Delivering Better Outcomes in Education: The World Bank's Experience

13 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2016

See all articles by Arianne Wessal

Arianne Wessal

World Bank

Clay G. Wescott

International Public Management Network; World Bank Independent Evaluation Group

Date Written: January 23, 2016


The following addresses the research question: Do World Bank supported education projects achieve better outcomes when there is deeper attention to designing monitoring and evaluation systems during project design?

The paper draws on a recently constructed database of World Bank investment projects in the education sector. Ratings of these projects’ M&E and their outcomes will be compared to see whether there is a correlation between high M&E ratings, and better outcomes. This pattern has been observed in other service areas supported by the Bank. Further analysis will look at other factors associated with better outcomes, to determine their importance relative to the use of M&E systems. The next step will be to analyze detailed project components to see if there are design features common to high performing projects with effective M&E and other outcome enabling features that are missing in weaker performing projects. Case studies are then introduced to illustrate how this can be brought about through implementation.

The findings will be of interest to World Bank operational staff, education professionals, client governments, and other development partners. Evaluations of World Bank projects have shown a decline in outcome ratings in recent years. Improvements in M&E and other features may point the way to reversing this trend. We expect that when the enabling environment encourages experimentation and the use of tight feedback mechanisms, constant communication makes it possible for project managers to make real-time changes to projects throughout the project cycle. Feedback mechanisms typically include such measures as evaluation committees, seminars and workshops, automated systems, reporting and follow-up procedures. It is also essential to tailor project components to local factors such as implementation capacity and political dynamics.

Keywords: monitoring, evaluation, world bank

JEL Classification: O19

Suggested Citation

Wessal, Arianne and Wescott, Clay G., Delivering Better Outcomes in Education: The World Bank's Experience (January 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Arianne Wessal

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Clay G. Wescott (Contact Author)

International Public Management Network ( email )

7798 Mulberry Ln
naples, FL 34114
United States


World Bank Independent Evaluation Group ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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