A library in the palm of your hand? Inequalities in Reading Literacy and Educational Attainment.

Last registered on November 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
A library in the palm of your hand? Inequalities in Reading Literacy and Educational Attainment.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008561
Initial registration date
November 12, 2021
Last updated
November 15, 2021, 11:55 AM EST

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Potsdam

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW)
PI Affiliation
IAB
PI Affiliation
University of Potsdam
PI Affiliation
IAB and Universität Bamberg
PI Affiliation
IAB

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-11-12
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Multiple studies demonstrate the strong link between parental socio-economic background and children’s academic success. On average, children from households with a lower socio-economic status (SES) have poorer academic achievement, a lower likelihood of going to college, and inferior labor market outcomes throughout their adult life than have children from high-SES households. These adverse outcomes can be partially attributed to lower parental investments, both monetary and non-monetary, as the home learning environment and the resources available to support children’s development vary greatly by parental SES. Children from low-SES families receive less encouragement and smaller incentives to develop cognitive and non-cognitive skills (Cunha et al. 2006; Heckman & Masterov 2007; Law et al. 2018; Kalil et al. 2019).
In Germany, average literacy skills and their distribution differ significantly between children from low and high SES backgrounds (Gambaro et al. 2019). Likely, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated these disparities, as school closures and the resulting disruptions in the educational process have had a particularly negative impact on the academic achievement of those children, whose learning conditions and support options at home were limited compared to their peers.
This project aims to promote out-of-school reading for fifth and sixth grade students from low SES households. Reading literacy is a prerequisite for knowledge acquisition and thus is crucial for the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. We draw on survey information of schoolchildren from low-income families – most of them dependent on social welfare – from the study “Corona & Du (CoDu)”. We sampled these families from the Social Security Records of the German Federal Employment Agency, namely the “Integrated Employment Biographies and the Unemployment Benefit II Recipient History.. We examine the extent to which a reading intervention can lead to improvements in reading literacy, academic performance, and higher educational acquisition of children living in low-income households. Therefore, promoting children’s reading literacy might improve their educational pathways as well as their future transition into the labor market, and thus should generate social and economic benefits for the children themselves as well as for society.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Anger, Silke et al. 2021. "A library in the palm of your hand? Inequalities in Reading Literacy and Educational Attainment.." AEA RCT Registry. November 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8561-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-12-10
Intervention End Date
2022-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcomes are:
(i) daily/weekly reading frequencies and average duration
(ii) reading competence
(iii) grades in German and mathematics (contingent of finding a “first stage”)
(iv) educational aspirations (contingent of finding a “first stage”)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Participating children are asked to read a text developed or recommended by the Institute for Educational Quality Improvement (IQB) and answer ten questions that test their reading comprehension. We integrate the text into the online survey and we do not impose time limits. The texts used in each wave are comparable in difficulty. Our outcome is the index we construct based on the correct answers.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcomes are:
(i) Non-cognitive skills (e.g. Grit, self-esteem, and social-emotional behavior)
(ii) Leisure time activities
(iii) Occupational aspirations

Longer-run outcomes:
(i) Educational success (degree),
(ii) Labor market success (e.g. School-to-work transition, employment status, and wages derived from registry data)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Individual-level stratified randomization of 1000 students in grades five and six. The study population is derived from a sample of families with children aged 10 to 17 from the Social Security Records of the German Federal Employment Agency.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization
Randomization Unit
Individuals
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 individuals as control units and 500 individuals as treatment units
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Ethikrat Otto-Friedrich Universität Bamberg
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-24
IRB Approval Number
2021-09/38