Can Education be Standardized? Evidence from Kenya

107 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2022 Last revised: 22 Sep 2022

See all articles by Guthrie Gray-Lobe

Guthrie Gray-Lobe

University of Chicago

Anthony Keats

Wesleyan University

Michael Kremer

University of Chicago

Isaac Mbiti

University of Virginia; IZA

Owen W. Ozier

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: September 16, 2022

Abstract

We examine the impact of enrolling in schools that employ a highly-standardized approach to education, using random variation from a large nationwide scholarship program. Bridge International Academies not only delivers highly detailed lesson guides to teachers using tablet computers, it also standardizes systems for daily teacher monitoring and feedback, school construction, and financial management. At the time of the study, Bridge operated over 400 private schools serving more than 100,000 pupils. It hired teachers with less formal education and experience than public school teachers, paid them less, and had more working hours per week. Enrolling at Bridge for two years increased test scores by 0.89 additional equivalent years of schooling (EYS) for primary school pupils and by 1.48 EYS for pre-primary pupils. These effects exceed the 90th percentile of studies examined by Evans and Yuan (2020) and the 99th percentile of treatment effects of large sample studies reviewed in the same study. Enrolling at Bridge reduced both dispersion in test scores and grade repetition. Test score results do not seem to be driven by rote memorization or by the income effects of the scholarship.

Suggested Citation

Gray-Lobe, Guthrie and Keats, Anthony and Kremer, Michael and Mbiti, Isaac and Ozier, Owen W., Can Education be Standardized? Evidence from Kenya (September 16, 2022). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2022-68, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4129184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4129184

Guthrie Gray-Lobe

University of Chicago

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Anthony Keats

Wesleyan University ( email )

Michael Kremer (Contact Author)

University of Chicago

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Isaac Mbiti

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

IZA ( email )

Owen W. Ozier

World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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