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The South African Early Grade Reading Study Wave 4

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data, experimental data, survey data
  • Cilliers, Jacobus (Georgetown University)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • 3IE
Free Keywords
Education; economic development
  • Abstract

    We experimentally compare two modes of in-service professional development for South African public primary school teachers. In both modes teachers received the same learning materials and daily lesson plans, aligned to the official literacy curriculum. Students exposed to two years of the program improved their reading proficiency by 0.12 standard deviations if their teachers received centralized Training, compared to 0.24 if their teachers received in-class Coaching. Classroom observations reveal that teachers were more likely to split students into smaller reading groups, which enabled individualized attention and more opportunities to practice reading. Results vary by class size and baseline student reading proficiency.
  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: A panel study, with attrition of 16.6% at endline.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2015-01-01 / 2018-12-12
    Time Period: Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2015--Wed Dec 12 00:00:00 EST 2018
  • 2015-02-01 / 2015-02-28
    Collection Date(s): Sun Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2015--Sat Feb 28 00:00:00 EST 2015 (February 2015)
  • 2015-11-01 / 2015-11-30
    Collection Date(s): Sun Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2015--Mon Nov 30 00:00:00 EST 2015 (November 2015)
  • 2016-11-01 / 2016-11-20
    Collection Date(s): Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016--Sun Nov 20 00:00:00 EST 2016 (November 2016)
Geographic Coverage
  • South Africa
Sampled Universe
Smallest Geographic Unit: School
The study is set in two districts in South Africa’s North West Province, in which the main home language is Setswana. This province is relatively homogeneous linguistically and is one of the country’s poorer provinces. Our sample is restricted to non-fee public schools that use Setswana as the main language of instruction, and were identified as unlikely to practice multi-grade teaching.[1] We randomly drew a sample of 230 schools from this population and created 10 strata of 23 similar schools based on school size, socio-economic status, and previous performance in the national standardized exam, the Annual National Assessments (ANA). Within each stratum we randomly assigned five schools to each treatment group and eight to the control group.[2] All treatment schools with exception of one in the Coaching arm agreed to participate in the program. Results of this paper should therefore be interpreted as an intent-to-treat.
We chose to exclude schools that practice multi-grade classes, since the  interventions  are  grade- specific and unlikely to work in multi-grade settings, but we were unable to exclude all those schools ex ante. Roughly 6 percent of grade two teachers in each treatment arm reported teaching students from multiple grades in the same classroom. For sake of transparency we report results on both the full sample and the restricted sample- i.e. the sample that excludes students who were taught in a multi-grade setting.
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview~~on-site questionnaire~~

  • Cites
    DOI: 10.3368/jhr.55.3.0618-9538r1 (Text)
  • Cilliers, Jacobus, Brahm Fleisch, Cas Prinsloo, and Stephen Taylor. “How to Improve Teaching Practice? An Experimental Comparison of Centralized Training and in-Classroom Coaching.” Journal of Human Resources, February 7, 2019, 0618-9538R1.
    • ID: 10.3368/jhr.55.3.0618-9538r1 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2019-10-30 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-10-30

Cilliers, Jacobus (2019): The South African Early Grade Reading Study Wave 4. Version: 2. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.