Publication: Training to Teach Science: Experimental Evidence from Argentina

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Albornoz, Facundo
Anauati, María Victoria
Furman, Melina
Luzuriaga, Mariana
Podestá, María Eugenia
Taylor, Inés
This paper evaluates the learning impact of different teacher training methods using a randomized controlled trial implemented in 70 state schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A control group receiving standard teacher training was compared with two alternative treatment arms: providing a structured curriculum unit or receiving both the unit and weekly coaching. Following a 12-week intervention, there are substantial learning gains for students whose teachers were trained using structured curriculum units, as well as for those whose teachers received coaching (between 55 percent and 64 percent of a standard deviation more than those students in the control group). Coaching teachers does not appear to be cost-effective, as the unit cost per 0.1 standard deviation is more than twice the cost of using only the structured curriculum unit. However, additional coaching is particularly beneficial for inexperienced teachers with less than two years of teaching science. Coaching teachers also showed specific gains for girls, who both learned and declared to enjoy science lessons more. High-performing students especially benefited from both interventions, with students from coached teachers performing particularly well in harder questions. Using structured curriculum units and providing coaching also affected teacher perceptions: teachers expressed that they enjoyed teaching science more and taught more hours of science, and that their students developed more skills. Results from a follow-up survey suggest persistent change in teacher practice, with the vast majority reporting using the structured curriculum unit one year after the intervention.
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Albornoz, Facundo; Anauati, María Victoria; Furman, Melina; Luzuriaga, Mariana; Podestá, María Eugenia; Taylor, Inés. 2020. Training to Teach Science: Experimental Evidence from Argentina. World Bank Economic Review. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank. License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IGO.
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