Insights from Positive Deviance, Behavioral Science, Implementation Research, and Scaling Science


The pandemic has deepened a learning crisis and jeopardized global goals. And yet, even in the most difficult educational contexts, some schools perform better than others located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources. Why do these exceptional schools, known as “positive deviant” schools, achieve better results in learning, retention, equity and gender equality?

Data Must Speak (DMS) – a global initiative implemented since 2014 – aims to fill evidence gaps to alleviate the learning crisis using existing data. The research component of DMS is co-created with Ministries of Education. It uses mixed methods to generate knowledge, as well as practical lessons on “what works”, “why” and “how” to scale up basic solutions for national policymakers and the international community. wider education stakeholders.

The research uses innovative and complementary approaches from positive deviance, behavioral science, implementation research, and scaling science to identify and scale up “positive deviant” school behaviors and practices. “. This methodological review presents key definitions, concepts and methodologies of these approaches to guide and inform the development and implementation of DMS research at the country level. Drawing on existing examples from educational research and other fields, this review also offers best practices and lessons learned from these approaches that can be used as a common reference and standard language for future application. .

Read the report