Improving Teacher Quality: Lessons Learned from Grantees of the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Dec 30, 2017
Clemencia Cosentino and Swetha Sridharan

Key Findings:

  • Developing tailored training content (for example, low-burden techniques for implementing new pedagogical approaches) and employing a strategic training structure (for example, a phased approach to enable gradual skills acquisition) can promote the use of new teaching methods.
  • Addressing key enablers and inhibitors of change such as school size, level of support from the head teacher, information technology infrastructure, and government engagement can position teacher training programs for success.
  • Scaling simple, straightforward in-service teacher training models is easier than doing so for complex multicomponent models that need teachers to internalize extensive reference materials.
  • Engaging with staff from teacher training colleges—and having them observe, participate in, and learn from in-service teacher training efforts—could help strengthen preservice training efforts and catalyze broader improvements in the teaching force.
  • Teacher training programs may need to leverage financial rewards, certifications, and other such incentives, while also strengthening teachers’ intrinsic motivation to shape students’ lives, to improve teaching quality at scale.
This study by Mathematica Policy Research examines the innovative approaches that the multi-donor Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) employed to improve teacher quality in East Africa and India. The study specifically showcases the importance of both building a cost-effective, streamlined model that is highly scalable and ensuring that teachers receive the time and support they need to acquire new teaching skills. It highlights a host of design considerations—including offering teachers low-burden methods to facilitate active learning in the classroom, using a phased training approach to enable gradual skills acquisition, and engaging staff from teacher training colleges in the intervention to influence preservice institutions.

The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education


Mastercard Foundation
Echidna Giving
Dubai Cares

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Swetha Sridharan
Read More