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What are the effects of 'Teach For America' on Math, English Language Arts, and Science outcomes of K–12 students in the USA?
  • Authors Herbert Turner, Mackson Ncube, Annette Turner, Robert Boruch, Nneka Ibekwe
  • Published date 2018-06-25
  • Coordinating group(s) Education
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title What are the effects of 'Teach For America' on Math, English Language Arts, and Science outcomes of K–12 students in the USA?
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.7
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    There are too few well-designed studies to know the effects of Teach for America on Math, English Language Arts, and Science outcomes of K–12 students in the USA

    Teach for America (TFA) is an alternate route teacher preparation program that aims to address the decades-long shortage of effective teachers in many rural and urban public schools for kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12), that serve the highest proportions of high-poverty students across the USA. This review finds that are very few studies – just four – which reliably measure the effects of TFA on learning outcomes, so that no firm conclusions may be drawn.

    What did the review study?

    This systematic review evaluated the impact of TFA prepared teachers (corps members) relative to novice teachers and alumni relative to veteran teachers on K-12 student outcomes in Math, English Language Arts (ELA), and Science.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of Teach for America on learning outcomes. Four studies were included in the review.

    What studies are included?

    Studies had to be a quantitative evaluation of the effects of TFA on K-12 student academic outcomes. Studies also had to use a research design which: 1. allowed valid causal inferences about TFA’s effects, 2. targeted participants K–12 students taught by TFA corps members or TFA alumni in the USA, 3. compared TFA corps members to novice teachers, or compared TFA alumni with veteran teachers, and 4. reported at least one academic student outcome in Math, ELA, or Science domains.

    A total of 919 citations were retrieved on TFA, of which 24 studies were eligible for review. However, when the research design and study quality along with types of TFA corps members and non-TFA teachers compared were reviewed, the evidence base for estimating the effects of TFA on student academic outcomes was reduced to just four studies.

    What are the main results of this review?

    There is no significant effect on reading from teaching by TFA corps members in their first or second year of teaching elementary-grade students (PreK to grade 5) compared to non-TFA teachers who are also in their first or second year of teaching elementary-grade students. There is a small positive for early elementary-grade students (PreK to grade 2) in reading but not in Math.

    However, given the small evidence base these findings should be treated with caution.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    TFA is the most evaluated program of its kind. Multiple quasi-experimental and experimental studies have been conducted on its effectiveness in improving student outcomes. However, this systematic review found that only a small number of these studies that (1) met the evidence review standards and (2) compared the same type of TFA corps members and non-TFA teachers. So it is not possible to draw firm policy conclusions.

    Future research can contribute to this evidence base by designing, implementing, and reporting experiments and quasi-experiments to meet objective extant evidence standards and by comparing the same types of TFA and non-TFA teachers so that effect sizes can be included in a future systematic review and meta-analysis.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2015.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Deployment of personnel to military operations: impact on mental health and social functioning
  • Authors Martin Bøg, Trine Filges, Anne Marie Klint Jørgensen
  • Published date 2018-06-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Deployment of personnel to military operations: impact on mental health and social functioning
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.6
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Deployment to military operations negatively affects the mental health functioning of deployed military personnel

    While additional research is needed, the current evidence strongly supports the notion that deployment negatively affects mental health functioning of deployed military personnel.

    What is this review about?

    When military personnel are deployed to military operations abroad they face an increased risk of physical harm, and an increased risk of adverse shocks to their mental health.

    The primary condition under consideration is deployment to an international military operation. Deployment to a military operation is not a uniform condition; rather, it covers a range of scenarios. Military deployment is defined as performing military service in an operation at a location outside the home country for a limited time period, pursuant to orders.

    The review included studies that reported outcomes for individuals who had been deployed. This review looked at the effect of deployment on mental health outcomes. The mental health outcomes are: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), common mental disorders (depression, anxiety and somatisation disorders) and substance-related disorders.

    By identifying the major effects of deployment on mental health and quantifying these effects, the review can inform policy development on deployment and military activity as well as post-deployment support for veterans. In this way the review enables decision-makers to prioritise key areas.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of deployment on mental health. The review summarizes evidence from 185 studies. All studies used observational data to quantify the effect of deployment.

    What studies are included?

    This review includes studies that evaluate the effects of deployment on mental health. A total of 185 studies were identified. However, only 40 of these were assessed to be of sufficient methodological quality to be included in the final analysis. The studies spanned the period from 1993 to 2017 and were mostly carried out in the USA, UK and Australia. The studies all had some important methodological weaknesses. None of the included studies used experimental designs (random assignment).

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Does deployment have an effect on mental health?

    Deployment to military operations negatively affects the mental health functioning of deployed military personnel. For assessments taken more than 24 months since exposure, we consistently found adverse effects of deployment on all mental health domains (PTSD, depression, substance abuse/dependence, and common mental disorders), particularly on PTSD. For assessments taken less than 24 months (or a variable number of months since exposure) the evidence was less consistent and in many instances inconclusive.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    The odds of screening positive for PTSD and depression were consistently high in the longer term. This suggests that efforts should be increased to detect and treat mental disorders, as effects may be long-lasting.

    Overall the risk of bias in the majority of included studies was high. While it is difficult to imagine a randomised study design to understand how deployment affects mental health, other matters such as changes to personnel policy, or unanticipated shocks to the demand for military personnel, could potentially be a rich source of quasi-experimental variation.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to April 2017.

  • Spanish

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Police-initiated diversion for youth to prevent future delinquent behavior
  • Authors David B. Wilson, Iain Brennan, Ajima Olaghere
  • Published date 2018-06-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Police-initiated diversion for youth to prevent future delinquent behavior
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  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.5
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Police-led diversion of low-risk youth reduces their future contact with the justice system

    Police-led diversion of low-risk youth who come into contact with the justice system is more effective in reducing a youth’s future contact with the justice system compared to traditional processing.

    What is this review about?

    Youth misconduct and misbehavior is a normal part of adolescence and that misbehavior sometimes crosses the line from disruptive or problematic to delinquent. Nationally representative surveys of youth in the USA have indicated that minor delinquent behavior is normative, particularly for boys. The normative nature of minor delinquent behavior raises the question of how police should respond to minor delinquent behavior in a way that is corrective, but also avoids involving the youth in the criminal justice system beyond what will be effective in reducing future misbehavior.

    Police diversion schemes are a collection of strategies police can apply as an alternative to court processing of youth. Diversion as an option is popular among law enforcement officers, as it provides an option between ignoring youth engaged in minor wrongdoing and formally charging such youth with a crime. Police-led diversion has the potential to reduce reoffending by limiting the exposure of low-risk youth to potentially harmful effects of engagement with the criminal justice system.

    This review examined whether police-led diversion and traditional processing of youth have different effects on rates of official delinquency.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects police-initiated diversion programs on delinquent behavior, compared to traditional system processing. The review summarizes evidence from nineteen high-quality studies, including 13 randomized controlled trials and 6 quasi-experimental studies.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    This review includes studies that evaluated the effects of police-led diversionary practices compared to traditional processing for youth under 18 years of age. We identified a total of 14 manuscripts representing 19 evaluations. Of these 19 evaluations, 13 used randomized controlled designs (random assignment to conditions) and 6 used quasi-experimental designs (no random assignment to conditions). Many of these designs included two or more diversionary conditions compared to a common control (traditional processing) producing 31 treatment-comparison contrasts for analysis. These studies were conducted between 1973 and 2011, inclusively. Most were conducted in the USA (11) with the remaining conducted in Canada (4), Australia (2), and the UK (2).

    The general pattern of evidence is positive, suggesting that police-led diversion reduces the future delinquent behavior of low-risk youth relative to traditional processing. Assuming a 50 percent reoffending rate for the traditional processing condition, the results suggest a reoffending rate of roughly 44 percent for the diverted youth. This overall benefit of diversion holds for the random assignment studies judged to be free from any obvious risks of bias. No meaningful differences were found across types of diversionary programs. Furthermore, we found no evidence to suggest these findings suffer from publication selection bias.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    The findings from this systematic review support the use of police-led diversion for low-risk youth with limited or no prior involvement with the juvenile justice system. Thus, police departments and policy-makers should consider diversionary programs as part of the mix of solutions for addressing youth crime.

    Many of the studies included in the review were conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Newer high quality studies are needed to ensure that the findings still hold for contemporary juvenile justice contexts. Additional studies are also needed outside of the USA for this same reason. Finally, we recommend that research explore the usefulness of diversion for low-risk adult offenders.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The authors searched for studies up to January 2017.

  • Spanish

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Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
  • Authors David J. Hemming, Ephraim W. Chirwa, Andrew Dorward, Holly J. Ruffhead, Rachel Hill, Janice Osborn, Laurenz Langer, Luke Harman, Hiro Asaoka, Chris Coffey, Daniel Phillips
  • Published date 2018-05-28
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Agricultural input subsidies for improving productivity, farm income, consumer welfare and wider growth in low- and lower-middle-income countries
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  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.4
  • Records available in English, Hindi, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Agricultural input subsidies raise input use, yields and farm income

    Agricultural input subsidies raise input use, yields and farm income, but the evidence base is small and comes from a limited number of schemes and countries.

    What is this review about?

    Greater use of improved seeds and inorganic fertilisers, and increased mechanisation, could boost agricultural productivity in some low- or lower-middle-income countries, but there is disagreement about whether subsidising these inputs is an effective way to stimulate their use.

    This review examines the evidence for impacts of input subsidies on agricultural productivity, beneficiary incomes and welfare, consumer welfare and wider economic growth.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of input subsidies on agricultural productivity, beneficiary incomes and welfare, consumer welfare and wider economic growth. The review summarizes evidence from 15 experimental and quasi-experimental studies and 16 studies that use computable models, the majority concerning sub-Saharan Africa.

    What studies are included?

    This review examines studies that evaluate the impact of agricultural input subsidies, including subsidies for agricultural machinery, seeds or fertilisers, on farmers, farm households, wage labourers or food consumers in low- or lower- middle-income countries. It includes 15 experimental and quasi-experimental studies and 16 simulation modelling studies. The majority relate to sub-Saharan Africa (15 to Malawi) and to subsidised fertilizers and seeds.

    What are the main results of this review?

    Fertiliser and seed subsidies are associated with increased use of these inputs, higher agricultural yields and increased income among farm households, but evidence of their effects on poverty is limited. There is much evidence that subsidy schemes are prone to inefficiency, bias and corruption. Models show that introducing or increasing subsidies generally results in positive effects for consumers and wider economic growth. However, the models indicate that the way subsidies are funded, world input prices and beneficiary targeting all have important influences on predicted outcomes. The authors were not able to find any studies examining subsidies for machinery.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    Input subsidies can increase input use, and raise agricultural productivity with wider benefits. However, the design of subsidy schemes is crucial to their effectiveness, if they are to reach the desired farmers and stimulate input use. The effectiveness of subsidies in comparison to other interventions requires further study.

    A relatively small number of appropriate studies were found, and well-documented research in countries beyond sub-Saharan Africa is needed to ensure the wider relevance of these results. Mixed-methods, theory-based impact evaluations would help explore the impacts of different levels of subsidies for different beneficiaries. Simulation models studies could make more use of rigorous evidence from experimental and quasi-experimental studies and examine more helpful subsidy comparisons. More clarity is needed in the reporting of methodological approaches, statistical information and the type and size of input subsidy implemented or modelled.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to 2013.

  • Spanish

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  • Hindi

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Reducing unemployment benefit duration to increase job-finding rates
  • Authors Trine Filges, Anders Bruun Jonassen, Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen
  • Published date 2018-02-28
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Reducing unemployment benefit duration to increase job-finding rates
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.2
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits increases the job finding rate of the unemployed

    Reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits is one strategy used to reduce unemployment. Evidence from seven studies confirms such an effect. However, the effect is small and more studies of higher quality are needed to give more detailed findings to inform policy.

    What did the review study?

    Policymakers may wish to reduce the generosity of the unemployment benefits system in order to reduce unemployment levels. Reducing benefit levels may be politically more difficult than shortening the length of the unemployment benefit eligibility period to create work incentives for the unemployed.

    This review summarizes studies that measure the effects of shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement on job finding rates.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits on job-finding rates. Seven studies were included in the review, all of which are from European countries.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies had to examine the effect of a reduction in the maximum duration of entitlement of any kind of unemployment benefits on employment using a well-defined control group.

    Whilst 41 studies were identified, after allowing for study quality and data issues, only seven studies were included in the review. The included studies covered Austria (2 studies), France, Germany (3 studies) and Slovenia. Maximum entitlement ranged between 26 and 209 weeks. The studies analyzed reductions between 9 and 179 weeks, with an average of 43 weeks. The studies analyze data from 1,154,090 unemployment spells.

    What are the main results of this review?

    Reducing the duration of unemployment benefits increases the exit rate from unemployment.

    Data from seven studies show that the exit rate from unemployment for those with reduced duration of benefit entitlement on average is 10 per cent. This corresponds to a 52% chance that those with reduced duration will find a job before an unemployed person with the existing, longer duration (no effect corresponds to a 50% chance).

    There is not enough evidence to determine effects on the exit rate from re-employment or on the wage rate in the job found. There are insufficient high-quality studies to allow an examination of variation of effects.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    On the basis of this limited number of studies, shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement has a small effect on the job finding rate of the unemployed. Whether unemployed workers responding to a shorter potential benefit entitlement may be worse off, in the sense that they accept “lower quality” jobs, has not yet been fully investigated.

    But the review finds a surprisingly low number of studies with a sufficiently low risk of bias to be used for synthesis to determine the effect size of shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement. Many studies had to be excluded as they had a high risk of bias. This is a finding in its own right.

    There is a need for future studies to more thoroughly discuss the assumptions of the study design and justify the choice of method by considering and reporting all relevant data and tests. Future studies should also use data with all relevant information, in particular, information on whether eligible individuals actually received unemployment benefits and information on individual maximum entitlement duration.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to December 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness
  • Authors Heather Menzies Munthe-Kaas, Rigmor C Berg, Nora Blaasvær
  • Published date 2018-02-28
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.3
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Interventions to reduce homelessness and improve housing stability are effective

    There are large numbers of homeless people around the world. Interventions to address homelessness seem to be effective, though better quality evidence is required.

    What did the review study?

    There are large numbers of homeless people around the world. Efforts to combat homelessness have been made on national levels as well as at local government levels.

    This review assesses the effectiveness of interventions combining housing programmes with or without case management as a means to reduce homelessness and increase residential stability for individuals who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness and increase residential stability for individuals who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. Forty-three studies were included in the review, 37 of which are from the USA.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies were randomized controlled trials of interventions for individuals who were already, or at-risk of becoming, homeless, and which measured impact on homelessness or housing stability with follow-up of at least one year.

    A total of 43 studies were included. The majority of the studies (37) were conducted in the United States, with three from the United Kingdom and one each from Australia, Canada, and Denmark.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Included interventions perform better than the usual services at reducing homelessness or improving housing stability in all comparisons.

    These interventions are:

    • High- and low-intensity case management
    • Housing First
    • Critical time intervention
    • Abstinence-contingent housing
    • Non-abstinence-contingent housing with high-intensity case management
    • Housing vouchers
    • Residential treatment

    These interventions seem to have similar beneficial effects, so it is unclear which of these is best with respect to reducing homelessness and increasing housing stability. Evidence with moderate certainty is available for high-intensity case management and housing first compared to usual services.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    A range of housing programs and case management interventions appear to reduce homelessness and improve housing stability, compared to usual services.

    However, there is uncertainty in this finding as most the studies have risk of bias due to poor reporting, lack of blinding, or poor randomization or allocation concealment of participants. In addition to the general need for better conducted and reported studies, there are specific gaps in the research with respect to: 1) disadvantaged youth; 2) abstinence-contingent housing with case management or day treatment; 3) non-abstinence contingent housing comparing group vs independent living; 4) Housing First compared to interventions other than usual services, and; 5) studies outside of the USA.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

School-based interventions for reducing disciplinary school exclusion
  • Authors Sara Valdebenito, Manuel Eisner, David P. Farrington, Maria M. Ttofi, Alex Sutherland
  • Published date 2018-01-09
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice, Education
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title School-based interventions for reducing disciplinary school exclusion
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.1
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Interventions can reduce school exclusion but the effect is temporary

    Interventions to reduce school exclusion are intended to mitigate the adverse effects of this school sanction.
Some approaches, namely those involving enhancement of academic skills, counselling, mentoring/monitoring and those targeting skills training for teachers, have a temporary effect in reducing exclusion. More evaluations are needed to identify the most effective types of intervention; and whether similar effects are also found in different countries.

    What did the review study?

    School exclusion is associated with undesirable effects on developmental outcomes. It increases the likelihood
of poor academic performance, antisocial behavior, and poor employment prospects. This school sanction disproportionally affects males, ethnic minorities, those who come from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, and those with special educational needs.

    This review assesses the effectiveness of programmes to reduce the prevalence of exclusion.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of interventions to reduce exclusion from school. School exclusion, also known as suspension in some countries, is a disciplinary sanction imposed by a responsible school authority, in reaction to students’ misbehaviour. Exclusion entails the removal of pupils from regular teaching for a period during which they are not allowed to be present in the classroom (in-school) or on school premises (out-of-school). In some extreme cases the student is not allowed to come back to the same school (expulsion). The review summarises findings from 37 reports covering nine different types of intervention. Most studies were from the USA, and the remainder from the UK.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies evaluated school-based interventions or school-supported interventions to reduce the rates of exclusion. Interventions were implemented in mainstream schools and targeted school-aged children from four to 18, irrespective of nationality or social background. Only randomised controlled trials are included.

    The evidence base covers 37 studies. Thirty-three studies were from the USA, three from the UK, and for one study the country was not clear.

    What are the main results in this review?

    School-based interventions cause a small and significant drop in exclusion rates during the first six months after intervention (on average), but this effect is not sustained. Interventions seemed to be more effective at reducing some types of exclusion such as expulsion and in-school exclusion.

    Four intervention types - enhancement of academic skills, counselling, mentoring/ monitoring, and skills training for teachers – had significant desirable effects on exclusion. However, the number of studies in each case is low, so this result needs to be treated with caution.

    There is no impact of the interventions on antisocial behaviour.

    Variations in effect sizes are not explained by participants’ characteristics, the theoretical basis of the interventions, or the quality of the intervention. Independent evaluator teams reported lower effect sizes than research teams who were also involved in the design and/or delivery of the intervention.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    School-based interventions are effective at reducing school exclusion immediately after,
and for a few months after, the intervention (6 months on average). Four interventions presented promising and significant results in reducing exclusion, that is, enhancement of academic skills, counselling, mentoring/monitoring, skills training for teachers. However, since the number of studies for each sub-type of intervention was low, we suggest these results should be treated with caution.

    Most of the studies come from the USA. Evaluations are needed from other countries in which exclusion is common. Further research should take advantage of the possibility of conducting cluster-randomised controlled trials, whilst ensuring that the sample size is sufficiently large.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to December 2015.

  • Spanish

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The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • Authors Shannon Doocy, Hannah Tappis
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title The effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches in emergencies
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.17
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Cash-based humanitarian assistance approaches can increase food security and are more cost effective than in-kind food transfers

    Cash-based approaches have become an increasingly common strategy for the provision of humanitarian assistance. Both cash-based approaches and in-kind food assistance can be effective means of increasing household food security among conflict-affected populations and maintaining household food security among food insecure and drought-affected populations. Cash transfers are more cost effective than vouchers which are more cost effective than in-kind food assistance.

    What did the review study?

    This review assesses the effects of cash-based approaches on individual and household outcomes in humanitarian emergencies. It also assesses the efficiency of different cash-based approaches and identifies factors that hinder and facilitate programme implementation.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness, efficiency and implementation of cash transfers in humanitarian settings. The review summarises evidence from five studies of effects, 10 studies of efficiency and 108 studies of barriers and facilitators to implementation of cash-based humanitarian assistance.

    What studies are included?

    Studies assessing effectiveness of cash-based approaches were experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Studies analyzing efficiency were experimental, quasi-experimental or observational studies with a cost analysis or economic evaluation component. Studies examining barriers and facilitators included these study types as well as other qualitative and mixed methods studies.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Unconditional cash transfers and vouchers may improve household food security among conflict-affected populations and maintain household food security among food insecure and drought-affected populations. Unconditional cash transfers led to greater improvements in dietary diversity and quality than food transfers, but food transfers are more successful in increasing per capita caloric intake than unconditional cash transfers and vouchers. Unconditional cash transfers may be more effective than vouchers in increasing household savings, and equally effective in increasing household asset ownership. Mobile transfers may be a more successful asset protection mechanism than physical cash transfers.

    Cash transfers can be an efficient strategy for providing humanitarian assistance. Unconditional cash transfer programmes have a lower cost per beneficiary than vouchers which, in turn, have a lower cost per beneficiary than in-kind food distribution. Cash transfer programs can also benefit the local economy. Voucher programmes generated up to $1.50 of indirect market benefits for each $1 equivalent provided to beneficiaries and unconditional cash transfer programmes generated more than $2 of indirect market benefits for each $1 provided to beneficiaries.

    Intervention design and implementation play a greater role in determining effectiveness and efficiency of cash-based approaches than the emergency context or humanitarian sector.

    Factors which influence implementation include resources available and technical capacity of implementing agencies, resilience of crisis-affected populations, beneficiary selection methods, use of new technologies, and setting-specific security issues, none of which are necessarily unique to cash-based interventions.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Unconditional cash transfers and vouchers can be effective and efficient ways to provide humanitarian assistance.

    Each assistance modality has different advantages and disadvantages that should be considered in the design of future interventions. However, no definitive conclusions on the effectiveness of cash transfer or voucher programmes could be drawn that are universally applicable for humanitarian policy.

    Development of the evidence base, with more rigorous evaluations comparing the effectiveness of different cash-based approaches and transfer modalities, as well as approaches to comparing costs and benefits of cash-transfer and voucher programmes, is needed to further strengthen the evidence base.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to November 2014.

  • Spanish

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Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Authors Marjorie Chinen, Thomas de Hoop, Lorena Alcázar, María Balarin, Josh Sennett
  • Published date 2017-12-21
  • Coordinating group(s) International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.16
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Vocational and business training benefit women on the labour market, but the effects of most programmes are small

    Vocational training has small positive effects on employment, formal employment, and earnings. Business training combined with other programme components has positive effects on self-employment, and sales or profits. These relatively small effects may be insufficient to justify scaling up vocational or business training programmes. Design variations to increase impact need to be tested.

    What did the review study?

    Women around the world often perform jobs with minimal skill requirements, and encounter few opportunities for learning and advancement. Governments and development agencies try to improve women’s skills through vocational and business training programmes.

    This review summarises evidence on the impacts of such programmes, and on the barriers to and facilitators of vocational and business training effectiveness.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of vocational and business training targeted at women in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarises evidence from thirty-five quantitative studies with an experimental or quasi-experimental design. The review summarises the impact of 30 interventions, containing data from over 80,000 women. The qualitative narrative meta-synthesis includes findings from 50 studies.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies are experimental and quasi-experimental evaluations which measured the impact of vocational and business training programmes targeting women 18 years or older, in low- and middle-income countries. The review also includes qualitative and mixed-methods studies that explore barriers to, and facilitators of, vocational and business training effectiveness.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Vocational training has small positive effects: employment and formal employment increased by 11% and 8%, respectively, and income by 6%. There is some variability in the findings.

    Effects are larger in programmes with a gender focus. Effects on earnings, but not employment, are larger in programmes that include life skills training or an internship. Employment effects are larger in Africa and Asia. Effects are stronger six months after the start of the programme than twelve months after the start of the programme.

    Vocational training programmes were commonly outsourced without establishing adequate quality control procedures or monitoring mechanisms that may undermine effectiveness.

    Business training combined with cash transfers or life skills training increases the likelihood of self-employment by 73%, and sales or profits by 7%. Business training with cash transfers did not have different effects from business training without cash transfers.

    Effects on sales are larger in sub-Saharan Africa (15%). This larger effect may be caused by the stronger gender focus of those programmes. The positive effects on sales and profits appear driven by the inclusion of mentoring and technical assistance components that enhance business knowledge and practices.

    Structural barriers, such as distance and cost of transportation, time constraints for participation, and economic and labour market barriers, limit programme effectiveness. Gender norms such as occupational segregation and the unequal division of domestic and care responsibilities, as well as the cost and availability of childcare facilities also discourage women’s participation in vocational and business training.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Vocational training had small positive effects on employment, formal employment, and earnings. Business training combined with other programme components had positive effects on self-employment, as well as small positive effects on sales or profits. Yet these relatively small effects may be insufficient to justify scaling up vocational or business training programmes.

    Effects of vocational training programmes may be increased by the inclusion of a stronger gender focus, life skills training, or an internship. However, the current evidence is not sufficient to make strong claims of the effectiveness of such an approach. These mechanisms should be tested further with rigorous mixed-methods studies with multiple treatment arms.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to September 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Later school start times for supporting the education, health and well-being of high school students
  • Authors Robert Marx, Emily E Tanner-Smith, Colleen M Davison, Lee-Anne Ufholz, John Freeman, Ravi Shankar, Lisa Newton, Robert S Brown, Alyssa S Parpia, Ioana Cozma, Shawn Hendrikx
  • Published date 2017-12-19
  • Coordinating group(s) Education
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Later school start times for supporting the education, health and well-being of high school students
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.15
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Later school start times may produce benefits for students but more evidence is needed

    Later school start times may have beneficial effects for student mental health and academic performance. There appear to be some positive effects from later start times, but the evidence base is too weak to have confidence in the findings. Additional research is needed.

    What did the review study?

    Later school start times have been implemented around the world as a means of avoiding the potentially negative impacts that early morning schedules can have on adolescent students. Even mild sleep deprivation has been associated with significant health and educational concerns: increased risk for accidents and injuries, impaired learning, aggression, memory loss, poor self-esteem, and changes in metabolism. This review examines the effects of later start times on these outcomes.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of later school start times on student academic performance, mental health and family and community outcomes. The review summarises findings from 17 reports of 11 interventions in six countries.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies were randomized controlled trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series studies with data for students aged 13 to 19 years and that compared different school start times. Studies had to report either primary outcomes of interest (academic outcomes, amount or quality of sleep, mental health indicators, attendance, or alertness) or secondary outcomes (health behaviors, health and safety indicators, social outcomes, family outcomes, school outcomes, or community outcomes) were eligible.

    The evidence base covers 17 studies reporting on 11 unique interventions with 297,994 participants. Six studies took place in the USA, and one study each was in Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Israel, and New Zealand.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Later school start times appear to increase sleeping time. Some of the studies suggest there may be a positive association between later school start times and academic and psychosocial outcomes. The evidence on absenteeism and student alertness is mixed. However, the quality of the evidence and comparability of studies is low.

    Adverse effects may be reduced interaction with parents, and staffing and scheduling difficulties. There is insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions concerning these possible adverse effects.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    This systematic review on later school start times suggests several potential benefits for this intervention and points to the need for higher quality primary studies. However, because of the limited evidence base, we could not determine the effects of later school start times with any confidence.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to February 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

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