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Eric.ed.gov – Baseline Report for the Mixed-Methods Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of Impact Network’s eSchool 360 Model in Rural Zambia. Making Research Relevant

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Low- and middle-income countries have made significant progress getting children into school, but student learning and achievement are often dreadfully low (Berry, Barnett, & Hinton, 2015; Pritchett, 2013). Approximately 250 million children across the world are not acquiring basic reading and math skills, even though about half have spent at least 4 years in school (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation, 2014). Zambia faces many common educational challenges. Literacy rates among young Zambian adults ages 15–24 are 58.5% for females and 70.3% for males, despite an average of 7.7 years and 7.9 years of education, respectively (Zambia Demographic and Health Surveys, 2013–14; UNICEF, 2015). Community schools in Zambia are in need of a cost-effective solution for delivering quality education in order to improve learning outcomes. The Impact Network program represents a promising approach to improving educational outcomes by incorporating three potentially high-impact components that could create important synergies: e-learning, ongoing teacher training and professional development, and community ownership. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has designed and is implementing a mixed-methods cluster-randomized controlled trial (cluster-RCT) to determine the impact of Impact Network’s eSchool 360 model. The study comprises three main evaluation components: an impact evaluation of the eSchool 360 model, an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of the eSchool 360 model, and a process evaluation of the expansion of the eSchool 360 model. To determine the impact of the program, we are using a cluster-RCT in which 64 eligible schools have been randomly assigned either to receive Impact Network’s eSchool 360 program (30 treatment schools) or not to receive the program (34 control schools). This report presents the baseline results of the cluster-RCT used to determine the impact of Impact Network’s eSchool 360 model. It examines the differences between the treatment and control households along the causal chain of the theory of change. In addition, it analyzes the potential for floor effects on the assessment instruments that will be used to measure the impact of the Impact Network program on student outcomes 1 year and 3 years after the introduction of the Impact Network eSchool 360 model. The baseline findings in this report suggest that the cluster-RCT was successful in creating equivalence in observable characteristics between treatment and control households.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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