The promise of universal primary education in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) promoted greater access to education in lower- and middle-income countries. However, this growth required greater attention to be paid to the quality of that education, as the effect of such strategies as massive recruitment of untrained and less-educated teachers to meet vastly expanded demand were leading to poorer learning and teaching outcomes. Hence governments, NGOs and donors have sought in recent years to intervene, through means such as in-service education, subject-specific training and curriculum reform programmes, to improve the performance of these teachers.
This review identifies what has been effective in these different settings and draws lessons as to ‘what works’ for more general application. It looks specifically at the strategies that have been used to improve performance in the classroom in this context, examines the evidence base for the success or failure of such strategies, and identifies the factors that have been found to be contributing to these outcomes.