Expanding learning beyond the classroom: Evidence from India


Published 02.02.22
Photo credit:
Project Trust/flickr

Integrated education interventions with in-school and out-of-school components can increase student learning far beyond either approach independently

Read “Supporting learning in and out of school: Experimental evidence from India” by Martina Björkman-Nyqvist and Andrea Guariso here.

In the last two decades, research on improving primary education has centred around the assumption that if children are in school, they’re learning. However, in many low- and middle-income countries, learning gains have been slow to advance despite nearing full enrolment. In India, for example, less than half of fifth grade students are unable to solve second-grade math and language problems. In this VoxDevTalk, Martina Björkman-Nyqvist discusses her recent work with co-author Andrea Guariso testing an integrated education intervention in India with in-school and out-of-school components in an attempt to more holistically improve students’ learning levels.

The authors conducted a randomised controlled trial in northern India and found that, while each component on its own led to no improvements in learning levels, combined, students’ test scores did improve. The study, which focused on in-school pedagogical interventions with out-of-school study groups, increased test score performance by 20% in math and 13% in language for treated students. Their results show that more holistic approaches are needed beyond in-classroom interventions, and supplementing these with community-based learning models can be both cost-effective and lead to increased student learning.