Author: Bold, Tessa et al.
Agency: World Bank
Full Citation: Bold, T., Filmer, D., Martin, G., Molina, E., Rockmore, C., Stacy, B., ... Wane, W. (2017). What do teachers know and do? Does it matter?: Evidence from primary schools in Africa (Policy Research Working Paper No. 7956). Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/25964
Target Population(s): Teachers
Overview: School enrollment has universally increased over the past 25 years in low-income countries. However, enrolling in school does not guarantee that children learn. A large share of children in low-income countries learn little, and they complete their primary education lacking even basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills—the so-called "learning crisis." This paper uses data from nationally representative surveys from seven Sub-Saharan African countries, representing close to 40 percent of the region's total population, to investigate possible answers to this policy failure by quantifying teacher effort, knowledge, and skills.
- Averaging across countries, the paper finds that students receive two hours and fifty minutes of teaching per day—or just over half the scheduled time.
- In addition, large shares of teachers do not master the curricula of the students they are teaching; basic pedagogical knowledge is low; and the use of good teaching practices is rare.
- Exploiting within-student, within-teacher variation, the analysis finds significant and large positive effects of teacher content and pedagogical knowledge on student achievement.