eight items; (ii) a gender consciousness scale comprised of four items; and (iii) a gender malleability beliefs scale comprised of two items.

All indexes are constructed by standardizing each component to the mean and standard deviation in the control group and taking the unweighted mean of the standardized components.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study sample comprises 2,220 adolescents across 109 schools.

1. Control (No intervention): 744 students (attending grades 7 and 8) in 36 school clusters. The target population comes from school registration lists in February and March 2020.

2. Treatment 1 (Growth Mindset Programming (GM)): 733 students (attending grades 7 and 8) in 36 school clusters. The target population comes from school registration lists in February and March 2020. These students participate in the 8-week Growth Mindset programming.

3. Treatment 2 (Growth Mindset and Girl Rising Programming (GM+GR)): 743 students (attending grades 7 and 8) in 37 school clusters. The target population comes from school registration lists in February and March 2020. These students participate in the 8-week Growth Mindset programming. They are additionally engaged in 8 weeks of Girl Rising programming.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Cluster randomization in the office using Stata 16. Randomization was stratified by urban/rural and government/MPO cells.
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit is the school
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
109 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,220
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
36 schools control, 36 schools GM, 37 schools GM+GR
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For the power calculations (which were conducted using the clustersampsi command in Stata 16), we have 36 clusters per arm and an average of 20 individuals per cluster with a coefficient of variation in the cluster size of 0.27. We calculate minimum detectable effects (MDEs) at the 95% confidence level with 80% power. First, we estimate the MDE for a binary indicator for grade 10 completion. At baseline, all adolescents are enrolled in school. We assume that that the control group will have a mean of 0.76 at follow-up, based on estimated dropout rates from the 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), and that the intra-cluster correlation (ICC) is 0.07, based on the baseline ICC for aspirations for highest grade. Thus, the MDE in enrollment is 10 percentage points (pp) (0.23 standard deviations (SD)) when comparing either of the two treatment arms to the control group. This indicates that we would be able to detect statistically significant differences in grade 10 completion at the 95% level of confidence with 80% power if the mean in either treatment group is greater than 0.86. This MDE is in line with typical effect sizes in the education literature of between 0.05 and 0.23 SD at the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively (Evans and Yuan, 2019). We additionally estimate MDEs between the control group and a single treatment arm for our primary outcome measures of grit, malleability, and growth mindset. We use baseline data to estimate control group mean, SD, and ICC for each outcome. -- For grit, the MDE is 0.26 SD, assuming a control group mean of 2.73 out of 4 and an ICC of 012. -- For malleability, the MDE is 0.29 SD, assuming a control group mean of 3.02 out of 4 and an ICC 0.13. For -- For Growth Mindset, the MDE is 0.27, assuming a control group mean of 2.73 out of 4 and an ICC of 0.19. These are in line with the expected range of impacts based on earlier work with a Grit Intervention by Alan, Boneva, and Ertac (2019), who find impacts of between 0.29 SD and 0.35 SD for these same outcomes. The above power calculations are conservative and we are better powered if we compare the whole treatment group of 63 schools to the control group of 36 schools. Finally, we estimate MDEs between the GM and the GM+GR treatment arms for a measure of four education-related gender attitudes. We use baseline data to estimate a control group mean of 0.760 out of 4 on a gendered attitudes scale and an ICC of 0.14. The MDE is 0.29 SD.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
George Washington University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-08-08
IRB Approval Number
071721
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
2020-01-27
IRB Approval Number
15439
IRB Name
Overseas Development Institute Research Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-11
IRB Approval Number
02438