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Our behavioural solutions team lifts school attendance by 14%

As part of the Genesis in Society initiative, we partnered with the Fun Learning for Youth (FLY) programme in Alexandra to help them improve attendance and attainment rates.

The FLY programme

FLY is a programme that aims to move high school learners (from grade 8 to grade 12) out of poverty through improving their mathematics and life skills by providing extracurricular lessons and mentorship. The programme provides an environment for high school students that is conducive to learning and provides learners with a safe space in which they are able to think and grasp complex concepts.

Our intervention

However, FLY was experiencing low and inconsistent attendance and poor performance by students. With this in mind, the ABE team applied insights from behavioural economics to increase student attendance and - ultimately - educational attainment.

We implemented two interventions:

  • A values affirmation exercise provided to students during the first week of lessons, and
  • Behaviourally informed SMSes to parents (before a session, after a session and a mid-week reminder)

Our results

We tested our interventions through an A/B test that was run over a five-week period. Seventy-three students were allocated to the test group, and 74 students to the control group. The test group completed the values affirmation exercise and their parents received three behaviourally informed SMS messages each week. The control group completed a written exercise that was not behaviourally informed and their parents did not receive any behaviourally informed SMSes.

The interventions resulted in a 14% increase in student attendance across all grades over the five-week period. The student attainment results were inconclusive as a result of data constraints.

Given the success of the interventions, the Genesis team recommended that the interventions be rolled out to the entire programme. These low-cost, easy-to-implement interventions can also be applied across different contexts and the ABE team continues to look for different ways to apply them to unlock value.

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