Tikichuela Early Mathematics

Last registered on May 03, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Tikichuela Early Mathematics
Initial registration date
May 01, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 03, 2018, 11:50 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Maryland

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Research indicates that children need to develop math skills in preschool and the first years of their primary education to build a foundation for future mathematics learning. This project is a randomized control trial of mathematics in pre-school and the first years of primary education implemented in Cordillera, Paraguay. In a context of significant gaps in teacher preparation and pedagogy, the program uses interactive audio segments that cover the entire math curriculum for the respective grade. Since Paraguayan classrooms tend to be bilingual, the audio and written materials use a combination of Spanish and Guarani. Based on an experimental evaluation since the program's implementation, we document positive and significant improvements in children's mathematics scores. The program helped narrow learning gaps between low- and high-performing students, and between students with trained teachers and those whose teachers lack formal training in early childhood education. Moreover, the program improved learning equally among both Guarani and Spanish-speaking students.

Registration Citation

Naslund-Hadley, Emma and Susan Parker. 2018. "Tikichuela Early Mathematics." AEA RCT Registry. May 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2947-1.0
Former Citation
Naslund-Hadley, Emma and Susan Parker. 2018. "Tikichuela Early Mathematics." AEA RCT Registry. May 03. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2947/history/29060
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Experimental Details


Tikichuela Mathematics implements a inquiry and problem-based (IPB) pedagogical mathematics approach in early grade classrooms. Teachers receive professional development combined with audio lessons to help them implement the IPB approach. Beyond fostering math skills in general, the Tikichuela project was designed to close gaps in learning between students in urban and rural areas, central and peripheral schools within school networks, and multi- and single-grade classrooms. The interactive program was designed to include audio lesson that cover the entire preschool math curriculum. Since Paraguayan classrooms tend to be bilingual, mixing Spanish and Guaraní, the audio programs and written materials are produced using a combination of these languages. Key concepts are repeated in both Spanish and Guaraní. Teachers receive training and in-class tutoring in the IPB interactive audio methodology.In the pilot, the audio lessons were implemented four days a week, with one day set aside to review what had been learned during the week. This extra day gave teachers flexibility to review topics that, according to their observation, the children needed more practice or assistance in addressing. The average duration of each class was 60 minutes, divided into three phases: (a) preparation of the classroom and materials, (b) playing the audio lesson for 30–40 minutes, and (c) additional activities for 15–20 minutes.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
To measure the effects, three data collection instruments were used. First, we applied baseline and endline math learning tests at the beginning and the end of the school year. The tests were adapted from the Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA) developed by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). To make it possible to assess spillover effects, the tests also included three questions from RTI’s Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). The endline test was equivalent to the baseline test, but the level of difficulty was raised to the level expected of a preschool child at the end of the school year.Interviewers administered the tests individually to each preschool child in Spanish or Guaraní, depending on the predominant language of each student. The tests consisted of 14 tasks that took less than 15 minutes to apply to each student. The tests were validated in four schools in the country’s central region that were not part of the sample. Second, we surveyed principals, teachers, parents, and students to collect socio demographic data on the schools and the students’ families. Third, we conducted a qualitative evaluation to help us interpret the quantitative findings.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Preschool version of the Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Preschool version of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
To be able to estimate whether the project produced the desired effects of raising overall pre-numeracy skills and closing learning gaps, we needed to estimate what would have happened in the absence of the Tikichuela project. To do this, we conducted an experiment in which preschools were randomly assigned to either a treatment or a control group. These types of randomized control trials (RCTs) have been used to evaluate the effects of various education inputs, such as textbooks and computers (Barrera-Osorio & Linden, 2009; Malamud & Pop-Eleches, 2011; Cristia, Cueto, Ibarraran, Severin, & Santiago, 2012), scholarships (Glewwe, Hanushek, Humpage, & Ravina, 2011), and tutoring (Banerjee, Cole, Duflo, & Linden, 2007).

The randomized design covered 265 school districts in the department of Cordillera, or approximately 4,500 preschool students and 400 teachers. One hundred and thirty-one schools were randomly selected to receive the treatment, while the remaining 134 schools were designated as the control group. The sample was stratified based on school location (urban-rural), school resources (high-low resources), number of children enrolled, and existence of split sessions schedule (one-two sessions).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office with a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
265 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
131 treatment schools and 134 control schools
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE 0.10; P value 0.04; Schools: 325; average number of observations per school: 19

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Pequenos Matematicos - Big Math Paraguay
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
241.11May-007 (reopened for new round)
IRB Name
Pequenos Matematicos - Big Math Paraguay
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials