Dr. Erin Murphy-Graham

University of California, Berkeley

Improving the quality of secondary education: Insights from the SAT Program

Breaking Barriers with the SAT Program: The Power of Teacher Training and Support

My research focuses on empowering youth and adults and exploring how education can lead to individual, policy, and social change. My work is based on the Capabilities Approach, which is a theoretical framework about well-being and freedom to achieve well-being.

I began my work in this area over twenty years ago when I was a Masters’ student in Comparative and International Education at Oxford University. In 1999, I was part of an evaluation team that visited the Honduran SAT program, which was being piloted on the Mosquito Coast. I have since cultivated a strong research partnership in Honduras and have written and spoken about the program’s efficacy and practices. As a result, SAT is now well-known in the field of international development education and has been featured by prominent initiatives that aim to improve education for youth globally.

I have received several grants for research in this area, including support from the Hewlett Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council. I have conducted both quantitative and qualitative research on the SAT program, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in boosting learning outcomes relative to traditional Honduran secondary schools. The research also highlights the importance of teacher recruitment and retention, teacher training, and ongoing professional support and accountability. As part of these funded projects, Rebecca Shareff, Ph.D., conducted the study, “Conceptualizing culturally sustaining science pedagogy in rural developing contexts: An immersive field study of teaching and training in the Honduran SAT program.”

I have also conducted follow-up research on the youth who were a part of the SAT program and have explored the factors associated with school discontinuation, including household income, social norms, and the lack of opportunities to convert education into a valuable function. 

Most recently, our research team received funding to modify the Teacher Instructional Practices & Processes System (TIPPS) to the Honduran context. In that project, I collaborate with a team based at New York University led by Dr. Edward Seidman.  

SAT in the media

My interview about the SAT program. Listen here.


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