An Impact evaluation of Sri Lanka's policies to improve the performance of schools and primary school students through its school improvement and school report card programs

Date: 2011

Pages: 36 p.

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The paper examines the effects of two measures taken in Sri Lanka in an attempt to implement school-based management (SBM): the Program for School Improvement (PSI) and the School Report Card Program (SRCP). The evaluation project involves a sample of 200 schools randomly divided into four sets of 50 each. One consisted of schools in which the PSI was to be implemented. The second comprised schools in which the SRCP was to be implemented, and the third group, in which both programs were to be implemented. The fourth cluster served as the "control" group. Data of fourth graders' academic performance was collected and analyzed. The results shows that PSI, designed to restructure school management and provide support and training to strengthen school-community relations, performed well in terms of improving the cognitive abilities of their primary school students, involving local stakeholders (including parents, past pupils and well-wishers) closely with various aspects of school administration and benefiting poorer communities. On the other hand, SRCP, intended to deliver parents and pupils' feedback to schools, did not present a statistically significant effect on school performance partly due to the relatively low attention and little resources from policy-makers. The authors provide a series of advice on improving both programs: 1) expanding the geographic scope and increasing the level of decentralization in PSI; 2) revising SRCP by training schools and local governments to use the information contained in report cards in a judicious fashion. [IIEP]

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