Teaching with the test: Experimental evidence on diagnostic feedback and capacity-building for schools in Argentina

Rafael de Hoyos, Alejandro Ganimian, Peter Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the impact of two strategies for using large-scale assessment results to improve school management and classroom instruction in the province of La Rioja, Argentina. In the study, 104 public primary schools were randomly assigned to three groups: a diagnostic-feedback group, in which standardized tests were administered at baseline and two follow-ups and results were made available to schools; a capacity-building group, in which workshops and school visits were conducted; and a control group, in which tests were administered at the second follow-up. After two years, diagnostic-feedback schools outperformed control schools by 0.33 standard deviations (σ) in mathematics and 0.36σ in reading. In fact, feedback schools still performed 0.26σ better in math and 0.22σ better in reading in the national assessment a year after the end of the intervention. Additionally, principals at feedback schools were more likely to use assessment results in making management decisions, and students were more likely to report that their teachers used more instructional strategies and to rate their teachers more favorably. Combining feedback with capacity building does not seem to yield additional improvements, but this could be due to schools assigned to receive both components starting from lower learning levels and participating in fewer workshops and visits than expected.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld Bank Economic Review
StatePublished - 2019


  • diagnostic feedback
  • capacity building
  • large-scale assessments
  • Argentina


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