A meta-look at meta-studies of the effectiveness of development assistance to education

David W. Chapman, Audrey Schuh Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


What insights and generalisations can be drawn from looking across the work of multiple governmental and non-governmental organisations aimed at supporting basic education in low and medium income countries? To address this question, this study analysed findings of nine evaluation meta-studies completed by international assistance organisations, each of which was examining the effectiveness of their work in basic education over a multi-year period. The value of the underlying project activities reviewed in these evaluations represents $6-$8 billion. Studies analysed with respect to (a) the criteria each used to judge success of their underlying projects, (b) the extent to which these studies focused on outcomes and impacts, (c) the extent to which projects were judged sustainable, (d) the adequacy of the project-level evaluations being reviewed, (e) what the underlying projects accomplished, (f) weaknesses identified in underlying project designs and (g) cost. A major weakness identified in almost all of the meta-studies reviewed was the paucity of evidence regarding the impact of the project activities in promoting student learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-565
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review of Education
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Aid effectiveness
  • Aid outcomes
  • Evaluation
  • Governmental and non-governmental projects
  • Sustainability of educational development


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