Andreas de Barros is a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT’s Department of Economics, where he works with Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa and J-PAL South Asia. His research specializes in program evaluation and evidence-based education policy in less-developed countries.
Andy has over 10 years of experience conducting randomized evaluations and primary data collection in less-developed countries. His current projects focus on teaching quality as a key determinant of student learning, and on the potential of educational technology to improve instruction.
We model learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential for cost-effective strategies to build back better. Data from Early Grade Reading Assessments in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda suggest half to over a year’s worth of learning loss. In modeling losses over time, we found that learning deficits for a child in grade 3 could lead to 2.8 years of lost learning by grade 10. While COVID-19 has stymied learning, bold, learning-focused reform consistent with the literature reviewed in this paper—specifically reform on targeted instruction and structured pedagogy—could improve learning even beyond pre-COVID-19 levels.