Person:
Bruns, Barbara

Human Development Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank
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Education Economics; Brazil; Education for All
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Human Development Department, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, World Bank
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Last updated: February 1, 2023
Biography
Barbara Bruns is lead economist in the Education Global Practice at the World Bank, specializing in research on education quality in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is lead author of the books Great Teachers: How to raise student learning in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Javier Luque (October 2014) and Achieving World Class Education in Brazil: the Next Agenda (2012), with David Evans and Javier Luque. She also co-authored Making Schools Work: New Evidence on Accountability Reforms (with Deon Filmer and Harry Patrinos, 2011), a review of global evidence on interventions to improve school quality.   From 2007-2009, Barbara was the first manager of the $14 million Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) at the World Bank, launched to support rigorous research on education quality.  She also co-authored the World Bank/IMF MDG Global Monitoring Reports of 2005, 2006 and 2007, served on the Education Task force appointed by the UN Secretary General in 2003, co-authored the book A Chance for Every Child: Achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015, and headed the Secretariat of the global Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI) from 2002 to 2004.   Prior to joining the World Bank, Barbara was a staff economist on the US Senate Banking Committee and legislative assistant to Senator Adlai Stevenson III.  She holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Through the Looking Glass: Can Classroom Observation and Coaching Improve Teacher Performance in Brazil?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-07) Costa, Leandro; Bruns, Barbara; Cunha, Nina
    This study conducted a randomized evaluation of a program in the Brazilian state of Ceara. The program was designed to improve teachers’ effectiveness by increasing their professional interaction and sharing of classroom practice. In 175 of 350 secondary schools, teachers were provided with benchmarked feedback from classroom observations and access to expert coaching. Schools’ uptake of the coaching program was high (85 percent). Over a single school year, the program increased teachers’ time on instruction and student engagement and produced statistically significant gains in student learning on the Ceara state assessment and the national secondary school exit exam. Controlling for individual students’ prior-year learning outcomes, schools exposed to the program had 0.05-0.09 standard deviation higher performance on the state test and 0.04-0.06 standard deviation higher scores on the national test. Implementation fidelity strongly boosted program impacts. In the 49 schools where the pedagogical coordinators achieved the highest certification at the end of the program, student scores were 0.13-0.23 standard deviation higher on the state test and 0.13-0.17 standard deviation higher on the national test. Coaching delivered by Skype kept the costs of the program low, $2.40 per student, and produced cost-effective impacts on learning in comparison with other rigorously evaluated teacher training interventions. The combination of classroom observation feedback and expert coaching appears to be a promising strategy for whole-school efforts to raise teacher effectiveness.
  • Publication
    Achieving World-Class Education in Brazil : The Next Agenda
    (World Bank, 2012) Bruns, Barbara; Evans, David
    Education is improving in Brazil. The average years of education has almost doubled over the last 20 years, as has the proportion of adults who have completed secondary school. Brazil's high school students have improved consistently in math and language performance over the last decade. These gains stem from the federal government's priority attention to education through both reforms and resources over the past 15 years. The progress laid out in this book is impressive and praiseworthy, but Brazil still trails its competitors in several of the ways that matter most. Student learning, while improving, still lags far behind wealthier nations. Many secondary schools lose the majority of their students well before graduation. Teachers are drawn from among the lowest achievers and have few performance incentives, and it shows in how class time is used. This important book explores not only the basis for Brazil's progress, but also what it must do to bridge the remaining quality gap to a first-rate education for its children. It provides detailed recommendations for strengthening the performance of teachers, supporting children's early development, and reforming secondary education. In Brazil's highly decentralized basic education system, each level of government has an integral role to play.