Slow Down, You're Going Too Fast: Matching Curricula to Student Skill Levels

Publisher: International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 40
Jan 30, 2015
Lant Pritchett and Amanda Beatty

Learning profiles show changes in student skills per year of schooling. Profiles are often shockingly shallow in developing countries in part because curricula move faster than the pace of learning. To demonstrate the consequences of curriculum mismatch, we construct a model that portrays learning as the result of synchronizing student skill and instructional levels. Our simulation shows that countries with identical potential learning could have divergent learning outcomes due to a gap between curricular and actual pace, and the country that goes faster has much lower cumulative learning. Paradoxically, there is greater learning potential if curricula and teachers slow down.