Leading School Recovery from COVID-19: Experimental Evidence On Post-Pandemic School Leadership Training
Schools with better management practices are associated with higher student learning, particularly during major school disruptions such as COVID-19. But there is limited experimental evidence on the causal effect of improving school management practices on achievement, especially in developing countries. Existing efforts are often limited due to low adoption of the management practices by school leaders, potentially due to training programs that lack follow-up and a structure of accountability. We propose a randomized evaluation of a large-scale leadership training program in India with promising initial results, but no rigorous evidence to date. We will randomly assign nearly 400 public schools in Telangana, India to 1) a control group (C), 2) leadership workshops (T1), 3) workshops plus individualized coaching (T2). We will evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of each treatment on school leader management practices and student outcomes, both in the short run and over the 3-year duration of the program. Our study adds to the literature by estimating the causal effect of an intensive training program (T1), and the marginal effect of individualized follow-up (T2), on improving school management practices, and subsequently student learning. These results will help inform the value and design of school leadership training, which is especially policy-relevant given India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) that mandates 50 annual hours of professional development for principals. Interventions to improve school leadership practices are especially promising given the instability and uncertainty of direction due to COVID-19.