Thursday, December 22, 2011

Improving learning levels - what delivers bang for the buck?

I blogged yesterday about the student learning levels crisis in India. In this context, as the search for solutions and policy approaches to improving learning levels are in progress, this graphic from Andrew Fraker (report not online) and colleagues of IDInsight provides valuable and credible enough clues.

The graphic, which presents the evidence from 34 rigorously evaluated studies from 9 countries (19 of them from India) on strategies to improve student learning outcomes, clearly points to the superiority of remedial education. In fact, he finds that interventions that combine remedial education and increasing accountability are the most effective strategy to improve learning outcomes. Interestingly, it also finds that interventions that focus on inputs and technology have very negligible or even negative effect.

Another less obvious point from the graphic is the wide dispersion in outcomes within the remedial education sample. It just shows that while, on the average, remedial education is very effective, its success lies in getting the design and implementation strategy right. Unfortunately, this is where we struggle to get the mix right and fail with the implementation. And this in turn brings undeserved discredit to remedial education itself.

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