Targeted Remedial Education: Experimental Evidence from Peru

38 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2017 Last revised: 23 Jan 2017

See all articles by Juan Saavedra

Juan Saavedra

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Emma Naslund-Hadley

Inter American Development Bank

Mariana Alfonso

Inter American Development Bank

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

An outstanding challenge in education is improving learning among low-achieving students. We present results from the first randomized experiment of an inquiry-based remedial science-education program for low-performing elementary students in the setting of a developing country. At 48 low-income public elementary schools in Lima, Peru and surrounding areas, third-grade students scoring in the bottom half of their science classes were selected at random to receive up to 16 remedial sessions of 90 minutes each during the school year. Control-group compliance with assignment (no extra tutoring) was close to perfect. Treatment-group compliance was roughly 40 percent, or five to six remedial sessions—a 4 to 5 percent increase in total science instruction time over the school year. Despite the low-intensity treatment, students assigned to the remedial sessions scored 0.12 standard deviations higher on a science endline test. But all improvements were concentrated among boys, for whom gains were 0.22 standard deviations. Remedial education does not produce within-student spillovers to math, or spillovers on other students.

Suggested Citation

Saavedra, Juan and Naslund-Hadley, Emma and Alfonso, Mariana, Targeted Remedial Education: Experimental Evidence from Peru (January 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23050. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2900055

Juan Saavedra (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

Emma Naslund-Hadley

Inter American Development Bank ( email )

Mariana Alfonso

Inter American Development Bank ( email )

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