Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Different Ingredients in an Early Grade Literacy Intervention in Pakistan: Evidence from the Pakistan Reading Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The Pakistan Reading Project is an extensive education program in Pakistan aimed at tackling one of the highest child illiteracy  rates in the world. The IRC and its partners aim to reach 1.3 million grade one and grade two students across seven provinces in Pakistan to improve reading education and student reading outcomes as measured by the Early Grade Reading Assessment. The IRC is conducting a randomized controlled trial with four treatment arms in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to identify the cost-effectiveness of providing different ingredients of the intervention on teachers’ instructional practices and students’ reading skills, including face-to-face trainings, teacher inquiry groups, and school support visits.

The study will also identify the degree to which implementation factors affect learning outcomes and will collect qualitative data to better explain the results from the impact evaluation. 

The Evaluation team has completed a baseline report for this study, documenting the baseline instructional practices of teachers and reading outcomes of grade one students in a sample of 200 schools that are part of the study.. The baseline analysis found that the different treatment groups are balanced on all the exogenous and endogenous student and teacher characteristics, or in other words, it found that the randomization worked. This places us in a strong position to attribute any changes to the treatment variations observed in the outcomes at endline.

In September 2019 we will have results documenting the impact of Pakistan Reading Project’s ingredients after one year of implementation, and in the following year the results of two years of treatment. Additionally, we will use the data from our monitoring systems to identify the association between quality and fidelity of the implementation and observed outcomes. Finally, based on the findings from the impact evaluation, we will identify schools with high and low levels of both performance and program impact, to conduct case studies that can help us illustrate weak and bright spots in our intervention.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.