D3 and Sesame Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street, designed and executed a quasi-experimental impact evaluation to determine the effect of listening to Sesame Street’s third season of its Afghan radio broadcasts on young children’s learning. “Bagch-e-Simsim,” as the program is known in Afghanistan, has developed specialized educational content for the Afghan context that is highly regarded among Afghan children. Given that there is limited evidence on the general effectiveness of radio-based education programs, the evaluation generated robust data to assess the impact of Sesame Street’s educational radio broadcasts on literacy, numeracy, and socio-emotional skills.
The evaluation employed an inverse propensity treatment weight (IPTW) methodology from a random sample of approximately 2,800 households in Balkh, Badakhshan, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, and Nangarhar provinces at the end of Season 3 in April 2015. Within each household, one child between ages 3-7 was selected to participate in a brief learning assessment and the child’s primary caregiver was administered a survey about the household’s access to TV, radio, and educational attainment to use as control variables.
Findings demonstrate that children who frequently listen to “Sesame Street” radio broadcasts are more likely to show significant improvement in their literacy and numeracy skills. There was no significant impact on socio-emotional skills. The evaluation found very few differences between boys and girls, but sizeable differences between children from urban and rural districts. As expected, urban children performed better on the learning assessment.
D3 presented these findings in a joint panel with June Lee and Lacy Davis of Sesame Workshop at the 2016 Comparative and International Educational Society Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in March 2016. In addition, data from D3’s growing portfolio of education evaluations were featured in other presentations at the conference. For more information about D3’s evaluation capabilities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo above from: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/what-we-do/our-initiatives/afghanistan/