Tailoring Instruction to Improve Mathematics Skills in Preschools: A Randomized Evaluation
Francisco Gallego; Emma Näslund-Hadley; Mariana Alfonso
Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 487, 2017.
Abstract: Previous research suggests that tailoring instruction to each student needs can produce significant learning gains. However, few programs have successfully implemented this approach in practice. In this paper, we present the results of a randomized evaluation of a program that uses an individualized scaffolding approach during regular school hours to teach the basic elements of numbers and shapes to preschoolers using a sample of 107 preschool centers and almost 3,000 children in Peru. The program improves Math outcomes among all children (by 0.10 standard deviations) and has stronger impacts for students in the lower quintiles of the distribution of outcomes and for students with teachers with university degrees. The effect in the areas that were implemented in a more intense way persists even one year after the program ended. Interestingly, we find no evidence of effects that are different across gender, language-spoken at home, and proxies for SES, contrasting with results from previous research that suggest that effects of Math programs are biased along gender and socioeconomic lines.
Keywords: Education, Mathematics, Early Childhood Development, RCT, Scaffolding.
JEL: I21, I28, O15.