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David Evans is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, working on education, health, and social safety nets. Previously he was at the World Bank, where he co-authored the World Development Report 2018, Learning to Realize Education’s Promise, coordinated impact evaluation work for sub-Saharan Africa, and managed education projects in Brazil. Evans has evaluated education, early child development, agriculture, health, and social safety net programs in Brazil, the Gambia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. He received a PhD in Economics from Harvard University, specializing in economic development and labor economics.
In this article, we draw on our pilot testing of phone-based assessments in Botswana, along with the existing literature on oral testing of reading and mathematics, to propose a series of preliminary practical lessons to guide researchers and service providers as they try phone-based learning assessments. We provide preliminary evidence that phone-based assessments can accurately capture basic numeracy skills.
How did children learn while schools were closed during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic? In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of live tutoring calls from teachers, using a randomized controlled trial with 4,399 primary school students in Sierra Leone.
Students around the world lack foundational literacy and numeracy skills at striking rates. This essay examines the potential channels by which FLN investments and skills—which most systems teach in the early grades of primary school—may impact later schooling and subsequent life outcomes and the existing evidence for each channel. We find suggestive evidence for widening trajectories in school between students who master FLN skills in early grades and those who do not, although other factors may also explain the widening gaps.