Student Reports

Spring 2016

Professors Douglas J. Besharov, Douglas Call, and Carl DeLorenzo

In Spring 2016, students worked with Catholic Relief Services, International Food Policy Research Institute, US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank. Students performed a wide variety of analyses, including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, policy analysis, performance measure development, process evaluation, and research synthesis.

The following are the final projects prepared by the students. They are listed in order of clients.

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Federal Government

U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Education

1. Education for School-Aged Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: A Needs Assessment. This report aims to address the lack of easily accessible information on the education crisis in Lebanon caused by the large influx of refugees from Syria. Bringing together information from different sources, it estimates the proportion of school-aged Syrians in Lebanon that are receiving an education, either formal or non-formal. Consequently, it also estimates the proportion receiving no education whatsoever. It provides insight into the size and scope of the challenges faced by school-aged Syrians trying to access an education in Lebanon. Other relevant topics are discussed as well, including: common barriers to education, the policy response of the Lebanese government, and characteristics of the typical Syrian household in Lebanon.

Paper Presentation

World Bank

2. Designing a Guidance Framework and a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Tool for Kuwait's Teacher Self-Assessment Program. In 2011 Kuwait’s Ministry of Education (MOE) and National Center for Education Development (NCED) launched the Integrated Education Reform Program (IERP), a major education reform program being implemented between 2011 and 2019, which seeks to improve the effectiveness of Kuwait General Education through integrated reforms in five main components – curriculum, teaching, leadership, assessment and policy and planning. Of these five components, the Teacher Self-Assessment Program, a subcomponent of the component dedicated to Teacher Effectiveness, has been designed so that teachers can self-assess themselves to determine their professional development (PD) needs. Currently, the Teacher Self-Assessment Program is being piloted at 25 schools in Kuwait.

At the client’s request, the author has developed a Monitoring and Evaluation strategy for the Roll-Out of the Teacher Self-Assessment Program in Kuwait. The Monitoring and Evaluation strategy involves five steps and aims to evaluate whether the Teacher Self-Assessment Program is implemented as originally planned. The author has also developed a Guidance Framework for supervisors to follow up after teachers have self-assessed themselves. The Guidance Framework explains how to interview teachers, interpret teachers’ self-assessment responses and identify teachers’ professional development (PD) needs to develop Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plans.

Paper Presentation

3. Meta-Analysis of Policy Interventions to Increase Women's Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This report seeks to determine which policy interventions most effectively increase the percentage of women entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs, and their success therein. The report consists of two main sections: (1) a systematic literature review of 250 pieces of academic and professional literature written between 2000 and 2016 on the topic of women in STEM programs, and (2) an effect sizes-based meta-analysis of the effects of more than twenty-five policy interventions. 

The research discovered a few noticeable trends in the data surrounding women in STEM. First, women seem to learn mathematics best when they are in a single-sex educational environment. Second, programs to combat stereotype threat are increasingly effective, particularly for college aged women. Finally, educating academic hiring committees on how to avoid stereotype threat and discrimination can lead to higher numbers of female scientists being hired as well as a higher level of job satisfaction for female academic scientists more generally. 

Further research is needed on the effects of interventions currently taking place in the labor market, as well as the impact of informational factors on women’s career decisions. This literature review and meta-analysis is part of a larger report commissioned by The World Bank Group’s Europe and Central Asia (ECA) division, and will eventually help to inform government policy in those nations.  

Paper Presentation

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

4. An Analysis of Nutrition Programs and Policies in Kyrgyzstan. The problem of malnutrition remains a huge concern for many countries in the world. Central Asia countries have experienced change and volatility in its economic, political and social environment after the collapse of former Soviet Union, which contributed to a worse nutrition situation in the 20 th century. To confront malnutrition in Kyrgyzstan, the government made policies and carried out different programs along with international organizations. Nevertheless, problems such as prevalence of anemia among children and women, increasing rate of overweight, and relatively high stunting rate still exist in the country. To address concerns in current policies and programs, five policy options are discussed in the paper:

  1. Maintaining status quo
  2. Expanding school meals programs to preschool students
  3. Improving quality of iodized salt
  4. Promoting home fortification
  5. Integrating nutrition education and regulation

These options are evaluated according to their nutrition effects, reach and implementation, political acceptability, financial feasibility, and sustainability. Analysis result shows that to integrate nutrition education and regulation is a preferred option. However, different intervention methods are complementary rather than exclusive in practice.

Paper Presentation

Catholic Relief Services

5. An Implementation Evaluation of the Catholic Relief Service Private Service Provider Marketing Pilot Project. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been implementing its Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) model since 2006. The SILC model is a holistic poverty alleviation tool allowing households to increase their income through saving and access to finance. In order to make the model sustainable, a private service provider (PSP) trained by CRS administers financial services to the groups on a fee for service basis. In 2014, CRS piloted the PSP marketing project to link socially responsible companies with PSPs to sell products to group members and their communities. This implementation evaluation documents the initial pilot project that took place in Western Kenya, and makes recommendations for CRS to scale up across the region and the globe.

Paper Presentation

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