Project

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Improving Teacher Quality in Developing Countries: Experimental Evaluations in El Salvador and Tanzania

English title Improving Teacher Quality in Developing Countries: Experimental Evaluations in El Salvador and Tanzania
Applicant Jakob Martina
Number 195406
Funding scheme Doc.CH
Research institution Institut für Soziologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.09.2020 - 28.02.2023
Approved amount 272'102.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Sociology
Economics

Keywords (6)

development; social norms; experimental research; teacher performance; education; field studies

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Während sich der Zugang zu Bildung in den letzten Jahrzehnten weltweit stark verbessert hat, bleiben die Lernerfolge der Schulkinder in Entwicklungsländern oftmals sehr bescheiden. Dies rückt die Kompetenzen und Praktiken von Lehrpersonen ins Zentrum der Debatte.
Lay summary

Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Während 95 Prozent der Primarschulkinder in Ländern mit hohem Einkommen Grundkenntnisse in Sprache und Mathematik erreichen, sind es in ärmeren Ländern weniger als 15 Prozent. Die bisherige Forschung zeigt, dass die Lernerfolge von Schulkindern vor allem von einem zentralen Faktor abhängen: der Lehrperson. Um die Bildungsqualität nachhaltig verbessern zu können, ist es daher zentral, besser zu verstehen, mit welchen Wissenslücken und Problemen sich die Lehrpersonen konfrontiert sehen und wie sich diese beheben lassen. Das Dissertationsprojekt geht diesen Fragen mithilfe von Feldexperimenten in El Salvador und Tansania auf den Grund. In zwei Evaluationsstudien wird zunächst die Wirkung von fachlichen und pädagogischen Weiterbildungen auf die Kompetenzen der Lehrpersonen und die ihrer Schülerinnen und Schüler untersucht. Anschliessend wird in einem dritten Projekt analysiert, inwiefern sich die Unterrichtsqualität und die Motivation von Lehrkräften durch verstärkte soziale Anerkennung für ihre Lehrtätigkeit fördern lassen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Bildung ist eine zentrale Voraussetzung für einen nachhaltigen gesellschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Entwicklungsprozess. So investieren Regierungen rund um die Welt beachtliche Beträge in ihre Schulen und ein grosser Teil der internationalen Entwicklungsgelder fliesst in den Bildungsbereich. Es ist daher zentral, wissenschaftlich zu evaluieren, welche Ansätze und Programme einen wirksamen Beitrag zur Verbesserung der Unterrichtsqualität leisten können.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.07.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Relative Effectiveness of Teachers and Learning Software: Evidence from a Field Experiment in El Salvador
Büchel Konstantin, Jakob Martina, Kühnhanss Christoph, Steffen Daniel, Brunetti Aymo (2021), The Relative Effectiveness of Teachers and Learning Software: Evidence from a Field Experiment in El Salvador, in Journal of Labor Economics.
Educational aspirations and decision-making in a context of poverty. A test of rational choice models in El Salvador
Jakob Martina, CombetBenita (2020), Educational aspirations and decision-making in a context of poverty. A test of rational choice models in El Salvador, in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 69, 100545.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Ministerio de Educación - Gobierno de El Salvador El Salvador (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Consciente El Salvador (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Helvetas Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology - Government of Tanzania Tanzania (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
CRED - Center for Regional Economic Development, Department of Economics, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Development Lunch Talk given at a conference Cooperating towards the Public Good: A Field Experiment on Conditional Cooperation and Waste Management in El Salvador 15.03.2022 University of California, Berkeley, United States of America Jakob Martina;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Presentation of results from CATT and CAL-IMPACT project and design of new projects Talk 14.07.2021 Santa Tecla, Ministry of Education, El Salvador Jakob Martina;
Presentation of results from CATT and CAL projects to ministry officials Talk 05.05.2021 Zoom, El Salvador Jakob Martina;


Abstract

Primary enrollment rates in the developing world have increased impressively in the last few decades. However, while 95 percent of children in high-income countries pass minimum thresholds in reading and math, less than 15 percent in low-income countries do. This "learning crisis" puts the performance of teachers at the heart of the debate. Previous research points to three key problems: deficiencies in content knowledge, outdated pedagogical practices and low levels of motivation and effort. Through my PhD projects, I want to contribute to a better understanding on how each of these problems can be effectively addressed. In a first and ongoing project, I am analyzing the impact of a computer-assisted teacher training program on teachers' and their students' math skills through a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in El Salvador. In a similar vein, a second ongoing study experimentally evaluates two pedagogy-centered teacher training programs in Tanzania. My third and main project is again situated in El Salvador and focuses on the social dynamics related to teacher effort, a topic completely neglected in the existing literature. To study these dynamics, I will conduct an explorative survey on teachers' perceptions and social norms, an online experiment that explores crowding-out effects of intrinsic motivation, and, most importantly, an RCT analyzing the effect of public recognition of effort on teacher performance in the field. My findings will not only contribute to the emerging scientific discussion on the mechanisms behind the low levels of teacher performance in the developing world, but also provide valuable evidence for effective policy-making.
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