Modeling the effects of health status and the educational infrastructure on the cognitive development of Tanzanian schoolchildren



This paper models the proximate determinants of school attendance and scores on cognitive and educational achievement tests and on school examinations of over 600 schoolchildren from the Control group of a randomized trial in Tanzania, where children in the Intervention group heavily infected with hookworm and schistosomiasis received treatment. The modeling approach used a random effects framework and incorporated the inter-relationships between school attendance and performance on various tests, controlling for children's health status, socioeconomic variables, grade level, and the educational infrastructure. The empirical results showed the importance of variables such as children's height and hemoglobin concentration for the scores, especially on educational achievement tests that are easy to implement in developing countries. Also, teacher experience and work assignments were significant predictors of the scores on educational achievement tests, and there was some evidence of multiplicative effects of children's heights and work assignments on the test scores. Lastly, some comparisons were made for changes in test scores of treated children in the Intervention group with the untreated children in the Control group. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 17:280–292, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.