The Effects of School-Based Decision Making on Educational Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Contexts: A Systematic Review
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This review aims to answer the following overarching review question: What is the evidence around how decentralising decision-making to the school level affects educational outcomes in low and middle income contexts (LMICs)? This broad question has been broken down into two discrete sub-questions: (1) What is the impact of school-based decision-making on educational outcomes in LMICs? (2) Under what conditions and circumstances does school-based decision-making have a positive (or negative) impact on educational outcomes? The primary objective of the study, therefore, is to gather, assess and synthesise the existing evidence around how the decentralisation of decision-making to schools affects a broad range of educational outcomes in LMICs (question 1 above). This objective will be accomplished by examining the results of experimental and/or quasi-experimental studies that consider the impact of at least one model of school-based decision-making on any of the proximal or final outcomes depicted in the conceptual framework above. We also aim to draw conclusions about why particular models of school-based management work in some low-income country contexts (and not in others), in order to make determinations about the particular characteristics and contextual factors which lead to positive (or negative) impact (question 2 above). This objective will be accomplished by examining evidence collected through a broader range of studies, including but not limited to that obtained from the included studies referenced in response to question 1. In addition to examining the overall (positive and negative) effects of decentralisation processes on the outcomes of interest, we aim to examine how changes in decision-making processes might impact differentially on diverse groups within societies. We are particularly concerned with groups which have historically experienced poor service delivery and/or demonstrated poor educational outcomes (for example, marginalised or low-performing students).