A randomized evaluation in rural Kenya finds, contrary to the
previous literature, that providing textbooks did not raise average
test scores. Textbooks did increase the scores of the best students
(those with high pretest scores) but had little effect on other students.
Textbooks are written in English, most students' third language,
and many students could not use them effectively. More generally,
the curriculum in Kenya, and in many other developing countries,
tends to be oriented toward academically strong students, leaving
many students behind in societies that combine a centralized educational
system; the heterogeneity in student preparation associated
with rapid educational expansion; and disproportionate elite power.
(JEL O15, I21, I28, J13)
"Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Analysis of Education
Education: Government Policy
Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration