Every Child Counts! An “at-scale” test of an early mathematics curriculum
Last registered on April 16, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Every Child Counts! An “at-scale” test of an early mathematics curriculum
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003143
Initial registration date
July 20, 2018
Last updated
April 16, 2019 6:49 AM EDT
Location(s)

This section is unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
MIT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-07-23
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The performance of primary schools in developing countries is weak, especially for the poor. This can be partly attributed to initial differences, which are later magnified by the school system (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011). The massive expansion in school attendance in developing countries has not been matched by increases in school achievement for the poor. In India, 26% of children in grade five can perform simple division and 52% cannot read a grade-two level paragraph (ASER: Pratham, 2016). Because poor children have especially weak preparation for school but strong non-symbolic numerical and geometrical abilities (Spelke, 2011), preschool is a promising time to intervene, with little established curricula. Yet, there is little evidence on effective school-readiness curricula for poor children. Another window of opportunity is the early grades of primary school where laboratory experiments show synergistic effects between school math learning and activities that exercise early numerical abilities (Hyde et al., 2014). There is tremendous interest in the government of India to engage with that level.

In 2013, we developed and evaluated (with a RCT run in over 200 preschools in the slums of New Delhi) game-based preschool curriculum designed to enhance children's core numerical and geometric abilities (Does non-symbolic math practice in young children improve symbolic mathematics ability later in life? COUHES 1212005420) The short run impact of the curriculum was extremely encouraging: A summary measure of mathematical ability increased by 0.23 standard deviations. Therefore, we see that it is possible to significantly enhance preschool non-symbolic math skills in realistic field conditions through games inspired by research in psychology. We also detected improvements in spatial and numerical language. In contrast, children showed no gains in symbolic arithmetic abilities in the short run, perhaps because their formal education had not yet begun.

Further, in 2015, we modified this curriculum, linking the non-symbolic games to the symbol systems of elementary school mathematics (Every child counts! Towards a scalable curriculum for early mathematics, COUHES 1503006959). The preliminary results indicate the children exposed to this curriculum exhibit large gains across both symbolic and non-symbolic domains. This suggests that scaling up games that combines intuitive and formal mathematics could have durable impacts on the learning of mathematics in India and other resource-poor settings.The objective of the current project is to scale up the project in government schools in KG and grade 1. Many state governments in India are establishing formal Kindergarten classes in their schools, without any set curriculum. Meanwhile, there is increasing recognition in India that the core concepts of numeracy need to be introduced in a more effective way in first grade. We have piloted new games adapted to this setting, and found gains even larger than in the previous RCT. In the current project, we will introduce the games in 70 kindergarten and 70 first grades classes, randomly selected out of 140, and evaluate their effects, with the final aim to scale them up if successful.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Duflo, Esther and Elizabeth Spelke. 2019. "Every Child Counts! An “at-scale” test of an early mathematics curriculum ." AEA RCT Registry. April 16. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3143/history/44987
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2018-09-01
Intervention End Date
2019-03-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Can we harness children’s innate capacities at the foundations of mathematics to give preschool children the skills and confidence to succeed in school? Can we extend our curriculum to enhance children's math learning in primary school? Can we make our interventions “robust” enough to be implemented at scale in pre-schools and in the early grades of primary education?
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Designing and evaluating a modified curriculum, linking the non-symbolic games to the symbol systems of elementary school mathematics. A new RCT would test its effectiveness against both the government's standard preschool and Grade 1 curriculum. This curriculum will be delivered by teachers recruited by the Directorate of Education, Delhi.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done through Stata Code
Randomization Unit
Cluster based on the district the school belongs to, number of sections at grade level, school working hours and school gender restrictions.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
A total of 143 schools will form a part of our study.
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Out of these 143 schools, 70 schools will be randomly selected as treatment schools. The remaining schools will form the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2018-06-25
IRB Approval Number
1805377780
Analysis Plan

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information