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What really works to improve learning in developing countries an analysis of divergent findings in systematic reviews (English)

In the past two years alone, at least six systematic reviews or meta-analyses have examined the interventions that improve learning outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. However, these reviews have sometimes reached starkly different conclusions: reviews, in turn, recommend information technology, interventions that provide information about school quality, or even basic infrastructure (such as desks) to achieve the greatest improvements in student learning. This paper demonstrates that these divergent conclusions are largely driven by differences in the samples of research incorporated by each review. The top recommendations in a given review are often driven by the results of evaluations not included in other reviews. Of 227 studies with student learning results, the most inclusive review incorporates less than half of the total studies. Variance in classification also plays a role. Across the reviews, the three classes of programs that are recommended with some consistency (albeit under different names) are pedagogical interventions (including computer-assisted learning) that tailor teaching to student skills; repeated teacher training interventions, often linked to another pedagogical intervention; and improving accountability through contracts or performance incentives, at least in certain contexts. Future reviews will be most useful if they combine narrative review with meta-analysis, conduct more exhaustive searches, and maintain low aggregation of intervention categories.

Details

  • Author

    Evans,David-000213993, Popova,Anna

  • Document Date

    2015/02/26

  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number

    WPS7203

  • Volume No

    1

  • Total Volume(s)

    1

  • Country

    World,

  • Region

    The World Region,

  • Disclosure Date

    2015/02/26

  • Disclosure Status

    Disclosed

  • Doc Name

    What really works to improve learning in developing countries ? an analysis of divergent findings in systematic reviews

  • Keywords

    student learning;effect on student learning;categories of interventions;returns to schooling;randomized controlled trials;primary school level;years of schooling;test score;education improvement program;quality of education;student learn outcome;school health intervention;effectiveness of education;primary school outcome;teacher training program;Access to Education;computers in education;junior secondary school;secondary school student;standard deviation;study including;Teachers;learning program;instructional technology;teacher performance;learning impact;common denominator;school quality;learning level;total sample;primary level;math score;performance incentive;vote counting;health interventions;Cash Transfer;journal articles;computer intervention;teacher incentive;point estimate;Education Quality;short term contract;short-term contract;quality study;small class;instructional material;regression results;school supply;early grade;learning experience;computing skill;individual study;lesson plan;early reading;instructional method;Formative Assessment;school administrator;local teacher;monitoring visit;home computer;student access;student skill;pedagogical material;search strategies;cut off;matching strategy;open access;child literacy;accountability benefit;basic skill;literacy program;development policy;school resource;international education;cooperative learning;class size;learning dynamic;social study;matching method;pedagogical method;fixed effect;classroom instruction;social studies;labor economics;individual student;poverty action;textbook provision;systematic analysis;small sample;learning group;teacher absenteeism;teacher knowledge;school day;empirical evidence;subject knowledge;information provision;school accountability;limited coverage;pedagogical reform;school material;human capital;school fee;migrant child;evaluation study;weighted average;educational intervention;school meal;statistical significance;aggregate result;statistical precision;Education Policy;fee reduction;school enrollment;academic learning;student attainment;literacy instruction;younger sibling;student progress;reading level;education intervention;literacy score;nutritional supplement;instructional technique;school system;partial coverage;cost data;substantial variation;learning material;geographic focus;african study;school grant;teaching resource;negative effect;learning result;instructional time;remedial education;local contract;standard error;school year;school hour;basic infrastructure;instruction material;student workbook;reading instruction;learning assessment;

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Citation

Evans,David-000213993 Popova,Anna

What really works to improve learning in developing countries an analysis of divergent findings in systematic reviews (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 7203 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/516191468172488103/What-really-works-to-improve-learning-in-developing-countries-an-analysis-of-divergent-findings-in-systematic-reviews