Abhijeet Singh Stockholm School of Economics
"Disrupting Education? Experimental evidence on technology-led education in India"
We present experimental evidence on the impact of a technology-aided after-school instruction program on secondary school learning outcomes in urban India, using a lottery that provided students with a voucher to cover program costs. A key feature of the program was its ability to individually customize educational content to match the level and rate of progress of each student. We find that lottery winners had large increases in test scores of 0.36 standard deviations (SD) in math and 0.22 SD in Hindi over just a 4.5-month period. IV estimates suggest that attending the program for 90 days would increase math and Hindi test scores by 0.59 SD and 0.36 SD respectively. We find similar absolute test-score gains for all students, but the relative gain was much greater for academically-weaker students because their rate of learning in the control group was close to zero. We show that the program precisely targets instruction to students' preparation level, thus catering effectively to the very wide variation in student learning levels within a single grade. The program was highly cost-effective, both in terms of productivity per dollar and unit of time. Our results suggest that well-designed technology-aided instruction programs can sharply improve productivity in delivering education.
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