An analysis of USAID assistance to basic education in the developing world, 1990-2005

David W. Chapman, Jessica Jester Quijada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


What was accomplished and what was learned from United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) investment of over $733 million aimed at strengthening basic education systems in the developing world? These questions were addressed through an analysis of 286 documents drawn from 33 projects sponsored by the USAID between 1990 and 2005. Findings indicated that USAID projects during this time made important contributions to improving student access, retention, and learning. However, more attention was given to tracking the extent that clients were satisfied and system-level inputs were delivered than in assessing projects accomplishments against stated goals. Some projects were over-promised at the design stage and results were overstated in subsequent evaluations. Based on data from USAID and similar World Bank projects, the authors suggest levels of improvement in student achievement and retention that might serve as reasonable benchmarks in planning future basic education projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-280
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Academy for Educational Development under cooperative agreement no. GDG-A-00-03-00008-00 from the United States Agency for International Development and by the University of Minnesota. The authors extend special appreciation for the support and critical contributions provided by John Gillies, Audrey Schuh Moore, Patrick Collins and H. Dean Nielsen.


  • Aid effectiveness
  • Student achievement


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