Our Experiments to Improve FLN Outcomes
Alongside a system-led approach, CSF is creating innovative solutions to improve the delivery of FLN outcomes by school systems. Through our diagnostic work across 5 states, we identified 3 binding constraints to focus on for sustainable improvement of FLN outcomes:
- Behaviour change of key actors
- Reliable and valid data on learning levels
- State capacity for implementation. We conduct learning experiments to rapidly test promising hypotheses that address critical constraints across these issue areas.
The results from these experiments are used to draw insights on effective interventions that can be scaled by incorporating them into the design of state led programs.
Behaviour Change to Improve FLN
Policy implementation, especially at the last mile, is well known to be the most critical link in the chain, where many otherwise excellent policies fail. Even after receiving training, tools or information, evidence shows that people do not always behave as we may want — they may be influenced by biases, not fully perceive choices available to them, or be limited in their ability to convert intention into action. To drive sustainable change in a program, it is important to include behavioural elements that address individual biases, leverage social norms, build intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and simplify the practice of desired behaviours (Datta and Mullainathan, 2014). We are collaborating with Niti Aayog and the Centre for Social and Behaviour Change (CSBC) at Ashoka University to develop and test behaviour change strategies for teachers, cluster officials, and parents that could enable improvement in foundational learning outcomes of school systems.
Student assessment data collected and reported by system stakeholders is unreliable as they have incentives to misreport performance (Singh, 2020; Johnson and Parrado 2020). The availability of high quality and reliable data is an important prerequisite for education systems to track progress and assess impact of policies and programs. We are exploring two solutions to address this challenge:
1) Phone assessments: Phone-based assessments can be a cost-effective way for the state machinery to rapidly estimate learning levels through independent actors. It can be used to verify the reliability of assessment data reported by school systems.
2) Community-led assessments: Involving parents and community members in the process of conducting assessments can potentially help generate reliable data on student performance. It can also increase parental engagement with schools by making learning levels more visible to parents.
District Project Management Units
Several states are designing key interventions to improve FLN outcomes in line with the goals of the NIPUN Bharat Mission. Once finalized and rolled out, the success of these interventions will largely depend on how effectively they are implemented. In order to ensure that these reforms are successful and lead to long-term sustainable change on ground, a District FLN fellowship program is being planned in multiple states where a dedicated resource will be mapped at the district level to play the role of catalyst leading to effective implementation of the reforms. These resources or fellows will regularly monitor the implementation of these interventions, create salience among stakeholders, and build capacity of the system.