Multi-Country Study on Inclusive Education (MCSIE) Study Overview

OVERVIEW: USAID is partnering with Inclusive Development Partners (IDP) through the Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER) mechanism led by Purdue University to conduct a three-year, $3.585 million evaluation of three new USAID inclusive education activities in Cambodia, Malawi, and Nepal. The evaluation, called the multi-country study on inclusive education (MCSIE), is the first major effort by USAID to investigate what works to improve the quality of education for learners with disabilities. The activities in Cambodia, Malawi, and Nepal represent USAID’s most concerted effort to date to build systems to ensure students with disabilities have access to quality education. IDP will leverage this unique opportunity to derive lessons about what works to sustainably advance teaching and learning outcomes for children with disabilities in varying contexts. USAID and its partners will use this information to inform adaptations to its activities in Cambodia, Malawi, and Nepal but also to plan for new inclusive education programming globally. To further advance the global evidence base, IDP will also produce targeted policy briefs and how-to-guides following the evaluation and will share these and the evaluation results via USAID’s Office of Education website—Education Links—and at global conferences, through journal publications, and through other means. 
EVALUATION QUESTIONS: 1. What worked well/poorly in the process of setting up an efficient, effective, and sustainable system to focus on improving the quality of education for learners with disabilities? 2. What methods worked best to identify learners with disabilities? 3. What training model(s) worked best to provide teachers with the resources and support they need to best meet the needs of learners with disabilities? 4. What instructional models worked best to improve classroom instruction and reading outcomes among learners with disabilities? 5. Were there any unintended consequences of the activity? What were they? 
The project will also examine the following sub-questions across all five questions: how does the method/model work, why does it work, how costly is it, in which contexts is it likely to work best, and how sustainable (both in terms of capacity and financial resources) is it? 
OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES: The objective of each of the three country activities is virtually the same: to improve early grade reading and learning outcomes of learners with disabilities in early primary grades. All three programs include similar types of activities, including early screening, identification (and in some cases referral for health services), teacher training on inclusive education, development and adaptation of teaching and learning materials, and performance-based assessment. However, the approaches and specific interventions of the activities vary. EVALUATION DESIGN AND METHODS: IDP will use a process evaluation design to develop country case studies of the inclusive education system in each country and to show how various interventions affect the systems. Additionally, this evaluation design will explore differences in the quality of classroom instruction and learning outcomes between baseline and endline, and also explore any changes in the perceptions of parents and guardians, teachers, and other key stakeholders about the extent to which the needs of learners with disabilities are being met by the system. IDP will leverage secondary data collected by implementing partners through early grade reading assessments (EGRAs); classroom observations; and knowledge, attitude, perception, and behavior surveys (KAPB) in addition to collecting primary data through additional classroom observations, household surveys amongst families of learners with disabilities, teacher training observations, pre-and post-training tests of teacher knowledge, and key informant interviews and focus group discussions.