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Early Childhood Programs Change Test Scores but Do They Change Brain Activity?
Last registered on May 13, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Early Childhood Programs Change Test Scores but Do They Change Brain Activity?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007662
Initial registration date
May 11, 2021
Last updated
May 13, 2021 5:25 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Queen's University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of California, San Diego
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2013-07-01
End date
2017-05-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Early childhood programs impact test scores, but do they affect brain activity, and how do such neural changes impact future skills? To study these questions, we use a field experiment that randomized children to preschool or to a control group for one year. Following the intervention, we collect data on children’s neural activity during academic and executive functioning tasks using electroencephalography (EEG).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Decety, Jean et al. 2021. "Early Childhood Programs Change Test Scores but Do They Change Brain Activity?." AEA RCT Registry. May 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7662-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We take advantage of the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center (CHECC), a program that randomized 3- to 4-year old disadvantaged children to a free preschool or to a control group. The description and behavioral evaluation of the CHECC field experiment are in Fryer et al. (2020). For our study, we recruited children who had participated in the CHECC field experiment in 2012-2013 to participate in an EEG experiment, to look at whether preschool changes children's brain activity.
Intervention Start Date
2013-07-01
Intervention End Date
2017-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Executive function and academic brain activity
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The EEG experiment was conducted in July-November 2013. We recruited children who had completed the one-year CHECC program in May 2013, including children who were assigned to preschool and children who were assigned to the control group. We collected measures of children's executive function and academic brain activity during an executive function (Animal Go/Nogo, AGNG) and an academic (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, PPVT) task.

Four years after collecting the EEG data, in May 2017, we recruited children from our sample to participate in a follow-up behavioral assessment of their academic and executive function skills.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
No randomization was done in this study. In the CHECC field experiment, children were randomized into the preschool and control groups.
Randomization Unit
N/a
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
72 children
Sample size: planned number of observations
72 children
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
36 preschool, 36 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Chicago
IRB Approval Date
2012-07-30
IRB Approval Number
12-1041
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS