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Discussion Paper

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Improving school quality with limited resources is a key issue of policy. It has been suggested that instructing teachers to follow specific practices together with tight monitoring of their activities may help improve outcomes in under-performing schools that usually serve poor populations. This paper uses an RCT to estimate the effectiveness of guided instruction methods as implemented in under-performing schools in Chile. The intervention improved performance substantially and by equal amounts for boys and girls. However, the effect is mainly accounted for by children from relatively higher income backgrounds and not for the most deprived. Based on the CLASS instrument we document that quality of teacher-student interactions is positively correlated with the performance of low income students; however, the intervention did not affect these interactions. Guided instruction can improve outcomes, but it is a challenge to reach the most deprived children.

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