(Senior) Research Associate- Personalized Adaptive Learning - J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia
  • India
Start Date (Earliest):

Start Date (Earliest): ASAP

Language Requirement: Telugu(compulsory) , English (compulsory)

Length of Commitment: 1 year (can be extended depending on project requirements)

Joining Location: Vijayawada, APName of the Project: Personalized Adaptive Learning

Sector: Education

About the Organization

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 194 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL South Asia, based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research in India, leads J-PAL’s work in the South Asia region. J-PAL South Asia conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. Over more than ten years of existence, J-PAL South Asia has conducted 193 ongoing and completed randomized evaluations. 

About the position 

J-PAL South Asia at the Institute for Financial Management and Research seeks qualified applicants for the position of (Senior) Research Associate to lead impact evaluations in India. The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The (Senior) Research Associate will join a team of world-class researchers from leading universities in the world and will gain first-hand experience implementing randomized control trials in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. Read more about our work and projects here

J-PAL South Asia is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to age, disability, family status, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation and other attributes protected by law. We strongly encourage people from marginalized communities to apply for this role. 

Project Specific Details 

Personalized Adaptive Learning (PAL) with edtech fosters remedial learning and mitigates learning gaps in settings where children lag behind grade-level skills (de Barros and Ganimian 2023; Muralidharan, Singh, and Ganimian 2019; Escueta et al. 2017). It can be a cost-effective way to address pandemic-related learning loss and inequities in access to education when investments in edtech have already been made (World Bank 2020). The Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) in India has launched one of the first government-run PAL programs in over 500 schools, with an interest in scaling to more schools. Currently, the program has been rolled out to students in grades 6 to 9 in 520 schools across 8 districts of AP. In collaboration with the GoAP, this project contains 4 Randomized control trials to understand the effectiveness of PAL when conducted at scale:

  1. Evaluation of a government-run PAL program and optimal dosage
  2. Varying intensity of software remediations
  3. Providing Pal at home for grade 8 students
  4. Impact of PAL usage on learning outcomes  

The candidate will work closely with Research Managers & Principal Investigators who guide and supervise them in their various tasks. Principal Investigators on this project include Michael Kremer, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 and university professor at the University of Chicago; Wendy Wong, Postdoctoral Scholar and lead researcher, Development Innovation Lab; Guthrie Gray-Lobe, Research Associate, Development Innovation Lab; Emily Cupito, Director, Development Innovation Lab. 

Key Responsibilities 

The candidate will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety tasks including, but not limited to: 

  • Research Design: Supporting design of survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, and refining study design and survey instruments.
  • Managing Field Teams: Recruiting, training, and supervising both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators and other field and office staff. Designing data collection plans based on project timelines and logistics.
  • Supervising Data Collection and Analysis: Monitoring data collection and entry to ensure good data quality across different phases of the project. Assisting with data cleaning and preliminary data analysis.
  • Coordinating with the Administrative and Finance team on a variety of tasks related to field staff contracting and payments.
  • Overseeing Intervention Implementation and Evaluation: Collaborating with the implementing partner organization to ensure the intervention and evaluation are in accordance with the research design.
  • Ensuring that the project complies with IRB and JPAL data collection and security protocols with the help of the Research Manager
  • Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at state, district, block and village and levels
  • Supporting Literature Reviews and Document Preparation: Conducting literature reviews and writing reports and manuscripts. Assisting in preparation of documents and presentations for donor reporting as well as dissemination activities.
  • Reporting to PIs on all of the above mentioned activities
  • Any other task as assigned by the Research Manager, and/or by the Principal Investigators 

Desired Qualifications 

  • A Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, education or related fields 
  • Previous experience in development research preferred (2 years)
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills 
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in English
  • Preference will be given to candidates with conversational fluency in Telugu 
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and team player 
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations 
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google products 
  • Knowledge of Stata (strongly preferred) or other data analysis software is preferred 
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials/clinical trials/quasi-experiments preferred 
  • Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments
  • Ability to work independently and in rural field locations

Note on Work Authorizations:

Candidates must have work authorization to work in India.

How to Apply

If you are interested in this position, please click on the apply button on the JD here; the first-time users will be asked to sign up and upload the CV, cover letter, and academic transcripts (optional).

For any queries, please write to [email protected].