Instructional Strategies for Mathematics in the Early Grades

This document is intended for program and curriculum experts interested in implementing evidence-based early grade mathematics programs. It was developed by the authors of this document, who are mathematics teaching and learning experts with extensive experience adapting evidence-based practices in low and middle-income contexts. Our collective field and research experience, combined with the existing evidence base, led us to focus on four instructional strategies that are key to effective mathematics instruction: 1. Respecting developmental progressions 2. Using mathematical models to represent abstract notions 3. Encouraging children to explain and justify their thinking 4. Making explicit connections for children between formal and informal math While these four instructional strategies are very important, they are not the only instructional strategies that can result in improved learning outcomes. Effective early grade mathematics teachers draw from an extensive repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies and strive to create a learning environment the supports that development of positive mathematical identities.

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.

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