Gender patterns in mathematics achievement in the early years: Results from Tayari Kenya [CIES 2019 Presentation]

Dr. Benjamin Piper and Dr. Yasmin Sitabkhan presented findings at CIES 2019 on gender and math in the preschool years from the Kenya Tayari program.

ACR-Asia Early Childhood Landscape Report [CIES 2019 Presentation]

CIES presentation of Early Childhood Education landscape report for the Asia region under All Children Reading - Asia.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming Overview

The purpose of this brief is to answer the question: What are the considerations for effective ECE programming in the Asia region? To answer, we focus on the quality and sustainability, including governance and financing, of ECE. The four subject briefs provide evidence and present considerations for the following topics: ECE assessments, including measures of child learning and assessments of the quality of learning environments; Approaches to quality teaching and learning, focusing on emergent literacy and early mathematics, with consideration given to the language of instruction; Ensuring early childhood educator quality; and Sustainability of ECE.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Early Learning Assessment

Assessment of learning and the quality of early learning environments is an important component of early childhood education. This brief outlines the existing early learning assessments of children and environments used in the Asia region, excluding diagnostic and screening assessments.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Approaches to Teaching and Learning

The quality of instruction in the classroom is key to children's learning and development. This brief looks at the dimensions of guided play, emergent literacy, emergent mathematics, and language of instruction on the quality of instruction.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Educator Quality

Training opportunities and appropriate teacher curriculum are often insufficient, and effective regulatory frameworks for preparing, staffing, and monitoring ECE teachers are often lacking. This brief presents selected country-by-country findings on policy relating to ECE teacher quality in six countries in Asia.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Sustainability

Governance and financing of early childhood education (ECE) are complex, involving multiple actors, levels, objectives, and approaches, from general expansion of education access to targeted coverage of the most underserved. Coordination of actors and local community engagement in ECE are important dimensions in the governance and sustainability of ECE, above and beyond specific financing sources and arrangements. More than policies or systems alone, the quality and nature of governance is directly linked to a program’s chances for sustainability.

Early Childhood Education: Considerations for Programming in Asia

This report examines available evidence from the Asia region on the current state of ECE interventions, focusing on the 10 countries in the region3 that currently benefit from US Agency for International Development (USAID) education programming. In Asia, many national governments have prioritized the expansion of access and quality improvements of pre-primary education (Sun, Rao, & Pearson, 2015). USAID will support those efforts as part of a coherent approach to improved learning outcomes in primary school.

Mathematics from the Beginning: Evaluating the Tayari Preprimary Program’s Impact on Early Mathematics Skills

Given the dearth of research on early numeracy interventions in low- and middle-income countries, this paper presents the instructional methodology and impact results of the Tayari program. Tayari is a preprimary intervention in Kenya (2014–2019) that prepares children aged four and five for entry into primary school by providing materials for students, training for teachers, and continuous in-classroom support. The Tayari methodology was built on the Kenyan government’s preprimary syllabus to produce instruction that was developmentally sequenced, linked to out-of-school experiences, and supportive of children’s number sense. Tayari was evaluated using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and collection of longitudinal data from 2,957 children in treatment and control schools at three time points. Pupil assessment items were drawn from a growing body of research on preprimary numeracy in developing contexts, plus instruments and techniques from the Measuring Early Learning and Quality Outcomes (MELQO) program (UNESCO, UNICEF, Brookings Institution, & World Bank Group, 2017). The impact evaluation of the longitudinal RCT results showed statistically significant effects in the numeracy tasks of producing sets, identifying numbers, and naming shapes, while revealing no initial effects in the areas of oral and mental addition. We present recommendations for Tayari’s improvement in terms of mathematics instruction, as well as preprimary policy implications for Kenya and similar contexts.

Capturing Children’s Mathematical Knowledge: An Assessment Framework.

This paper explores an innovative assessment framework for measuring children’s formal and informal mathematical knowledge. Many existing standardized measures, such as the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment, measure children’s performance in early primary grade skills that have been identified by researchers and policy makers as foundational and predictive of later academic achievement (Platas, Ketterlin-Geller, & Sitabkhan, 2016; RTI International, 2014). However, these standardized assessments only provide information on children’s mathematical ability as it pertains to skills and concepts that are a focus of school instruction, referred to as formal mathematics. While valuable, they leave unmeasured the mathematics that children use and develop as part of their everyday life, such as the strategies they use to solve simple arithmetical problems that arise as they move through their day (Khan, 1999; Saxe, 1991; Taylor, 2009). In this article, we draw from mixed methods studies which focus on capturing the informal mathematical skills that children develop outside of school in various contexts (Guberman, 1996; Nasir, 2000; Sitabkhan, 2009; Sitabkhan, 2015). We describe how the use of observations of children’s mathematical activities in natural settings and in subsequent cognitive interviews using mathematical tasks derived from those observations, can illuminate mathematical knowledge and skills that may otherwise remain hidden. We found that an assessment framework that focuses on both standardized measures of formal mathematical learning and contextualized measures of children’s everyday mathematics can provide a more complete and nuanced picture of children’s knowledge, and taken together can inform the development of curricular materials and teacher training focused on early learning.

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