The article reviews three evaluations of interventions in education. All the programmes have been implemented recently in the Italian schools and were aimed to improve student maths achievement. The three programmes differ regarding their logic framework and contents, but have been evaluated adopting counterfactual methods. The authors focus on this point, showing that it is possible to implement counterfactual evaluations in the Italian education system. More precisely, it is argued that randomized control trials are viable. Nonetheless, it is also shown that rigorous estimates could also be gained using other methods, taking advantage of pre-existing administrative data. The three evaluation experiences are used here to stress pros and cons of counterfactual evaluation and to provide advice for its improvement in Italy.
Keywords: Math achievement, counterfactual evaluation, randomized control trial, chess, teacher professional development, educational policies
Giovanni Abbiati, Gianluca Argentin, Andrea Capurto, Aline Pennisi, Barbara Romano, Daniele Vidoni, in "RIV Rassegna Italiana di Valutazione" 55/2013, pp. 21-46, DOI:10.3280/RIV2013-055003