Improving numeracy instruction for young children in Peru

Last registered on October 09, 2014


Trial Information

General Information

Improving numeracy instruction for young children in Peru
Initial registration date
October 07, 2014

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
October 07, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

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

Last updated
October 09, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and J-PAL

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In recent years, the Peruvian education system has vastly improved its coverage, reaching populations that previously had no access. Unfortunately this increase in coverage has not resulted in the same improvement in educational quality, and mathematics are an area where Peruvian students are particularly lacking. Nation wide tests show every year that only 13.2% of 7 years-old have achieved the expected level for their age in mathematics abilities. Geographic disparities in this regard are important, since in rural areas this percentage only reaches 3,7%. Previous research has shown that interventions at a very early age can have the greatest impact on learning but also on long-term indicators of income and well-being.

The program evaluated is a hands-on mathematics learning method for 5 year-old students in kindergarten, mainly based on the discovery of mathematical concepts through games, group or pair activities.

The program has been implemented in 2012 in two of the poorer Peruvian region, Ayacucho y Huancavelica. The evaluation process was a clustered randomization, at the school level. Schools were affected to either treatment or control groups within geographical strata corresponding to the administrative unit they belonged to and their location (rural or urban). It has been evaluated using RCTs methods estimating the impact of the program in short and medium term. A first impact evaluation, an end line study, has been developed at the end of the kindergarten school year right after children received the program and a follow-up analysis has been developed a year later at the end of first grade school year.

To assess the effect of the mathematical program, we developed a math test to measure children abilities in math and a written and oral communication test to measure possible spillover effects.

The evaluation shows encouraging results in short run as children in treatment group performed better with respect children in control group. In medium term no statistically significant results has been found.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gallego, Francisco and Francisco Gallego. 2014. "Improving numeracy instruction for young children in Peru." AEA RCT Registry. October 09.
Former Citation
Gallego, Francisco and Francisco Gallego. 2014. "Improving numeracy instruction for young children in Peru." AEA RCT Registry. October 09.
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Experimental Details


The program is designed to be taught in sessions of 45 minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times a week. Sets of materials (an individual box per student containing games and learning materials) was handed out to all schools receiving the treatment, and teachers were trained on how to organize the teaching sessions and direct the activities (during 1.5 days of training at the start of the program). Discussion groups of teachers were organized during the year (4 in total) to discuss pedagogical methods and the implementation of the program. In addition, parents' meeting were organized during the year to discuss about program's workplan, activities, and incentivizing parents to ask sons about their daily school experience.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome of interest is standardize math's test score.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Theory of change: 1) Need: children attending kindergarten does not have sufficient preparation to be enrolled in primary school, mostly in mathematics; 2) Input: the implementer develop an experimental math's program with new pedagogical model, educational material, training and teacherĀ“s accompaniment, and parents' involvement; 3) Output: teachers feel trained in teaching math supported by new educational material and parents are more involved; 4) Outcomes: the program improve quality of education and children learn more; 6) Goal: children are more qualified in math and it reduce their dropping out of school and in the long run they improve their incomes.

The population under study is 5 years old student in kindergarten in two departments, Ayacucho and Huancavelica, Peru. The areas of intervention are based on three provinces (Huancavelica, Huamanga and Angaraes) with greater school density and greater number of children enrolled per district. Schools with less than 6 children with 5 years old are excluded from the evaluation. The sample is divided in three provinces, so first province stratification. Next, in each stratus there has been a further stratification: urban and rural area. Resuming five stratus has been considered: urban/rural-Huancavelica, urban/rural-Huamanga, rural-Angaraes (in this province there are not rural areas).

Children has been tested two times: the first time right after receiving the program at the end of kindergarten school year (short run effect of the program) and secondly a year later when they enter in primary school (medium term impact of the program).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by computer.
Randomization Unit
The design of the study consider schools as randomization unit.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
109 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
2900 pupils
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
54 schools control, 55 schools treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Significance level: 0.05; Power level: 0.8; Average children per school: 31; Number of school: 109; Minimum detectable effect: 0.23 standard deviation.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
November 30, 2012, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
December 20, 2013, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
NA: pupils has been followed up in the first grade of primary school
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
NA: pupils has been followed up in the first grade of primary school
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials