Six randomised controlled trials designed to improve learning outcomes for disadvantaged children in Sub-Saharan Africa

Education investment represents a large fraction of the total investment in many developing countries, but the skills of many pupils lag far behind those of their peers in richer countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, limiting human capital development and economic growth. With improved enrolment rates in primary education, the next step in many developing countries, therefore, lies in improving the quality of education to improve student learning (EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2014, World Bank World Development Report, 2018).

Bridge operates over 500 private schools in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Liberia and India. In 2017, it also signed a partnership with Edo State in Nigeria to implement its pedagogical model in all 1100 of the government’s primary schools. Bridge private schools are designed to be low-cost, making them accessible to children from poor families. The tuition at a Bridge Academy is approximately $6.60 per student per month compared to government funding of $20.11 per student per month in Kenyan public schools.  While the low-cost nature of Bridge’s tuition makes it accessible to many low-income students, some are still excluded.

Bridge often tries to pilot ideas in some of its academies before introducing them across all of its academies. In September 2018, Bridge launched six pilots to improve student learning in its Kenyan and Nigerian academies and will implement these through Summer 2019. Each of these interventions is being evaluated through rigorous randomised control trials, with schools in Kenya and Nigeria randomly assigned to the interventions. This project aims to carry out the evaluation of the interventions.

The six questions that the evaluations of these initial six interventions aim to answer are:

  1. Does daily quizzing improve learning, as measured by scores on Kenya’s primary-school leaving exam, the KCPE?
  2. Does using interleaving problem sets improve short-term and long-term retention of the material and student learning outcomes?
  3. Does giving different students different math problem sets depending on their respective math abilities improve their learning outcomes?
  4. Does giving different students different reading exercises depending on their respective abilities improve their learning outcomes?
  5. Does using shorter teacher guides make teachers more likely to complete the lessons without hurting student learning?
  6. Does sending personalised SMS texts to parents lead to lower dropout rates and better learning outcomes?

Outputs

  • Research in progress.

    Project last updated on: 21 Nov 2019.