Monday, July 25, 2022

It is possible to substantially improve the quality of education for all while focusing on the students who need it the most

All members of society benefit from improving the educational outcomes of all of our children

Does  Educational  Support  for  Struggling  Students  Also  Benefit  High Achievers?

From Research Insights - IDB

Education for all children is the absolutely correct thing to aspire for
What  effect  did  improving  low-achieving  students’   literacy   skills   have   on   their   higher- achieving  classmates?  We  investigated  the  relationship  between  the  performance  of  high  and low  achievers  and  found  that  the  test  scores of higher-achieving  students  negatively  correlated with the share of low achievers in their classroom.  Figure  1  plots  the  relationship  between  end-of- the-year literacy and math scores of non-eligible students  and  the  share  of  low  achievers  before the intervention, in the control schools only. 

We compared the test scores of higher-achieving students  after  one  academic  year,  finding  substantially greater achievement across the board in treated  schools - compared  to  control  schools.  In treatment schools where there were tutoring activities,  higher-achieving  students  outperformed similar  students  in  control  schools  by  0.108  of  a standard deviation. This coefficient is sizable and represents  roughly  30  percent  of  the  treatment effect  on  the  eligible  students  (low  achievers).  For  both  literacy  and  math,  average  achievement decreases monotonically with the share of low-achieving students. 

We also estimated the effect of peers’ contemporaneous  outcomes  on  high  achievers  and  found strong evidence of peer effects on academic outcomes.  Our  results  imply  that  a  one-standard- deviation  increase  in  peers’  contemporaneous test scores increases individual reading scores by 0.679 of a standard deviation.

Quality learning and education for every child of the world
To  address  whether  these  changes  were  due  to direct  (non-peer)  or  indirect  (peer)  treatment effects,  we  ruled  out  alternative  mechanisms coming  from  a  reduction  in  class  size.  Additionally,  we  did  not  find  evidence  that  teachers changed their effort or teaching practices.  Rather, we  found  suggestive  evidence  that  some  of  the effect  might  be  due  to  a  reduction  in  students’ misbehavior.  Finally, the effects were stronger in classes  where  eligible  (low  achiever)  peers  improved the most, consistent with direct peer-to- peer learning interactions.


Our findings suggest that policies looking to support the bottom of the achievement distribution have  the  potential  to  generate  social-multiplier effects for all students, providing a strong rationale that underscores why all members of society can benefit from improving the educational outcomes of only some.  It is possible to substantially improve the quality of education for all while focusing on the students who need it the most.    

Source/Full Report