Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Graphic laying out four principles for the use of edtech to help teachers

How to Use Technology to Help Teachers be Better and to Make Life Better for Teachers

In a recent note I look for examples of how education technology—rather than seeking to circumvent teachers—can help teachers to be as effective as possible and make their jobs and lives easier in the process. Looking at a wide range of experiences, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, I identify and discuss four principles to guide investments in technology to boost teacher effectiveness.

A map showing the students who have received the most education in the last year (darker colors represent more education)

It’s Been a Year Since Schools Started to Close Due to COVID-19

Twelve months ago, the world was watching as schools closed across China and millions of students began learning online from their homes. Most of us didn’t think for a moment that just a few weeks later, almost every country in the world would close their schools and the education of more than a billion children would be disrupted. Since then, millions of students have not had any school-based, face-to-face education.

Chart showing LAYS gained per $100 on a log scale. Giving information has huge variance but the highest gains. Targeted teaching and structured lessons also had high average gains.

What Interventions Deliver the Most Quality Years of Education? And at What Price?

There are many studies that show how one intervention reduces dropouts (better access to school) or another intervention increases learning (better quality of schooling). But policymakers and others care about a combination of access and learning! So how do you choose between one intervention that says it will keep kids in school longer and another that says it will boost their learning? Presenting the results of evaluations in terms of learning-adjusted years of schooling, or LAYS, is one solution.

A graph showing how many slides the teachers receiving virtual coaching accessed in their tablets, week by week

Virtual Teacher Coaching May Not Be the Solution We Hoped For

How can we help teachers to upgrade their pedagogical skills? Teacher coaching is a promising and increasingly popular candidate. Teacher coaching means teachers receive feedback in their place of work on specific things they can do better, not some general theory of pedagogy that’s completely disconnected from their day-to-day practice.

A chart showing teachers’ earnings and hours

Teacher Pay in Africa

In our new study–“Are Teachers in Africa Poorly Paid? Evidence from 15 Countries”–we pulled together representative household data from 15 African nations in the last 10 years and examined how well teachers are paid relative to other workers with similar skill and experience.

Chart showing a relationship between student answers on the problem of the day and the overall test results

Is It Possible to Measure Learning by Phone?

Using lessons from early movers in Botswana, together with the extensive literature on face-to-face oral assessments, we’re concluding, “yes,” we think it is possible to measure learning by phone. We’ve published some preliminary principles and discussion in a new working paper. Below is a quick summary—five tips which we hope are helpful for those embarking on their own efforts.

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