Effectiveness of teachers' guides in the Global South Scripting, learning outcomes, and classroom utilization

By Benjamin Piper, Yasmin Sitabkhan, Jessica Mejia, Kellie Betts

This report presents the results of RTI International Education’s study on teachers' guides across 13 countries and 19 projects. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we examine how teachers’ guides across the projects differ and find substantial variation in the design and structure of the documents. We develop a scripting index so that the scripting levels of the guides can be compared across projects. The impact results of the programs that use teachers’ guides show significant impacts on learning outcomes, associated with approximately an additional half year of learning, showing that structured teachers’ guides contribute to improved learning outcomes. During observations, we find that teachers make a variety of changes in their classroom instruction from how the guides are written, showing that the utilization of structured teachers’ guides do not create robotic teachers unable to use their own professional skills to teach children. Unfortunately, many changes that teachers make reduce the amount of group work and interactivity that was described in the guides, suggesting that programs should encourage teachers to more heavily utilize the instructional routines designed in the guide. The report includes a set of research-based guidelines that material developers can use to develop teachers’ guides that will support effective instructional practices and help improve learning outcomes. The key takeaway from the report is that structured teachers' guides improve learning outcomes, but that overly scripted teachers' guides are somewhat less effective than simplified teachers' guides that give specific guidance to the teacher but are not written word for word for each lesson in the guide.

Bibliography

Piper, B., Sitabkhan, Y., Mejia, J., & Betts, K. (2018). Effectiveness of teachers' guides in the Global South: Scripting, learning outcomes, and classroom utilization. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0053-1805). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2018.op.0053.1805

© 2018 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors

Benjamin PiperBenjamin Piper, EdD, is the senior director for Africa Education in the International Education Division of the International Development Group at RTI International.

Yasmin SitabkhanYasmin Sitabkhan, PhD, is a senior early childhood researcher in the International Education Division of the International Development Group at RTI International.

Jessica MejiaJessica Mejía, MEd, is a research education analyst in the International Education Division of the International Development Group at RTI International.

Kellie BettsKellie Betts, BA, is an education analyst in the International Education Division of the International Development Group at RTI International.

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