Total Awarded: $19.2 million
Duration: 2011 - 2016
Total Grants: 54 grants
Geographic Focus: Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
Millions of children globally are struggling to obtain meaningful education due to limited access to schools, poor quality of teaching, and lack of relevance between curricula and labor market needs. In 2011, MacArthur joined with several other donors to found the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a collaborative that seeks to increase secondary education access and improve learning outcomes for marginalized populations in under-resourced countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. PSIPSE supports the development and testing of innovative models to address barriers to participation and achievement in secondary education, facilitates the scale-up of effective interventions through systematic change in target countries, and promotes efforts to build evidence regarding what works in secondary education.
In 2014, Mathematica Research Policy was hired by the PSIPSE to serve as its external evaluation partner. In this role, Mathematica produced a literature review on existing evidence of initiatives focused on promoting secondary education, assisted the collaborative with refining its theory of change based on this evidence, and developed a monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework for the PSIPSE that outlines an approach for collecting data about the work of grantees that can be used to facilitate cross-cutting learning and fostering scale-up. Mathematica is also supporting the collaborative in implementing the framework and sharing information on PSIPSE’s approach and progress with a variety of stakeholders.
The literature review identified relatively few strategies for which there are sufficient, rigorous evidence to argue for the scale-up of post-secondary education interventions. The monitoring report found that nearly all PSIPSE grantees are conducting needs assessments, monitoring participant progress, and obtaining qualitative feedback. This bodes well for encouraging a culture of learning and monitoring progress to adjust implementation. However, few are engaged in rigorous impact evaluations. Furthermore, PSIPSE grantees often find their monitoring, evaluation, and learning budget to be inadequate, even when allocating up to 15 percent of project resources towards these activities.
PSIPSE grantees also identified the need for assistance with program design; how to build monitoring plans; and how to better disseminate information and learnings they’ve gathered through their work.
The majority of PSIPSE funding supports efforts to improve student achievement and prepare youth for life after secondary school. Most grantees combined multiple intervention approaches to achieve their goals. The most common combination of interventions included (1) non-academic support for youth and (2) parent and community engagement.
Monitoring data gathered across the PSIPSE portfolio surfaced common trends with regard to interventions aiming to promote girls’ secondary education, including: